DUTCHTOWN — Of course, it would come to this.
It’s St.Amant-East Ascension.
Marquise Hampton’s 2-yard scoring reception with 12 seconds to go lifted the Gators to a 21-14 LeBlanc’s Food Stores Jamboree Challenge victory over their fiercest rival Friday night at Dutchtown High.
Just what longtime observers might expect from teams that have combined for an all-time 17-17 tie in 34 regular season meetings.
Likewise, the STA-EA junior varsity game produced a 14-14 tie.
“When St. Amant and East Ascension get together, people will come out to watch the kids play checkers,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “We didn’t punch it in from close a couple times and had some bad penalties, but it’s always good to come away with a win.”
The touchdown capped a frenetic second half that saw the squads combine for three touchdowns after a defensively charged first half saw only one-a 70-yard strike from STA quarterback Tyler Dixon.
In that half, St. Amant ran only nine plays, one of them for the score.
The Gator defense clamped down for two goal-line stands in the half.
After a first half of promising drives ending in disappoinment, the Spartan defense would set up the initial EA score.
A Malik Anderson interception on the third play out of the lockeroom placed his offense at the STA 26.
After a key fourth-down reception by Josh Andrews moved the Spartans to the Gator 10, quarterback Kyran Irvin capped the short drive with a TD run from inside the one to knot the contest at 7-7.
Two St. Amant drives later, the Gators reclaimed the edge when a 16-yard catch and run by Justin Duhon advanced STA to the Spartan 21 and a 9-yard Richard Williams run set the stage for a 5-yard score by Williams to make it 14-7 with 2:26 to go.
A minute and a half later, a raucous East Ascension sideline and crowd erupted in celebration in what proved to be a short-lived tie when Joshua Walker 23-yard TD scamper through and past defenders.
On the STA sideline, one coach was heard saying “That’s OK guys. Live to fight another day.”
What ensued was a nifty Hampton kickoff return to his own 45. A personal foul call moved the Gators to the EA 40. Three plays later, Hampton finished what he’d started with the game winner.
“It’s not just a jamboree when these two teams play,” East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois said. “The important thing now is, not to let emotion take over.”
To remind these players that itdoesn’t count in the standings or power points...We gave up (yards) way too much on defense.
We’ll work on that.”