The Higgins Hurricanes broke out of their first-half doldrums with 13 unanswered third-quarter points. But it was too little and too late as St. Amant built a 29-point halftime lead and went on to take a 36-13 win in a nondistrict game at The Pit on Friday night in St. Amant.
After the visitors cut the margin to 29-13, St. Amant quarterback Hayden Mallory hooked up with Tanner Mayo on a 64-yard scoring pass to let the air out of the HHS comeback. Mallory threw for four touchdowns on the night, two to Briggs Bourgeois.
“I think that (touchdown) play might have broken some of our momentum,” Higgins coach Craig Laborde said. “We knew we would struggle early on offense. Our offensive coordinator, coach (Terrence) Anderson, has only been on the job since Aug. 4, and he’s done a heck of a job. But being down 29 was just too much to come back. Our defense played lights-out, though, against a good St. Amant team, and if we can keep playing like this, we can play with anyone left on our schedule.”
Mallory finished with 352 passing yards, completing 17 of 36 attempts with one interception for the unbeaten Gators (2-0). Higgins fell to 0-2.
“We were trying a few things with our passing game tonight, but most of what we did was pretty basic,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said.
Higgins quarterback Daniel White threw for both of his team’s touchdowns, a 6-yard pass to Lavar Gumms and a 21-yarder to Travis Broussard. He finished with 154 yards but also had four interceptions.
Senior defensive back Cody Simmons hauled in three of those interceptions for St. Amant.
Although both his offense and defense had some big plays, Oliver wasn’t happy with his team’s consistency.
“(Last week’s win over Live Oak) was execution. This week, it was just sloppiness. We’ll have to get that cleaned up,” he said.
The Gators nearly broke the 200-yard mark in penalties, amassing 198 yards on 19 infractions. Three long punt returns and a 10-yard touchdown run by Nathan Taylor were called back for penalties.
Taylor was the game’s leading rusher with 83 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Both teams went backward on their opening possessions. The Hurricanes picked up a quick procedure penalty to start the game on their own 10-yard line, from where they quickly went three-and-out. St. Amant followed with a penalty to nullify a nice Taylor punt return and an 11-yard loss on a mishandled snap.
The Mallory-to-Bourgeois connection surfaced on the Gators next drive. In no time, SAHS was up 22-0. Mallory found his junior receiver for a 36-yard score. After Bourgeois was roughed on his successful extra point kick, he recovered his own onside kick on the Higgins 33 and then caught a 15-yard touchdown pass.
For icing on his cake, Bourgeois caught a two-point conversion pass from the swinging gate formation. St. Amant backed itself up again with penalties before Mallory threw his third touchdown pass of the half, this one a 47-yard strike to Jacob Cheatwood.
Taylor got a rushing touchdown on a 6-yard run to bring the score to 29-0 at halftime. The St. Amant defense held the visitors to 84 yards of offense, with 46 of those coming on a pass play from Daniel White to Jordan Joseph. It marked the only time the Hurricanes crossed midfield in the first half.