Easton coach Tony Hull had never beaten Edna Karr since taken over at Warren Easton back in 2007.
Six tries, six losses.
Sparked by a stellar defensive outing and a Deshawn Capers-Smith-like performance from quarterback Tyriek Starks, Easton unleashed all of that six-game frustration in Thursday’s 40-14 victory at Pan-Am Stadium.
“We wanted this win extremely bad,” said senior linebacker Pernell Jefferson. “We had never beaten them before since I’ve been here, so this was for all of our alumni and the whole Warren Easton family. We finally accomplished that for them.”
Easton, ranked No. 4 in The New Orleans Advocate Large School Super 10, improved to 8-1 overall, but more importantly 5-0 in District 9-4A. They can claim the district championship outright next week with a win over Lake Area after splitting the title with Karr and Landry-Walker (now in 5A) last season.
Starks, who replaced 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year Capers-Smith this season, completed 16 of 28 passes for 250 yards and three touchdown passes. He also rushed for 99 yards and another touchdown.
“He is graduating right before our eyes,” Hull said. “He is a really good football player. A lot of kids don’t take his route. He could have transferred when Lefty (Capers-Smith) won the job. But he persevered. He told me he was going to wait his turn and beat Lefty out. He never beat him out. But what he’s done is paying off.”
Starks threw two touchdown passes to sophomore Yoheinz Tyler and another to senior Clyde Chriss in the game attended by LSU teammates Tyron Johnson (an Easton alum) and St. Aug grad Leonard Fournette.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles to show they were determined to end their drought against their visitors from the west bank.
Josh Boyd scored a on a pair of short touchdowns runs (3 and 4 yards) in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead.
But it was the Easton defense that was the story of the first half. The Eagles held the Cougars to just 59 yards in the first two quarters. Karr’s only touchdown in the half came when it took advantage of a short field when Easton muffed a punt that made it 14-7.
Easton answered that score.
First, Starks scored on a 2-yard run and then threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyler.
Starks’ TD run was set up by his 53 yard pass to Tyler, who finished with four catches for 132 yards.
Karr quarterback Skyler Perry scored on a 2-yard run for the Cougars (4-4, 4-1).
Perry, a sophomore, was making his first start, replacing the metro area’s leading passer Aldon Clark, who injured his knee last week.
“It played a factor, but we aren’t making any excuses,” Cougars coach Brice Brown said. “We had too many turnovers and some misreads on offense. It’s nothing we can’t correct. We have to get ready for (McDonogh) 35 and get back to the drawing board.”
Easton forced four turnovers
Charven Morris recorded his eighth interception of the season and Damien Tate got his seventh.
Despite the Eagle’s dominance, Karr still had a chance in the fourth quarter. They trailed 27-14 with a little more than eight minutes left and had driven to the Easton 21-yard line. But on fourth down, Tyran Nash recorded a sack that all but sealed it.
“We needed a stop and I was eager to get it,” Nash said. “We wanted this one bad. This game was big.”
That’s when Starks put the game out of reach, tossing two more touchdown passes.
Tyrik Luckett scored on a 6-yard run in the third quarter for the Cougars’ other score.
“We played a complete game and beat a very good team,” Hull said.