St. Paul’s didn’t win a district championship on Friday night — one of the few times in the past decade they have not ended the season on top of District 6-5A.
But the Wolves did earn a hard-fought victory over a tough Fontainebleau squad that the team hopes will put them in a good frame of mind heading into the postseason.
St. Paul’s rallied from a tie midway through the second quarter and outlasted the resilient Bulldogs for a 31-28 win at Fontainebleau’s Dawg Pound.
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for St Paul’s (7-3, 5-2), which was outgained 311-292 but got two interceptions from Deonte’ Sorapuru, and an 80-yard kickoff return in the foruth quarter by Antwann Anderson to fend off Fontainebleau.
“We certainly have to play a better second half,” St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears said. “We tried to give the game away at the end. But luckily we made some big plays in the end. But a few bad snaps here or there, bad tackling; we have to improve if we’re going to be a team that does something in the playoffs.”
Sears’ son Kenny, the Wolves’ quarterback, agreed.
“We wanted to get the running game going more tonight, but that didn’t happen (the Wolves rushed for 57 yards). But hats off to our offensive line,” he said. “We were able to get some protection and get some long passes off.”
Sears finished 17-of-24 for 233 yards and threw two touchdowns and rushed for another. His top receiver was Oklahoma State committment Jalen McCleskey, who caught 10 passes for 184 yards and two scores.
St. Paul’s put an immediate damper on Fontainebleau’s Senior Night, when on the first play from scrimamge, quarterback Sears launched a 70-yard touchdown catch-and-run down the right sideline to McCleskey. Austin Means kicked the extra point, and with only seconds removed from the clock, the Wolves assumed a 7-0 lead.
Fontainebleau (4-6, 2-5) came back with a 10-play drive that didn’t produce points, and St. Paul’s took advantage of the opportunity. With 1:43 remaining in the first quarter, Sears hit McCleskey again over the middle for an 8-yard score. Means kicked his second PAT to make the score 14-0.
The Bulldogs, however, took the ensuing possession, and after a series of lengthy runs by Travis Scearce, Mason Blocker scored on a quarterback keeper from 3 yards out to pull the Bulldogs closer.
St. Paul’s punted on its next possession, and Fontainebleau made them pay. Ten plays and 79 yards later, Scearce leaped over left tackle for a 1-yard touchdown. Tyler Olivier kicked the second of his first-half PATs to tie the score at 14.
The Wolves got the ball back with 1:22 remaining in the half, and Means booted a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give St. Paul’s a 17-14 lead at the break.
Scearce led the Bulldogs with 75 yards on 10 carries and a score.
After trading drives to open the third quarter, St. Paul’s finally cracked the end zone again at the 1:50 mark. Sears dove under his line for a 2-yard score, and Means kicked the PAT to increase the lead to 10 points.
The Bulldogs scratched back with a touchdowns from Hunt Thompson to Cole Sisung and Hunter Bastion. Fontainebleau got the ball back in the final minutes of the game, but a fourth-and-long play fell short. That, coupled with the kickoff return for a score, preserved the win for St. Paul’s.