As usual, the final game in the Ascension Parish championship series was filled with big plays, hard hitting and momentum swings. And, as usual, one team went home especially happy.
Friday night that team was St. Amant, which held on for a historic 21-18 victory over Dutchtown at Griffin Stadium. It was historic because it was the first victory for St. Amant (6-4, 3-2 in District 5-5A) over their cross-parish rival, and it gave the Gators a sweep in the parish rivalry after earlier knocking off East Ascension.
For lagniappe, the Gators rebounded from two earlier losses to finish second outright in one of the state’s toughest districts.
“It’s been a long time coming,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “Our kids fought, it went down to the wire, and I’m just glad we came out on top.
For the first 24 minutes, it looked like St. Amant’s chances for the win were slim. They went down 6-0 following a long Dutchtown drive, gave the ball back on a muffed punt, and had trouble getting their offense going.
“At halftime, we just told them we love them and believe in them, and they came out with some spark and made some great plays,” Oliver said.
Four of those plays came in a row after the Gators received the second-half kickoff and scored in just 1:03. Briggs Bourgeois got the final 38 on an end-around, then kicked the PAT to give his team its first lead.
They stretched the lead to 21-6 on a 4-yard run by Richard Williams after Marquise Hampton, and quarterback Tyler Dixon connected on a flea-flicker play for a 38-yard gain and Dixon came back to hit Bourgeois for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Dixon was St. Amant’s leading passer (13-of-23 for 94 yards) and receiver (two catches — both on passes by Hampton — for 53 yards). Briggs had 38 yards and Williams 24 on seven carries.
“They had (Justin) Reid covering me all night,” Bourgeois said, “but I don’t care. It just opened our offense up for some other people.”
For Dutchtown, (4-6, 2-3) it was a night of ‘what might have been.’ The Griffins made furious second-half comeback on a 72-yard pass and run by Brandt Fritsche and Johnathan Hodoh but failed to convert three extra points and were stopped twice on fourth-and-short, once on a dropped pass in the end zone.
“Our kids never quit,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “We had our chances, but we just needed to make more plays. They made more plays than we did, and they won the football game.”
Hodoh had two catches for 80 yards, and Cornelius Washington had four catches for 63. Coleman ran the ball 13 times for 41 yards.
Dutchtown sustained a steady drive following the opening kickoff, moving 82 yards in 13 plays and eating nearly five minutes off the clock, and that was most of the action for the first half.
After Kajuan Coleman put the Griffins up 6-0, St. Amant jumped offside but then stuffed the run when Dutchtown elected to go for two on the PAT.