GONZALES — East Ascension and Brother Martin played a game of copycat for most of Friday’s matchup.
Crusaders quarterback Jake Broggi throws a 63-yard touchdown pass?
Spartans quarterback Kyran Irvin responds with a 64-yard TD toss just a few plays later.
But Brother Martin came out on top, holding on for a 35-26 win.
“The win is important, but watching our kids overcome some of the adversity and some of the obstacles coming here … it was awesome to see them,” Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis said.
Bonis said the win was important for his team, coming from behind to win a shootout in what he called the toughest environment they’ve faced yet.
The Spartans and the Crusaders went back and forth for most of the game before Brother Martin could finally put the game away with an 8-yard touchdown run by running back Jared West with a little more than a minute left.
The win was finally sealed for the Crusaders when defensive back Andrew Benfatti picked off a tipped ball with under a minute to play.
“Both teams missed some opportunities,” Bonis said. “Just the feel of the game, though, it felt like it would come down to the last play of the game.”
Bonis wasn’t far off: East Ascension had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter after Irvin punched in a score from 2 yards out with just less than seven minutes to play. But tight end Kade Waguespack had the ball knocked out of his hands by Benfatti in the end zone during the two-point conversion attempt, making any comeback out of reach.
The drop was a dark spot for Waguespack, who played an important part in the Spartans offense — including being on the receiving end of Irvin’s 65-yard touchdown pass in the first half.
“I go through the game and see some of the missed plays and missed opportunities, and I think if we could’ve kept that drive alive, it could’ve changed the whole tempo of the game,” Waguespack said.
East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois was emotional after the game.
“I’m just hurt, hurt, hurt for them,” he said. “This was the first war they’ve been through where they totally emptied the tank. The past few times they emptied the tank, they came out ahead. This was the first time they did that and lost.”
For Brother Martin, the game came down to Broggi’s stellar performance — and East Ascension’s inability to stop him, depending on perspective.
Broggi threw for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing 17 of his 25 attempts for the Crusaders.
“I’m just proud of where we are right now and how we got here,” Broggi said.
“I feel like we started out with a slow start, but we pulled it out in the end.”