Four was the magic number for East Ascension on Friday night.
The Spartans won their fourth straight game, converted a key fourth down into a touchdown and scored 14 points in the pivotal fourth quarter to take a 35-19 road victory over McKinley in the District 5-5A opener for both teams.
EAHS senior Kade Waguespack was also involved in four scoring plays. He caught touchdown passes of 23 and 5 yards from quarterback Kyran Irvin. Waguespack had a 7-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter and his two-point conversion catch from Irvin proved to be the winning points.
“Kade is a very versatile player for us,” EAHS coach Paul Bourgeois said. “He made some big plays. I like my football team. They play hard and find ways to win football games.”
East Ascension (4-2, 1-0) surged to a 13-0 first-quarter lead by driving 57 yards on nine plays and 35 yards on six plays in its first two series. Waguespack took a short pass in the flats and shook off four tacklers on a 23-yard TD play.
East Ascension forced McKinley into a three-and-out in its first possession. Joshua Walker’s ensuing 65-yard punt return was nullified by a penalty. Joshua Bates capped the second drive with a 2-yard scoring run for a 13-0 lead with 5:34 remaining in the first quarter.
McKinley’s Jaylon Johnson intercepted Irvin with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter. The Panthers drove inside the EAHS 10 yard line, where they had four straight rushing plays but failed to score.
McKinley (3-3, 0-1) put together a 30-yard drive on seven plays in its next series. Jawun Ruffin scored on a 4-yard run on a pitch-left play and the ensuing PAT was blocked by East Ascension’s Johnny Baker.
EAHS answered with a 70-yard, nine-play drive. The Spartans lined up for a 27-yard field goal on fourth down. McKinley was flagged for offsides. EAHS ran a fake field goal play with Irvin passing to Waguespack on a fade to the right corner end zone. The duo connected on the two-point conversion for a 21-6 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.
“McKinley had good coverage on the fake field goal play,” Bourgeois said. “It was a good pass and catch and really gave us momentum.”
McKinley battled back to within 21-19 early in the fourth quarter following Johnson’s 35-yard run.
“We had a chance when we cut it to two, but we fumbled the next series,” McKinley coach Robert Signater Sr. said. “We didn’t tackle well tonight. We made too many mistakes and we can’t play from behind like this.”
Joshua Walker scored on an 8-yard run and Waguespack on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter for EAHS. Walker gained 106 yards on 16 carries. Waguespack had six catches for 56 yards and five carries for 41 yards.
Ruffin gained 89 yards on 10 carries and Larry Moore 80 yards on 13 tries for McKinley.
McKinley’s Montrell Harris also had an interception late in the first half. Zylon Wilson had a fourth-quarter interception for EAHS.