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St. James holds off E.D. White in 28-26 thriller

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  • September 19, 2015 - 12:11am

Photos by: Jarrod Monaret/LA Sports PhotographyTyren Jasmin (8) powers into the end zone for a St. James touchdown in the Wildcats 28-26 win over rival E.D. White.

Considering the recent lack of success against traditional rivals, St. James’ dramatic home win Friday night over E.D. White seemed fitting.

With St. James clinging to a 28-26 lead, Jai Lewis blocked a 54-yard field goal attempt by E.D. White’s Winston Jones with eight seconds left in the game to give the Wildcats a two-point victory.

“I think for this football team, it was just the confidence we needed. It was a team effort in a lot of ways. We had a lot of people step up,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said.

St. James held its two-point edge when the Wildcats elected to punt while in E.D. White territory, hoping to pin the Cardinals deep in their own territory. A partially-blocked punt helped to eventually put EDW in long field-goal range.

“We knew that they would move the ball and if they had the opportunity they would bring in Winston. He’s their long-distance kicker and had done a good job all night but it still was a 50-something yard field goal in high school and anything can happen,” Jenkins said.

The second half was in short contrast to the opening two quarters. St. James built a 28-20 halftime lead but the only points over the final two quarters came on a pair of field goals by E.D. White’s Mike Melancon. Limiting EDW to three field-goal attempts in the second half was part of a Wildcat defensive effort that included a goal-line stand.

“I can’t enough about how our defense played in the second half. They were put in bad situations time and time again and were able to hold them off,” Jenkins said.

St. James quarterback Demarcus Williams scored on a 3-yard run less than three minutes into the game to give the Wildcat an 8-0 lead.

The Cardinals countered with a 26-yard touchdown run by Brandon Legendre to make the score 8-7.

St. James receiver Dontaze Costly, seeing his first action of the season after being injured earlier in the year, made his presence felt immediately.

Costly hauled in a short catch from Williams and broke loose on a 66-yard gallop to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 14-7. The St. James receiver finished the game with five catches for 125 yards.

“I really thought Dontaze coming back would be a much-added bonus and would relieve some of the pressure maybe off of Curtlan Johnson and Arron McKenney and give Demarcus one more weapon in the passing game,” Jenkins said.

A Nik Shanklin touchdown run from 2 yards out tied the game 14-14. The big play of the drive was a13-yard run by quarterback Ben Sposito to keep the drive alive.

Tyren Jasmin, making his debut as the Wildcats’ new starting running back, scored on a 4-yard pass reception to put St. James back on top. Jasmin finished the game with 80 yards rushing on seven carries.

“Tyren plays with a lot of energy. He ran hard and it just gave us another option on offense,” Jenkins said.

The scoring barrage continued when Legendre returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown. A failed two-point conversion left the Cardinals trailing 22-20 with less than four minutes remaining in the first half.

St. James closed out the first-half scoring moments later when McKenney turned a pass from Williams into a 64-yard touchdown for the Wildcats’ 28-20 lead with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter. McKenney topped 100 yards receiving in the game on five catches.

Besides the field-goal attempts, the Cardinals threatened to score a go-ahead touchdown in the second half but Allen Taylor fumbled short of the goal line after a 39-yard run. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback.

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