LAFAYETTE — St. Thomas More struck quickly with startling efficiency during a 1 minute, 5-second span of the fourth quarter Thursday night.
A long touchdown pass, a quick run up the middle and a 22-yard interception return turned a one point lead into a 14-point victory as STM, the top-ranked team in Class 4A, defeated defending Class 2A champion Evangel Christian 41-27 at Cougar Stadium.
STM elevated its record to 4-0, while Evangel, ranked No. 4, fell to 1-3.
The game turned early in the fourth quarter, just minutes after Evangel closed to within a point following a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Taylor to his brother, Trent Taylor with 42 seconds in the third period.
On the following possession, STM quarterback Brandon Bergeron threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andrew Stevenson, an LSU baseball commitment.
Stevenson caught the pass over the middle, faked a couple of Evangel tacklers and then outraced the rest of the secondary at the 11:46 mark.
St. Thomas More linebacker Andrew Mahtook scored another TD 10 seconds later when Cougars’ linebacker Thomas Laborde tipped a Trey Taylor pass.
Laborde set up another touchdown on the Eagles’ next possession when he recovered a fumble at the Eagles’ 42.
After the turnover, St. Thomas More running back Jonathan Juneau broke into the open on a 42-yard run at the 10:41 mark to give the Cougars a 21-point lead after the Andrew Oliver point after kick.
Stevenson’s TD catch was his second of the night.
In the third quarter, Stevenson and Bergeron hooked up on a 70-yard scoring play when Bergeron threw a pass down the middle that gave the Cougars an eight-point advantage.
Bergeron and Taylor posted prolific passing numbers.
Taylor threw for 312 yards, but had three interceptions.
Bergeron’s completed 15 of 24 for 274 yards.
The Eagles went ahead 6-0 with 11:19 left in the second period after defensive end Jammerio Gross returned a St. Thomas More fumble to the Cougars’ 8.
On first down following the turnover, Taylor spotted wide receiver Jared Cornelius open in the left corner of the end zone and drilled in a pass from 8 yards away at the 11:19 mark.
The Eagles received only six points from the touchdown, however, when St. Thomas More defensive back Clay Calkins blocked Gerald Shouse’s point after attempt.
A 27-yard punt provided the Cougars with good field position midway in the second quarter, and St. Thomas More used that to score its only first-half TD.
Bergeron threw four passes on the scoring drive, with the final attempt falling into the arms of wide receiver Richard Hensarling, who was open on a low post route with 6:19 left in the second quarter.
Don Oliver’s PAT was good as St. Thomas More claimed the 7-6 lead.
Despite long offensive drives by both teams, the first quarter ended scoreless.
The Eagles reached St. Thomas More’s 35 on the game’s first offensive possession, but the Cougars held as Taylor threw a fourth down incompletion.
St. Thomas More marched to the Evangel 12 on the next series, but the Cougars failed to score after Oliver’s 38-yard field goal attempt was short.