The wait is over.
McDonogh 35 can take bragging rights back to its new $55 million facility along Bayou St. John.
Sidney Wilson threw three touchdown passes, then the defense stepped up to stuff a late St. Augustine rally in McDonogh 35’s season-opening 26-20 victory Saturday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“It means a lot,” said Wilson, a senior. “Whenever we beat them, it’s like winning the Super Bowl. Everybody comes to see this game, so we have to show out. All my years here, we had never beaten them. To see all the seniors crying after those game, it feels unbelievable to get this win.”
For the Roneagles, ranked No. 8 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large School Super 10, it was their first win over St. Aug since 2011, when Leonard Fournette was a sophomore.
McDonogh 35 looked to be in control late in the fourth quarter, leading by two touchdowns midway through.
But St. Aug scored, then forced a quick three-and-out to give itself one last chance.
“We struggled there at the end,” McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese said.
The Purple Knights got to the Roneagles’ 34-yard line but were stopped short on fourth down in the final minute.
“It was crunch time, so we had to step up,” senior defensive lineman Mastephon Taylor said.
They did, and the wait was over. But it didn’t come without another wait.
The game had a 93-minute weather delay with 8:34 left in the second quarter because of lightning. Most of the crowd, including St. Aug’s Marching 100 band, didn’t return when play resumed. McDonogh 35 led 14-12 at that point, having answered a pair of St. Aug touchdowns.
The Purple Knights scored on their opening drive, going 69 yards in 10 plays. Quarterback Justice McCoy capped the drive with a 12-yard run. The key play of the drive was a 34-yard strike from McCoy to Paul Keller.
The Roneagles responded midway through the first quarter when Wilson connected with Toreano Miner on a 70-yard touchdown. Miner kicked the extra point to put McDonogh 35 ahead 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, St. Aug’s Darrel Landry showed off his blazing speed, returning it 95 yards for a touchdown.
But 35 came right back. This time, Wilson capped the drive by floating a beautiful 5-yard pass into the corner of the end zone to Brad Stewart, putting the Roneagles ahead 14-12 on the final play of the first quarter.
The game stayed that way through the delay and the rest of the first half.
McDonogh opened the second half with a 15-play, 63-yard drive, getting to the Purple Knights’ 10-yard line but came away empty. It didn’t matter, though.
On St. Aug’s next possession, McDonogh 35’s Eric Smith recovered a bad snap in the end zone to put the Roneagles ahead 20-12 with 4:53 left. They padded the lead on their next possession when Wilson connected with Lawrence Keys on a slant for a 41-yard score.
Wilson completed 13 of 21 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns.
“Sidney is a helluva football player, baseball player and student,” Roneagles coach Wayne Reese said. “I tell the college coaches they are missing out on a special player. He is a student of the game, and he does what he needs to do.”
Darius May led the Roneagles on the ground with 72 yards on 24 carries. McCoy led St. Aug, completing 11 of 20 passes for 136 yards.
“We are young and inexperienced,” St. Aug coach Al Jones said. “We are working on it. I thought we came out the gate pretty good, but in the third quarter we sputtered a little bit. … We just have to work on putting four quarters together.”
McDonogh 35 travels to Slidell on Friday. St. Aug will host Scotlandville on Saturday.