What already has been a tough season for the Pope John Paul II football team got tougher Friday night against the St. Helena Hawks.
The Jaguars had negative 15 yards of offense in the game, and allowed 404 yards to the Hawks.
The result was a 40-0 victory for St. Helena in a District 7-2A game Friday night at PJP’s Lester Latino Field in Slidell.
Sophomores (and first cousins) Aaron Hurst and Troy Hurst combined to rush for 286 yards and all five St. Helena touchdowns. They also accounted for three of the Hawks’ five two-point conversions in the game.
Aaron Hurst, who rushed for three scores and 136 yards, said last week’s loss to neighborhood rival Kentwood gave his team renewed energy against Pope John Paul (1-7, 0-3.)
“The line was opening really good holes for me,” Hurst said. “I knew they would do a good job. ... We had to redeem ourselves after that bad loss to Kentwood. We put on a good show and a good performance.”
St. Helena coach Brandon Brown agreed.
“We dropped that big one against Kentwood last week; just went up there and laid an egg,” Brown said. “So we preached all week we wanted our guys to come out with some effort this week. They did. They played with a lot of effort and a lot of pride.”
St. Helena (5-3, 3-1) got on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter. After taking over in Jaguars’ territory after a short punt, Aaron Hurst ran up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion rush was successful and the Hawks led 8-0 with 5:13 remaining in the quarter.
Neither team could get much going on offense through the remainder of the half, but St. Helena took advantage of a fourth-and-40 punt by PJP and scored again a few moments before halftime. Hurst rushed untouched around the right edge for a 67-yard touchdown. Darryl Hampton ran up the middle for a two-point conversion with 1:52 to go in the second quarter and made the score 16-0.
Pope John Paul went nowhere on its ensuing possession and the Hawks took advantage again. A 36-yard pass down the right sideline from Ricky Travis to Travell Tucker set St. Helena up at the Jaguars 7. From there, Troy Hurst burst up the middle for a score. He tacked on a two-point run to push the score to 24-0 just before the halftime horn.
Pope John Paul II’s offense struggled mightily. The only first down they converted in the first half came on a roughing the kicker penalty by St. Helena. And when lining up in shotgun formation, more than a half dozen snaps sailed over the heads of Jaguars’ quarterbacks, which ate up huge chunks of yardage and made the task of dealing with a larger and quicker St. Helena team that much more difficult.
The Hawks continued the onslaught in the second half; scoring on a 34-yard run by Aaron Hurst with 8:40 to go in the third. They capped a 90-yard drive with :09 to go in the quarter with a 12-yard run by Troy Hurst.
Pope John Paul II had two first downs in the game against St. Helena. One of the few bright spots for the Jaguars on Friday was the punting of Logan Klotz, who punted five times for a 43-yard average.