Michael Divinity was there when Ehret lost to East St. John in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs last season.
Divinity came out early, intent on making sure the Patriots didn’t fall again to the Wildcats, getting a sack on East St. John’s first play, then blocking its first punt. The defense immediately followed suit, and the offense came alive in a 30-0 victory on Thursday.
“I did have a little bad taste in my mouth” about losing the playoff game, said Divinity, who had three sacks and several hurries. “But we want to start fast and finish strong. Last week, we started fast then we got a little sluggish.
“It was just fun to play free out there tonight.”
With its defense holding East St. John (0-2) to 24 yards, the Patriots (2-0) bolted to a 21-0 halftime lead. Defensive linemen Kerry Starks, Robert Green and Dwayne Fisher and linebacker Anthony Hamilton were all over the Wildcats’ offense.
East St. John was held to 24 yards in the first half and 3 for the game, including minus-31 rushing.
“We have to get back to the drawing board,” Wildcats coach Alden Foster said. “We have to get back to the line doing what it does best. We have some things we want to work on.”
Starks recovered a fumble by the Wildcats’ Damonte Coxie at the East John 13 midway through the first quarter. That got the Patriots’ offense — playing its second game without starting quarterback Caron Baham — in gear. On the next play, Juwan Leonard, a running back replacing Baham, ran 13 yards for a touchdown.
Leonard capped a 53-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run at 6:48 of the second quarter. And Dejon Harris, getting his turn as the Patriots’ running back, broke loose for a 54-yard scoring run 1:54 before halftime.
Harris added to Ehret’s score 1 minute, 16 seconds into the third quarter when he grabbed East St. John quarterback Adarius Duhe in the end zone, forcing an intentional grounding penalty that resulted in a safety. Duhe replaced Wildcats senior starter Alvin Jackson, who has a dislocated right index finger.
When Leonard’s backfield mate Byron James sped 40 yards for a touchdown with 1:13 left in the third quarter, Ehret led 30-0.
Ehret finished with 265 yards rushing and 62 passing. Leonard, splitting time between quarterback and running back, rushed for a game-high 129 yards on 13 carries. He also completed seven of 12 passes for 25 yards. James rushed for 111 yards on 15 carries.
“They’re getting used to playing without Caron (bruised knee),” Ehret coach Corey Lambert said. “But he’ll be back next week (against Destrehan).”