WATSON —John Ehret coach Corey Lambert wanted one more score from his team after halftime.
The Patriots built a 13-point lead over Live Oak at the break, but the way their defense was playing, Lambert knew one more touchdown would seal the win.
Ehret did better than that as it added a pair of second-half touchdowns en route to a 25-2 second-round win in the Class 5A playoffs.
The win moved Ehret (10-2) into the quarterfinals to face Ponchatoula.
“When we were up 13-0, I told our guys that we needed one more score,” Lambert said. “With our defense, if we got 18 to 20 points I felt we could win. I don’t think anyone can score more than 20 points on our guys.”
The Patriots defense pitched a virtual shutout against Live Oak (7-5), which had 18 plays run for negative yardage. For the game, Live Oak had 51 yards of offense.
The Ehret defense was led by lineman Kerry Starks and linebackers Robert Green and Michael Divinity. The trio combined for six sacks, including three from Starks and two by Green.
Eagles quarterbacks Ryan Morris and Dillon Wang completed a combined 3 of 12 passes for 51 yards with one interception.
Live Oak’s defense turned in a feisty effort of its own. They were hurt by big plays but were responsible for the Eagles’ only points. With Ehret backed up to its own goal line, the Patriots were flagged for holding in their end zone on third-and-9 at the EHS 2.
The score briefly pulled Live Oak within 13-2 early in the third quarter.
“(Ehret) is very talented,” Live Oak coach Brett Beard said. “We knew going in they were going to play with an attitude. We enjoyed trying to figure out ways to get our guys to battle that. All year long these guys have done great things, and tonight they just didn’t match the physicality.”
After the safety, Ehret forced a punt and went 63 yards for its third score. Juwan Leonard, who had a game-high 156 rushing yards and two touchdowns, sparked the drive with a 39-yard run. Donte Green finished it with a 15-yard sweep around left end.
Anthony Hamilton’s fourth-quarter interception gave the Patriots possession at the LOHS 30. It took seven plays, but Ehret finally found the end zone on De’Jon Harris’ 19-yard pass to Travis Jordan.
“What we wanted to do was play good ball, not turn it over and do what we do best,” Lambert said of his team’s defense.
The first half was a defensive battle on both sides, but Ehret used two big plays to stake itself to a 13-0 lead.
The first came with five minutes left in the first quarter. Leonard headed right with a handoff but cut up the middle to find a seam on his way to a 39-yard touchdown.
Late in the half, after taking possession near midfield, the Patriots had a fourth-and-4 at the LOHS 40. Harris found a wide-open Greene on the right sideline for a 26-yard gain. Ehret moved inside the 1 before Leonard scored through the left side on the half’s final play.
Dustin Bodden’s extra point try was wide left, and Ehret led 13-0 at halftime.
Live Oak took the opening kickoff and held the ball for more than five minutes. The Eagles converted a third down and a fourth down before punting the ball away.
Midway through the second, Live Oak blocked a punt after a high snap. Taking over at the JEHS 39, Live Oak gained only 2 yards and punted with 5:11 left in the half.
Ehret took possession at its 15 and picked up three first downs as it moved inside Live Oak territory. The Eagles defense stiffened momentarily but left Greene uncovered on fourth down.
For the half, Ehret held Live Oak to four first downs and 34 yards. Ehret had 174 yards and seven firsts.