Matt Keller threw four touchdown passes, and running back Trey Ragas rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, as Shaw dominated East St. John 38-14 Saturday at Hoss Memphis Stadium.
“I thought it was one of the best (performances) of his career,” Shaw coach Scott Bairnsfather said of Keller. “He manages the game as well as anybody I’ve ever coached, and he’s probably the toughest kid at quarterback I’ve ever had in my 17 years as coach.
“When he’s on his game like this, we’re going to move the ball.”
Keller passed for 181 yards on 6-of-9 passing, including touchdown passes of 66 and 36 to wide receiver Patrick Allen and 13 and 50 yards to Ragas. The Eagles (1-0) led 17-6 at halftime but erased any doubt by surging to a 31-6 lead by the end of the third quarter.
“We gave up two touchdowns, but for about 30 to 40 minutes we played great defense,” Bairnsfather said. “And that’s coming off a performance we weren’t proud of last week (in a jamboree vs. Ehret).”
East St. John’s touchdowns came on a 15-yard pass from Alvin Jackson to C.J. Turner on the last play of the first half and an 80-yard run by Damonte Coxie near the end of the game.
Coxie, a wide receiver and LSU commitment, switched to quarterback one play before his big run after Jackson came out of the game with what coach Alden Foster said is a separated index finger.
East St. John coach Alden Foster lamented mistakes by East St. John (0-1) on defense and offense, saying the Wildcats obviously have a lot of work to do.
“We have to stop killing ourselves, our mistakes,” Foster said. “(Shaw) is a good football team, but we’re not as bad as we played. (Ragas) got away on two busted (defensive) plays on the screen and the long pass.”
A 64-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Coxie was called back by a holding penalty in the first half. With Shaw paying special attention to Coxie, he caught six passes for 64 yards. However, he rushed for 108 yards on three carries.
“We worked him this week at quarterback, just trying to get a different look,” Foster said. “I look dumb for not doing it earlier.”
Turner led East St. John with eight catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for the two-point conversion after Coxie’s touchdown. Foster pulled Turner aside after his touchdown catch.
“He’s a good baseball player,” Foster said. “He’s sure-handed. He was always our second-best receiver. We’re looking for big things from him.
“People are going to key on Coxie. I told him he has to step up and make plays. We know he can.”
Foster said he didn’t know what Jackson’s status would be with his injured finger. However, quarterback Marquise Darensbourg, who was mired in a transfer controversy before a compromise was reached, will join the Wildcats in Week 5.
Foster said Darensbourg’s transfer from Destrehan, where he played last season, shouldn’t have been a controversy.
“The kid moved in with his dad; it’s not like he moved with any old guy,” Foster said. “You can’t penalize him for that. That kid didn’t have anything to do with his mom and her financial situation.”