The Leonard Fournette era ended last season for St. Augustine.
Now it’s little brother’s turn.
After a sluggish first half, Lanard Fournette scored three second half touchdowns to help St. Augustine rally for a 32-22 victory over McDonogh 35 in the season opener at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“The second half the coach told us we had to turn it up and we had to win this,” said Fournette. “He hadn’t lost to 35 and we wanted to keep up the tradition.”
Fournette tweaked his ankle with 1:22 left, but not after making his mark on the game. It came on the same night that his big brother Leonard Fournette, considered the nation’s top recruit last season, scored his first touchdown for LSU.
He said it’s no pressure following his brother’s footsteps.
“People try to compare us, but we are two different people,” Fournette said. “He is more of a power guy and I am kind of versatile.”
St. Augustine trailed 22-14 at halftime, but scored 18 unanswered points in the second half.
Perhaps St. Aug coach Cyril Crutchfield can be credited for the second-half surge. He coached from the pressbox during the first half before going to the sideline in the second half.
“I was just trying something different,” Crutchfield said. “I definitely know now that I need to be on the sidelines. ... It’s all about effort. We didn’t have a lot of effort and intensity.”
His team responded in a big way.
The St. Aug secondary set up the first two Fournette scores.
Nicholas Condiff picked off a pass from freshman Dedrrick Clark to set up the first score of the second half. Fournette scored on a 6-yard run.
Paul Sims’ interception of a Joe Foucha pass set up the second one. This time it was Fournette taking a screen and racing 30 yards for a touchdown.
He later added a 4-yard touchdown run.
“He is a battle horse,” Crutchfield said. “He has that last name Fournette so you know he has some competitive juices. Fortunately he made enough plays along with the offense to get the job done.”
Stanley Morgan, one of the state’s top prospects, also was huge. Morgan caught five passes for 95 yards, including a couple highlight reel grabs.
“That’s why we call him “Stan the Man,” Crutchfield said. “Because he is the man. The offensive line did great protecting and Justice McCoy did a great job of putting the ball where it needed to be.”
After a scoreless first quarter, both teams finally got their offenses clicking in the second. The two teams combined for five touchdowns in a 6½ minute flurry to close out the second quarter.
It was the Roneagles defense that set up the first score.
St. Aug quarterback Justice McCoy was sacked and fumbled and it was recovered by Thomas Nash.
Two plays later, Sidney Wilson hit Omar Nash for a 25 yard touchdown. Darius May ran in the 2-point conversion.
St. Aug didn’t take long to respond. Ivan Price returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Roneagles’ 24-yard line. Three player later, Justice McCoy connected with Stanley Morgan, who made a highlight reel leaping catch for his first of two touchdowns.
McDonogh 35 came right back.
This time, Wilson threw a screen to the speedy Darius Williams, who outran everyone for a 75-yard score.
St. Aug’s response?
A 32-yard touchdown reception from McCoy to Morgan with 3:48 left in the quarter.
But that still wasn’t all the scoring for the quarter.
The Roneagles put together one more drive and May beat the Purple Knights’ defense to the outside for a touchdown that put the Roneagles up 22-14 at the break.
But the second half belonged to the Purple Knights.
“We didn’t do anything in the second half,” said McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese. “I totally blame it on as coaches. We have a young team. But I think we are going to be ok. We just have to go back and do some homework and get better.”
St. Aug will play Karr on Saturday, while McDonogh 35 plays at Lutcher on Friday.