Rummel senior Brandon Phillips gave Jesuit a chance.
Then Phillips snatched it right back.
Moments after fumbling in the final four minutes of the game, the two-way starter made up for it on defense with an interception that helped seal Rummel’s thrilling 10-7 victory over Jesuit on Saturday night at Joe Yenni Stadium.
“At first I was disappointed in myself because I’m better than that,” Phillips said. “I knew I had to make up for it. I had to keep my head up and couldn’t pout about it. We had to stop them on defense.”
Phillips’ interception came on fourth-and-8 when the Blue Jays had driven to the Rummel 46-yard line with 2:38 left.
“There were two great defenses out there tonight and ours held them to three points less,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “Our defense definitely saved us tonight. To hold Jesuit to seven points? Wow.”
Jesuit had one last chance though, getting the ball back with just 38 seconds left at its own 26-yard line and driving to the Rummel 34, but Trey LaForge’s desperation pass as the clock expired fell short.
It was the 14th consecutive victory for the Raiders (8-0, 3-0 in Catholic League play).
Six of those wins have been by three points or less, including last year’s 24-21 overtime victory over Jesuit that started the streak.
Justin Mourain kicked the game-winner in that one in overtime.
Saturday night, it was Mourain’s 28-yard field goal with 1:23 left in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in what turned out to be a defensive struggle. It was the only score of the second half.
Jesuit (6-2, 2-1) came into the game averaging 42.7 points per game and had scored 40 or more points in five of the games.
But the Blue Jays were able to get just one score as they saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
“We made too many mistakes against a good football team, and they are a really good team,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “We still had opportunities to win and just didn’t take advantage of them. That’ll kill you every time.”
The Raiders, ranked No. 1 in both The New Orleans Advocate Large School Super 10 and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A poll and No. 11 nationally by USA Today, struck first.
Chase Fourcade connected with Damion Jeanpierre, who broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 29-yard first quarter TD.
The Blue Jays answered in the second when LaForge threw a pass to Kalija Lipscomb, who slipped a tackle by Kristian Fulton and raced to the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.
The drive was set up when Jakirai Riley intercepted a Fourcade pass.
Jesuit threatened to take the lead late in the first half, driving to the Rummel 19-yard line. But Fulton picked off a LaForge pass in the end zone to keep the score tied 7-7.
“That was huge,” Roth said.
Jesuit, ranked No. 3 in the Super 10 and No. 5 in 5A, limited Rummel to just 71 yards in the first. The Blue Jays held the Raiders’ normally potent running attack to just 12 rushing yards.
But in the second half, it was the Rummel defense that played lights out.
Jesuit was held to 107 yards in the second half.
“We work hard, we don’t give up and we always play tougher in the fourth quarter,” Phillips said.
Phillips also finished with 34 rushing yards.
Fourcade completed 9 of 18 passes for 120 yards for the Raiders.
LaForge, meanwhile, completed 16 of 36 passes for 171 yards. Six of those passes went to tight end Foster Moreau, who finished with 63 yards.
But it wasn’t enough.
“We just have to pick up the pieces and go back to work,” Songy said.
Jesuit plays undefeated Brother Martin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tad Gormley, while Rummel plays Holy Cross.
“This is a great victory tonight,” Roth said. “We have to finish the season. We have two tough games left.”