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East St. John ekes past Lake Area; Riverside shuts out Mandeville

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  • Feature Story
  • Game Recap
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 26, 2017 - 9:06pm

East St. John receiver Javon Antonio (7) fights off a defender to haul in a touchdown pass in the Wildcats' 14-6 win over Lake Area in the St. Augustine Jamboree on Saturday afternoon.

NEW ORLEANS – East St. John’s defense saved the day in the Wildcats’ 14-6 win over Lake Area on Saturday afternoon at the St. Augustine Jamboree at Tad Gormley Stadium.

The Wildcats seemed to make a season’s worth of mistakes on offense but the East St. John defense continually bailed them out.

“They played great and the kept us in the game,” East St. John coach Alden Foster said of his defense. “It will be like that sometimes.”

Many times East St. John has made costly mistakes over the past couple of seasons with Foster, the third-year coach, saying he hoped his team got it out of their system with Saturday’s jamboree.

“Hopefully, we got them all out of the way. We had a bunch of them. Last week we had one turnover and that was on a botched snap. Today was just one of those days,” Foster said.

In jamboree action from Friday, Riverside Academy blanked host Mandeville 28-0.

The tone of the East St. John-Lake Area game was established from the outset as the Wildcats managed to eke out a 7-6 halftime lead in a mistake-filled opening period.

The Wildcats fumbled the ball away on their first two possessions – the initial miscue coming on the first play from scrimmage and the second only two plays into the possession. Both turnovers came deep in East St. John territory but Lake Area only had three points to show for it on a 32-yard field goal by Aaron Delgado at the 7:36 mark of the first quarter.

Poor field position continued for East St. John, forcing a punt from the Wildcats’ end zone that gave Lake Area the ball at the ESJ 30.

East St. John’s defense proved unbending again, forcing a 43-yard line-drive Delgado field goal that barely made it over the crossbar as the Wildcats trailed 6-0 with 4:39 remaining in the half.

ESJ’s offense finally came to life late in the first half.

The Wildcats passed the ball seven times in an eight-play drive with the only other play being a sack. East St. John capped the drive on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Dasmain Crosby to Javon Antonio. Darius Lewis’ conversion with 2:16 remaining gave ESJ a one-point halftime edge.

The pattern continued in the second half when a punt deep in Wildcats territory gave Lake Area the ball at the East St. John 27. Three plays into the drive, Jarius Monroe intercepted Myron Jones’ pass and raced to the Leopards’ 20-yard line.

This time it was Lake Area’s turn to deny the Wildcats when Antonio, who was lined up in the backfield, was stopped short on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

East St. John finally took advantage of a short field when taking over at the Lake Area 45 following a punt.

Perhaps the biggest offensive play of the game for the Wildcats came when Crosby dropped the snap from center on third-and-6 from the 41, quickly picked up the ball and broke loose on a run down to the 12-yard line. Crosby scored on the next play on a quarterback draw with 7:07 left in the contest to give East St. John the 14-6 victory.

Riverside Academy versus Mandeville: Rebels quarterback Jordan Loving fired three touchdowns as Riverside blanked host Mandeville 28-0 in jamboree action Friday night.

Two of Loving’s touchdown passes went to receiver Jeremiah Bigham.

“I thought our kids played hard. I don’t think we always played as smart as I would like us to play,” Riverside coach Chris Lachney said. “I will brag about the resiliency of our kids to deal with adversity but in the same breath, they created a lot of that adversity for themselves.

“It was a great job from a result standpoint but we have to do a better job of not negating some of the positive things we do with stupid penalties, substitution issues and things like that. We have to clean a little bit of that up but that’s what jamborees are for.”

The Rebels coach offered a few examples of his team’s self-inflicted adversity.

“You have a team in a third-and-9 situation and you jump offside two times in a row and give them a first down and they don’t even have to snap the ball,” Lachney said. “That’s a lack of focus on what the situation is.

“You’ve got to understand that this game is hard enough, and it’s hard for offenses like it’s hard for defenses, so you don’t need to give them things. If a team is going to earn something against us and they do it the right way and they earn their way down the field, we will tip our hats to them. If you jump offside twice in a row on third down and give them a first down on a third-and-long situation, that’s just not indicative of championship football.

Riverside scored early in the jamboree on a 24-yard touchdown run by Zack Gieger. Colton Wilson, who hit on all four of his extra points in the game, added the conversion to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead at the 11:30 mark of the first half.

A 24-yard touchdown pass from Loving to Garland Robertson gave Riverside a 14-0 halftime lead.

Riverside struck again early in the second half on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Loving to Bigham for a 21-0 lead.

The Rebels rounded out the scoring moments later when Loving and Bigham hooked up once again, this time from 45 yards out with 9:59 left in the game for the 28-0 final. Loving tossed for 271 yards in the game.

“He does such a good job of distributing the ball and he’s got some pretty good choices to choose from out there. If he can just stay within himself and deliver strikes where they need to be thrown, we are a pretty tough offense to deal with,” Lachney said of Loving.

Defensively, Leboe Bridges and Jalen Banks each had interceptions, both coming in the first half.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.