PLAQUEMINE — In a rare nondistrict game featuring two teams from different classifications in late October, 2A Archbishop Hannan defeated 1A St. John 35-23 Thursday night at Plaquemine High’s Canova Stadium.
“This was a real important game for us,” Hannan coach Scott Wattigny said. “We’re sitting right on an opportunity to be in the playoffs, and if we don’t win this one then I don’t think we get in.”
After Hannan (6-3) missed a 40-yard field goal on its opening drive, St. John (4-5) put together an 80-yard scoring drive.
St. John running back Gavin Landry capped off the drive with a 26-yard touchdown run, outracing the Hannan secondary before diving into the end zone. Landry rushed for the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles the 8-0 lead with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
Hannan responded with a 53-yard return by Payton Hudson on the ensuing kickoff, starting its drive at the St. John 30-yard line. Running back Oliver Murphy punched in a 2-yard touchdown a few plays later to draw the Hawks within a point of St. John at 8-7.
The Hawks took at 14-8 lead midway through second quarter when quarterback Timothy McDonald hit Hudson for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
St. John added a 42-yard field goal by Landry with 96 seconds left in the first half to cut the Eagle deficit to 14-11 heading into halftime.
Landry did not return for the second half, and St. John coach Cricket Crockett said his running back was taken to have tests run for a possible concussion sustained on a 15-yard run two plays before he kicked the field goal.
“He doesn’t even remember kicking the field goal,” Crockett said.
Despite playing just one half of football, Landry led St. John with 95 yards and a touchdown, pushing his season rushing totals to 1,064 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The St. John rushing attack was firing on all cylinders during the Eagles’ first drive of the second half.
The Eagles marched 71 yards down the field, including three straight rushes for first downs, to the Hannan 9-yard line.
St. John quarterback Clay Payne called his own number two plays later with a 5-yard touchdown scamper. The Eagles failed to convert the ensuing 2-point conversion, but took a 17-14 lead less than three minutes into the second half.
“It was pretty tough,” Crockett said. “We were already without (Gavin) Primeaux, so we have three running backs and all three were gone. Our freshmen stepped up and played real well. I’m really proud of the way the guys played.”
The Hawks responded with a 51-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Justin Wendt to put Hannan on top 21-17, a lead the Hawks would never relinquish.
McDonald again found Wendt for a 13-yard touchdown pass on Hannan’s next drive to push the Hawks’ lead to 28-17.
McDonald finished 16-for-22, with 222 yards and three touchdowns. Wendt led all receivers with nine catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Murphy capped off a 57-yard fourth quarter Hannan drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
to give the Hawks a 35-17 lead.
“Overall, I thought we just had a different attitude after the first half, not only just offensively, but even defensively,” Wattingy said.
The Eagles responded with a 79-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession, as Payne found freshman Justin Rivet for a 36-yard touchdown pass. St. John failed to convert the 2-point conversion, ending the scoring at 35-23.
“(The nondistrict matchup) was unique, but we’ve got to go back to district,” Crockett said. “We’ve got White Castle next week, and we’ve got to win that one if we want to make the playoffs.”