For a moment, it looked as though last-minute heroics might be in store for St. Charles Catholic once again.
A 25-yard touchdown run by East Ascension’s Hobart Grayson extended a one-point Spartans lead to 14-6 with 2:11 left in the game and the Comets out of timeouts.
The Comets had been unable to move the ball the length of the field throughout a defensive battle with East Ascension but Phillip Tran raced back the ensuing kickoff to the Spartans’ 43 with 1:59 left in the game.
Four incomplete passes later, the Comets had their first loss of the season with the 14-6 defeat. The result left both teams 4-1 on the year.
The low-scoring affair was something that came as no surprise to East Ascension coach Darnell Lee.
“In the last three games, between the two of us, 23 points have been scored (combined in each game). Tonight it was 14-6, 20 points total,” Lee said.
Three plays later, Zach Vicknair scored on a quarterback keeper from 9 yards outs. A low center snap led to a missed extra point, leaving the Comets with a one-point deficit at 7-6 at the 1:13 mark of the third quarter.
Vicknair split time with Reid Landeche. Vicknair and Landeche were at quarterback for the Comets in place of starter Justin Dumas.
Dumas, along with SCC defensive line stalwarts Mason Narcisse and Moses Clark all missed the game with high ankle sprains.
Following Vicknair’s touchdown, East Ascension marched to the SCC 10-yard line but the Spartans failed to extend their lead beyond a single point when EA kicker Logan Kern was wide right on a 27-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.
After the Comets’ defense forced a turnover on downs at their own 24, SCC elected to try for a fourth-down conversion on fourth-and-9 from 25. An incomplete pass gave the ball back to East Ascension with 3:14 left in the game.
On third-and-9 from the 25, Grayson ran wide right for the touchdown that extended East Ascension’s lead to eight points.
Neither team produced a whole lot of offense.
St. Charles finished with 82 yards rushing and 59 passing.
East Ascension managed 211 total yards with 115 rushing and 96 passing.
The Spartans beat the Comets at their own game in terms favorable starting field position with EA’s average starting point being its own 44-yard line.
St. Charles dominated time of the possession in the first half. The Comets held the ball for 17:46 to 6:14 for East Ascension, yet SCC trailed 7-0 at halftime.
The game remained scoreless until East Ascension mounted a drive in the closing moments of the first half.
Getting the ball at their own 29 with 3:11 left in the first half, the Spartans eventually faced first-and-10 from the SCC 16 following a pass interference call in the end zone against the Comets.
Cameron Jones, who alternated at quarterback with Grayson, appeared to be contained but stepped up to toss to a wide-open Navell Chopin in the middle of the end zone for a 7-0 EA lead with 39 seconds left in the first half.
“He kept the play alive. They did a great job of putting pressure on our quarterbacks all night. We knew coming in, you can expect that,” Lee said.
In a defensive struggle, East Ascension provided the only other scoring threat in the first half.
After SCC used up almost half of the first quarter on the game’s opening possession, a punt gave EA the ball at its own 30.
Steven McBride raced 70 yards in front of the EA bench on a reverse on the Spartans’ first play from scrimmage but the touchdown was called back because of a holding penalty.
SCC reached the EA 27 on the previous possession but turned the ball over on downs.