One-point wins finally worked in East St. John’s favor.
After losing by identical scores of 35-34 each of the last two years, East St. John came out on top of a low-scoring one-point game, taking a 14-13 win at Destrehan in District 7-5A play Friday night.
“This is a program-defining moment for us. We told (the East St. John players) this is a must win. We’re in playoff mode every time we touch the field,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said.
Trailing 14-7 at halftime, Destrehan scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Damaruis Jackson to Quincy Brown in the second half but a missed conversion attempt left the score at 14-13.
Destrehan had a pair of chances to score late in the game.
Destrehan used much of the clock in the fourth quarter by giving East St. John a heavy dose of Kyle Edwards. Starting the drive at its own 7-yard line, Destrehan reached the East St. John 15 with Edwards accounting for 65 yards.
On a fourth-and-5 a Jackson pass was too far in front of his intended receiver and Destrehan turned the ball over on downs with 1:52 left in the game.
“Every time we ran the ball in a fourth-down situation they brought the house and we thought we could sneak somebody in behind them,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.
Destrehan would have one last chance to win when it got the ball back with 41 seconds left at its own 34-yard line. Jackson found Brown twice as Destrehan reached the East St. John 31-yard line but Jackie Marshall’s second sack of the half sealed the win for East St. John.
“Coach (Brown) always tell us big-time players make big-time plays. We needed a big play and I went get it,” Marshall said.
Destrehan needed only two plays to score when Edwards, the Alabama commitment, raced in from 26 yards out to give his team a 7-0 lead at the 7:33 mark of the first quarter.
Destrehan seemed to get another break with Jaden Harding’s interception but the play was nullified by a roughing-the-passer penalty.
Given new life, East St. John tied the game 7-7 on a 2-yard run by Calvin Gardner at the 2:26 mark of the first quarter.
There would be no penalty to wipe out Antonio Sanders’ interception of a pass from freshman quarterback Jai Eugene that the defender returned 34 yards to the Destrehan 37.
East St. John managed to recover its own fumble to keep the ensuing drive going, eventually taking a 14-7 lead on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sean Shelby to Dontae Fleming with 6:28 remaining in the first half.
Tyler Morton blocked a punt to give Destrehan the ball at the East St. John 21-yard line with 21 seconds left in the first half but was unable to take advantage, trailing 14-7 at halftime.