Ryan O’Krepki rushed for 105 yards, and St. Paul’s held off Slidell’s fourth-quarter rally in a 24-16 win Friday night at Hunter Stadium.
With St. Paul’s (3-1, 1-0) up 24-3 headed into the fourth quarter, Slidell (3-1, 0-1) pushed across a pair of late touchdowns, a 30-yard run by Kain Mitchell and a 2-yard run by Justin Leger to cut the lead to 24-16.
Mitchell led Slidell with 103 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.
Wolves’ coach Ken Sears said he was proud of his team despite the late Slidell rally.
“We sputtered at times offensively,” Sears said. “We had some key penalties at times that killed drives, but to our team’s credit, we overcame that to come away with a big win over a good Slidell team.”
St. Paul’s got on the scoreboard first when O’Krepki connected with Jalen McCleskey for an 11-yard touchdown. The touchdown was set up by a 58-yard run by the senior quarterback.
“Slidell is a really good defense,” O’Krepki said. “But I have to give credit to my offensive line. They opened up some big holes. On my big runs though, I knew they (Slidell) take a lot of chances and blitz a lot. ...If you can get behind it, you are going to have the chance to break off some big plays.
“We know we have the target of every team in this district because we are St. Paul’s. That is what you get when you win like we do. Tonight we didn’t play our best game, but we still found a way to win. That is really all that matters.”
Up 7-3, the Wolves scored the next 17 points after Francois Elzy’s 1-yard touchdown run, a 27-yard touchdown run by O’Krepki and a 32-yard field goal by Austin Means.
“All the credit to our defense, who stepped up when we were sputtering at times offensively,” Sears said. “We have to clean up penalties, but we did what we had to do. Ryan’s two big runs came when the pocket broke down. Credit him; he has done that his entire career. He did a great job with his feet tonight.”
Down 24-16 with under two minutes in the game, Slidell took over at its own 40-yard line, but was not able to get the ball into St. Paul’s territory.
Slidell coach Larry Favre was happy to see his team fight until the end and said he is excited about the future of his program.
“Our kids played their hearts out and were in a position to win it in the fourth quarter,” he said. “They are in mentally, physically and spiritually. They believe in what they are doing. We are getting better as a program. This is a tough pill to swallow because I thought if we had any semblance of offense, we could have won this game.
“We are coming. We are starting to learn how to compete and win games like this.”