The Chalmette Owls were stopped inside the Holy Cross 35-yard line as time expired to give the Tigers a hard fought 21-14 victory in a nondistrict game at Bobby Nuss Stadium in Chalmette.
It was the Tigers’ 31st victory in the 45 games played between the rivals.
Holy Cross (2-1) led 21-7 and was driving in the fourth quarter when Kendrick Tinson returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown. Juan Esparza’s extra point cut the deficit to 21-14 with 10:47 left.
Chalmette (1-2) stopped the Tigers on their ensuing possession and then drove to the Holy Cross 33, but Kenny Hebert was stopped inches short on fourth down. The Owls advanced inside the Tigers’ 30 on their next possession but were stopped on fourth-and-11.
After Chalmette forced another Holy Cross punt, the Owls took over at their 47-yard line with 26 seconds left. An 18-yard pass got the Owls to the 36-yard line, but another completion inbounds doomed Chalmette with no timeouts left.
“Playing these guys, we knew it’s always going down to the end,” Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo said. “We kept preaching all week that it would come down to the final seconds, and it did. Our guys made plays at the end.”
Holy Cross opened the second half with an eight-play, 62-yard drive. Grant Schultz caught a 17-yard scoring toss from Kyle Schexnayder. Reed Gravolet’s extra point gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 9:05 to go in the third quarter. The drive was aided by a roughing the passer penalty on third-and-14.
The Tigers increased their lead to 21-7 when Tre Turner broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown scamper on fourth-and-2.
The Owls had nine penalties for 63 yards.
“We had seven false start penalties in the first half,” Owls coach Jason Tucker said. “I’m proud of my kids for not giving up, but they just executed better than we did.”
The Owls took the opening kickoff and drove 43 yards in 11 plays. Jayvon Lewis capped off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Esparza added the extra point to give Chalmette a 7-0 lead with 7:31 left in the first quarter. The drive was aided by Connor Lambert’s 52-yard kickoff return.
Lambert came into the game averaging over 120 yards rushing per game but was held to 14 yards on three carries after leaving with a leg injury.
Holy Cross tied the score at 7-7 with a 14-play, 79-yard drive. Stewart Hooper caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Schexnayder on third-and-goal. Gravolet added the extra point. The Tigers converted a fourth-and-10 at the Owls 31 when Schexnayder hit Darius Rodrigue with a 27-yard pass down to the Chalmette 4.
Late in the half Holy Cross drove 52 yards in six plays to the Owls 13, but Gravolet missed a 30-yard field goal on the last play of the first half to keep the score tied at 7-7.
Schexnayder completed 13 of 23 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.