ST. AMANT — They combined for more than a thousand yards of offense and a season’s worth of highlight-reel plays before Warren Easton’s defense had the final word in its season opener with St. Amant.
St. Amant, which recovered a fumble at its 1-yard line, nearly drove the length of the field in the final three minutes of play before facing fourth-and-1 from inside of Easton’s 1.
Following a timeout, St. Amant running back Nathan Taylor was met at the line of scrimmage by Easton defensive lineman Myles Vigne, resulting in a measurement that showed the Gators were inches short and enabled Class 4A’s top-ranked Eagles to escape with a 40-32 victory.
St. Amant trailed 40-24 with 5:27 remaining when quarterback Tyler Dixon connected with Ethan Babin for a 59-yard catch-and-run with 4:53 to play. Dixon also found Justin Duhon on a two-point conversion.
Warren Easton reached St. Amant’s 2-yard line after a 63-yard bomb from quarterback Deshawn Capers-Smith to Clyde Criss (four catches, 105 yards), but the Eagles fumbled the ball away on first down with 3:46 remaining.
Dixon, who was 20-of-34 for 290 yards with a TD and interception, directed St. Amant downfield in 11 plays until running out of downs with 18.4 seconds left.
Capers-Smith, a Texas A&M commitment, put on quite a show with 524 yards of offense and five touchdowns. He completed 17 of 38 passes for 386 yards and four TDs.
Capers-Smith also rushed 25 times for 148 yards, including a 70-yard burst that gave Easton its first lead at 7-3 early in the first quarter. The Eagles amassed 619 total yards with the state’s top recruit — receiver Tyron Johnson — pulling in eight catches for 192 yards and three TDs.
St. Amant put together 449 offensive yards with Taylor rushing six times for 65 yards, while Duhon had six catches for 82 yards, Marquise Hampton five for 73 and Babin four for 79.
Easton scored on its opening series of the third quarter with Capers-Smith finding Johnson, who with one move to the inside found an opening along the sideline and sped to a 62-yard TD. A 24-yard scoring run from Bracy Gardner gave the Eagles a seemingly safe 16-point lead.
Capers-Smith’s third TD pass of the half — a 12-yarder to Johnson on fourth-and-goal with 1:46 left before half — was the sixth lead change and gave Easton a 28-24 lead.
St. Amant rallied from a 14-3 lead midway through the first quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns from Dixon and Richard Williams during a three-minute span late in the period that gave the Gators a 17-14 edge.
The lead changed hands twice over the first two minutes of the second quarter, with Johnson taking in his first grab of the game — a 49-yard score along the sideline — before St. Amant erased that 21-17 deficit with an eight-play, 67-yard drive that Dixon capped with his second 1-yard score at the 9:19 mark.