PLAQUEMINE — Sophomore running back Elijah Mitchell’s rounding into shape following an early-season injury, but Erath proved to be more than a one-man show.
Three touchdowns from Mitchell were enough to get his team rolling but it was a second-half passing performance from quarterback Ben LeBlanc that gave the Bobcats plenty of seperation.
LeBlanc passed for 152 of his 175 yards in the second half and had a pair of touchdown passes, propelling Erath to a 33-14 victory Thursday over St. John of Plaquemine and ruined the Eagles homecoming.
“I was pleased we were balanced,” Erath coach David Comeaux said. “Elijah’s our workhorse, but Ben is such a commander, a leader more than anything else. He was on tonight. I think the ground game opened it up for him a little bit and when he did throw it deep our receivers went and got it.”
Erath (2-3) broke open a 13-0 halftime lead with a 20-point third-quarter surge that began with Mitchell’s 2-yard run at the 9:28 mark and continued when the Bobcats established a commanding 33-6 advantage on consecutive scoring drives.
LeBlanc, who completed 6 of 9 passes, connected for 52 yards on a well-thrown, back-shoulder fade to Ross Granger who came down with the ball at St. John’s 15 and finished off the play.
The Bobcats made it three consecutive scoring drives when LeBlanc hit Scotty Young in stride in front of his team’s sideline for a 47-yard touchdown on first down after the Eagles were unsuccessful on fourth down.
Erath accounted for 366 offense yards with Mitchell rushing 20 times for 118 yards of the Bobcats’ rushing yards. Moore caught three passes for 79 yards.
“We thought the running back was pretty good and we knew he was going to be tough,” St. John coach Oliver “Cricket” Crockett said. “The quarterback’s pretty good so we knew the deep passes were there. We’ve just got to be able to read our keys a little better and make those plays.”
St. John (0-5) piled up 298 yards with 184 of that coming on the ground.
Willie Williams led the Eagles with 11 carries for 77 yards, including a 51-yard dash midway through the third quarter that cut Erath’s lead to 20-6.
Junior quarteback Clay Payne, making his first start in place of injured Hayden Hemenway, completed 6 of 16 passes for 114 yards and added a 2-yard TD run to account for the final score. Gavin Primeaux topped the Eagles with three catches for 48 yards.
Erath’s 13-0 halftime lead was courtesy of scoring runs of 2 and 21 yards, respectively, from Mitchell who gained 148 yards in his first game back last week from a hip injury.
LeBlanc set up Mitchell’s final score — a 2-yard run over the right side on second down — with a 35-yard completion to Luke Young — that reached St. John’s 6-yard line.
“I think we’re getting better every day, getting better every week,” Comeaux said. “That’s the only thing we can ask for right now. We’re trying to build from the ground up.”