Playing what coach Corey Lambert called “Marrero football,” Ehret physically dominated East Ascension, winning 33-7 in the teams’ Class 5A playoff opener Friday at Hoss Memtas Stadium.
Quarterback Dejon Harris rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Juwan Leonard had 178 yards and two touchdowns. But the Patriots’ defense was just as impressive, holding the Spartans to minus-12 yards rushing and getting four interceptions and as many sacks.
“This is the playoffs,” said outside linebacker Michael Divinity, an LSU commitment who helped lead the defense and had a punishing block on a punt return by Tyron Williams that underscored Ehret’s physical play. “Last season, we lost to (No. 20 seed) East St. John in the first round, and we didn’t want that to happen again.”
Ehret, the No. 9 seed, advanced to play No. 25 Live Oak, which upset No. 8 Ouachita Parish 33-28 on Friday.
Harris was a one-man wrecking ball in leading the Patriots (9-2) to a 21-7 halfatime lead. He had 142 yards on 16 carries and also scored a two-point conversion. His 3-yard TD, which came 1:15 into the game, was set up by his 64-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
“I’m a big, physical runner, and teams don’t always want to tackle me,” said the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Harris, who doubles as the team’s middle linebacker. “Since (starting quarterback) Caron Baham was injured (in the season opener), the offense has come a long way with me at quarterback.”
East Ascension ended the season at 5-6. Coach Paul Bourgeois said Ehret’s physical play took its toll. Quarterback Kyran Irving was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion. Defensive lineman Jaywin Johnson was injured in the third, and wide receiver Ira Washington later came out with an injury.
“Those were just the key guys,” Bourgeois said. “We had others carted off, too. When Irving was knocked out, that was big. Our backup quarterback (Keenen Dunn) was already out with a sprained ankle. It took a lot of momentum from us, and it happened in quick succession.”
Irvin and Washington combined on a 64-yard touchdown at 3:29 of the first quarter, tying the score.
Harris gave the lead back to Ehret with a 19-yard scoring run with two minutes left in the quarter. It was the Patriots’ second 80-yard drive, coming on five plays, and again was keyed by a long run — Juwan Leonard’s 55-yard run to the Spartans’ 19.
Ehret’s defense, led by the line, shut down the Spartans’ running attack from the start and held them to 1 yard rushing in the first half. With East Ascension forced to pass and Divinity and defensive end Robert Green applying pressure, Ehret picked off three passes — two by Darius Campbell and one by Jarrius Wallace. Wallace intercepted another one in the fourth quarter, returning it 13 yards for a touchdown.
Irvin led the Spartans with 94 yards on 4-of-9 passing, with one interception. Irvin also had 16 yards on eight carries. Running back Joshua Bates, who was tackled for losses five times, was held to minus-3 yards on 13 carries.
Green broke Ehret’s single-season sack record, getting his 23rd of the season in the fourth quarter.