East St. John defeated Bonnabel 45-32 Friday night at Moss Bertilino Stadium as the Wildcats captured a district title for the first time in six years – but don’t tell coach Phillip Banko he has to share the league crown.
“We are not sharing it with anyone,” Banko declared. “I don’t care what Hahnville thinks. We are the district champs. We beat them.
“After tonight, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the playoff. But we will enjoy it tonight.”
East St. John’s win over Bonnabel, coupled with Hahnville’s 34-3 victory over Destrehan left both teams 4-1 in District 8-5A. The Wildcats defeated the Tigers 25-21 in Week 7.
The Wildcats, 7-3 overall, built a lead of as much as 45-19 before Bonnabel scored the final two touchdowns of the game.
Bonnabel, 5-4 overall and 1-4 in district, struck first against the Wildcats. A 1-yard run by quarterback Ryan Evans and a two-point conversion broke a scoreless tie after one quarter and gave the Bruins an 8-0 lead.
A 6-yard run by East St. John quarterback Darion Monroe pulled the Wildcats to within one point at 8-7.
East St. John grabbed its first lead of the game later in the second quarter when Nate Anderson returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown to put the Wildcats on top 14-8.
A Bonnabel field goal allowed the Bruins to trail only 14-11 at halftime.
The Wildcats wasted little time in increasing their lead when Clarence Scott returned the second-half kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown as ESJ moved ahead 28-11.
Monroe’s first touchdown pass of the game, a 34-yard strike to Rashad Green increased the East St. John lead to 28-11. On the ensuing possession, Xavier Lewis returned an interception for a touchdown as the Wildcats built a 35-11 advantage.
Following a 20-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Jeffery Martin and a two-point conversion for the Bruins, Monroe and Green hooked up once again. The 15-yard touchdown strike rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter with ESJ on top 42-19.
Monroe finished 9 of 24 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. He also rushed for 39 yards and another touchdown. Green finished with five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
East St. John’s final score of the game came in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard Tramain McQuarters field goal for a 45-19 Wildcats lead.
Bonnabel scored the game’s final two touchdowns on a pair of Evans touchdown passes. Evans connected with Troy Lilly on a 10-yard scoring toss and hit Derrick Smith from 44 yards out to make the final 45-32.
Evans finished the game 10 of 27 passing for 153 yards.