East St. John managed to cling to a 6-0 lead Thursday night in its District 7-5A contest against H.L. Bourgeois for most of the game – until the final 12 seconds.
A 42-yard run by HLB running back D’Keyvion Sanders down to the East St. John 2-yard line set up a touchdown run by Trevonte Walker to tie the game with 12 seconds remain. Rodney Bouvier’s conversion gave the Braves a 7-6 victory on a sloppy, muddy field at Tom B. Smith in Houma.
“We didn’t contain the edge and missed a tackle and the guy went up the sidelines,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said of Sanders’ run to set up the game-winning score.
The result left both teams 2-3 overall and 1-1 in district play.
“The field wasn’t the best; however, I don’t think we went into the game prepared to play,” Brown said. “I kind of warned the team all week that I felt this game was a trap game in the middle of the big win we had against Central Lafourche, sandwiched between the Destrehan game. Myself included, we didn’t go in prepared. We didn’t play our best football.
“We can make excuses about the conditions, however, H.L. Bourgeois had to play on that same field. They made the plays they needed to play and the result was a loss.”
East St. John and H.L. Bourgeois (both 2-3 overall, 1-1 in district) were unable to get much traction on the muddy surface as the game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter.
While unable to drive the ball because of the conditions, the Wildcats managed to reach the red zone on several occasions because of turnovers and a blocked punt.
“We had our chances. We got several turnovers and our defense played lights out the entire night. We just didn’t score. We just didn’t punch it in,” Brown said.
The Wildcats’ lone score of the game came on special teams.
ESJ’s Kendrell Holmes blocked a punt deep in Braves territory and recovered the ball in the end zone to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with 5:07 left in the contest.
“We saw on film study that we knew we could block their punt. We had blocked one earlier in the game. We knew we could return one for a touchdown, which we did, but it was called back,” said Brown.
With Lafourche Parish having recently installed turf, Terrebonne Parish is one of the few parishes without and artificial surface among public schools in the bayou and river region. St. Charles, St. James and St. John public schools all have artificial turf surfaces.
Because of the poor field conditions, Hahnville’s game with Terrebonne, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Tom B. Smith Stadium, has been moved to Thibodaux High. Game time remains 7 p.m.
“The Terrebonne and Hahnville game will be moved. We didn’t have that option, for whatever reason,” Brown said.