Many (13-0) defeated St. James (8-4), 28-14 to advance to the semifinals of the Class 2A playoffs on Friday.
James Carhee and Kentrell Maxie combined for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Carhee rushed for a game-high 120 yards on 20 carries. No run was bigger than his 3-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 20-14 with 2:51 left in the fourth. Maxie provided some tough running between the tackles and added 107 yards.
Tiger coach Jess Curtis said his team remained focues despite the distractions and big stage.
“All week people kept saying that my team had not played anyone and it really motivated the boys”, said Curtis. “My hat goes off to coach Jenkins because they have done a remarkable job here. This atmosphere is amazing and tough to play in. I think my kids responded the way they should and fought hard. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we kept doing what we do best and that run the football.”
St. James overcame a eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter. Quarterback Lowell Narcisse connected with Aaron McKenney on an 10-yard fade pass to pull with two points. Narcisse punched in the two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14 with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter.
It appeared the momentum was in favor of the Wildcats when senior defensive back Lymell Zenon intercepted a Tiger pass to end a 70-yard drive. However things were not to be for the Wildcats. Narcisse was stripped by Tiger defensive linemen Angelios Washington, deep in St. James territory.
It would set the Tigers winning drive Carhee. Quarterback Xavier Dias would add his second touchdown when he rushed in from seven yards out. It would be the final points of the night. Dias finished with 48 rushing yards and 38 yards passing.
St. James coach Dwayne Jenkins said that his team had opportunities, but didn’t make enough plays late.
“We knew what kind of team they were and what they wanted to do”, said Jenkins. “We just didn’t get it done late, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. We have come a long way from two seasons ago and I am really proud of our guys.”
The Wildcats wasted little time showing how efficient they can be on offense. Senior Rashaun Weber raced 60 yards on a pass from Narcisse to score the game’s first points. Their opening drive lasted just over two minutes and covered 80 yards in five plays.
Narcisse finished with 66 yards rushing and 187 yards passing. Rashaun Weber led all reciverrs with 89 yards. Aaron Mckenney added another 58 yards receiving.
After a slow first quarter, Many finally got on the board midway through the second quarter after Isiah Smith intercepted a Wildcat pass on the 6 yardline. 11 plays later Kentrell Maxie rushed in from 11 yards out.
The Tigers racked up 331 total yards and remain undefeated on the year.