East St. John ran for 293 yards with five rushing touchdowns as the visiting Wildcats won their first game of the year with a 41-6 victory over West Jefferson on Friday night at Hoss Memtsas Stadium in Harvey.
Pershing Toney and C.J. Gardner each had two rushing touchdowns and Reggie Foster ran in for a score as Brandon Brown picked up his first win as East St. John coach.
“It is an amazing feeling just to be home and get the first win as a Wildcat is amazing,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said. “I was real excited with the way our kids came out and played.
“Our fans were wonderful. We had some great support. That was just a blessing to see; just the amount we are having right now. To go out and get a victory, not just for myself, but for our whole community and school is just an amazing feeling.”
Taking advantage of what West Jefferson (0-2) was giving them, the Wildcats (1-1) knew they would need to establish the run, according to Brown.
“They (the Buccaneers) brought so much pressure and they kind of tried to force us into one-on-one matches on our outside receivers. However, our offensive line did a good job and we were able to get some good runs. I told those guys that if we can block them at the point of attack it would break because they had absolutely no safeties. Everything was just kind of cover-zero,” said Brown.
Meanwhile, the only score the Wildcats allowed came on one big pass play.
“Defensively, we played well,” Brown said. “We blew some coverages and had some guys open but the defensive line played tremendously well. They have the quarterback fits in the backfield. Even when he had open receivers, the pressure didn’t allow him to find the open guy. We need to clean some things up in the secondary. We blew some coverages and made some mistakes but that’s typical for early in the season.”
West Jefferson’s offense was in stark contrast to the one the Wildcats faced in their season opener against Plaquemine.
“Last week, we played a Wing-T team that didn’t throw the ball much. This week, we turn around and play a team that was throwing the ball almost every down. It gave our kids something different to look at. We needed to see that so we can make our adjustments as coaches,” said Brown.
After a scoreless first quarter, Toney scored on a 10-yard run and East St. John recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the Wildcats a 14-0 halftime lead.
Toney added a 52-yard run in the third quarter while Gardner scored twice and Foster once in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats pulled away.
“We just kind of wore them down. I credit our kids for the tremendous work they have done with our strength and conditioning program. In the second half, we were we were at full steam and those guys (the Buccaneers) were kind of tired. They were cramping up and we just kind of wore them down and stayed on them,” Brown said.
Toney finished with 139 yards rushing while Gardner amassed 83 yards and Foster 40.
Sean Shelby played quarterback for the Wildcats and connected on 9 of 15 passes for 87 yards as East St. John amassed 380 yards of total offense.
Dasmain “Duke” Crosby, who moved from quarterback to wide receiver, had four catches for 43 yards for the Wildcats.