St. Amant High School coach Allison Leake began the 2014 volleyball season with a hunch that her girls had the potential to be a competitive force.

“I was excited about the potential of what I saw in our girls but I knew it would take some time to see if it would come together,” Leake said. “We’ve had great improvement since the beginning, and we’re still getting better.”

In late September and early October things began to gel a little for the Lady Gators.

“I saw how we fared against some really good competition while I saw some light bulbs begin to go off in some of our younger kids, a little more consistency and better play. Things just started to click,” she said.

The Lady Gators have five starting seniors but the play of some sophomores and one of the freshmen was a nice surprise for their run at the district title.

“I knew one of our freshmen, Kayla Tidwell, would be a strong player but she far exceeded our expectations,” she said.

Tidwell hits from all three positions (outside, middle and right side) and the play of the younger portion of the team bodes well for the future of St. Amant volleyball.

The Lady Gators have two sets of sisters that have been the driving force behind the success of the team. Alli and Maggie Duplechein along with Kara and Courtney Gremillion led the Gators to a 29-11 overall record while compiling an undefeated 8-0 district mark.

The Lady Gators advanced Monday in the volleyball playoffs, beating Slidell High School.

The Lady Gators play Thursday at the Pontchartrain Center advance in the State Tournament Quarterfinals this Thursday Night at

Football Roundup

Ascension Christian falls to St. John

The Lions of Ascension Christian (3-7, 1-4) finished their season with a loss to St. John of Plaquemine by a score of 58-0. The Lions have a lot to be thankful for as they had their first three-win season in the young school’s history. Many returning players give Ascension Christian an opportunity for improvement next year.

Donaldsonville drops game to Scotlandville

The Scotlandville Eagles turned out to be a little more than the Tigers could handle as they topped Donaldsonville 36-6. The Tigers (5-5, 2-2) matched the Eagles’ six points in the first quarter but it was all Scotlandville (7-3, 4-2) after that as the Eagles scored 30 unanswered points. The Tigers will travel to take on the Iowa Yellow Jackets in a playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Spartans lose regular season finale

The Catholic High Bears played spoiler to the Spartans (5-5, 2-3) in Baton Rouge in the final regular season game 58-28.

Although the Spartans had to play without starting quarter back Kyran Irvin and running back Joshua Walter, the offense piled up 437 yards in the loss. Joshua Bates had a career-high night by picking up 202 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns.

East Ascension will play host to the Golden Tors of Sulphur in a playoff game that is slated for a kickoff time of 7 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.

Ascension Catholic stings East Iberville

The road was kind to the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs as the team shutout East Iberville 53-0.

D.C. Mattingly threw for three touchdown passes and scored one himself to help Ascension Catholic (8-2, 4-1) with the win.

The Bulldogs wrapped up second place in District 8-1A and earned a playoff berth. Ascension Catholic will host Madison Prep at 7 p.m. at home on Friday.

St. Amant tops Griffins in a close one

In its first victory over Dutchtown, the St. Amant Gators held on for a 21-18 win in a dog fight against the Griffins. The Gator offense had a rough time getting started as Dutchtown (4-6, 2-3) put six points on the board after a long drive and then gave the ball back on a muffed punt.

St. Amant (6-4, 3-2) put 21 points on the board and held on for the three-point win after some nifty passing by Tyler Dixon that resulted in two touchdowns including a 38 yarder on a flea flicker play. For the Griffins, receiver Jonathon Hodoh had two catches for 80 yards, and Cornelius Washington had four catches for 63. Coleman ran the ball 13 times for 41 yards.

The Griffins will travel to Lake Charles to play Barbe in a playoff game that begins at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Gators, after finishing second in a tough district, will travel to Lafayette to face the defending Class 5A champions Acadiana Rams Friday night at 7 p.m.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@theadvocate.com.