GONZALES — The East Ascension Spartans defeated the Northwest Raiders 41-8 on homecoming night at Spartan Stadium.
The game was riddled with penalties on both sides from the start with more 50 yards lost between both teams, but the Spartans defense was able to come up big first with an interception by junior defensive back Justin Walker to place East Ascension at the Raiders 48 yard line.
The Spartans pushed themselves back with penalties and allowed the first of many sacks on quarterback Montaze Sam and were unable to take advantage of the turnover to produce points.
After East Ascension's defense stopped Northwest a second time, the Spartans moved the ball downfield and capped off the drive with a touchdown run by senior Ethan Bagwell with a little more than two minutes to go in the first quarter.
On East Ascension's next drive, Northwest was able to create some momentum with an interception by junior defensive back Keshaun Lazard. The Raiders got onto the scoreboard for the first time thanks to Sam's touchdown pass to Lazard.
It was Sam’s only touchdown pass, and one of his three completions, but the coaches from each team admired the tenacity with how the senior played Friday.
“Sam is a special quarterback,” Spartans coach Darnell Lee said. “With the way our schedule is, every week we’ve been seeing these mobile quarterbacks. So that kind of prepared us for it. It slowed our pass rush down a little bit. We had to contain him. I think our guys did a good job of that.”
Despite losing by such a large margin, Raiders coach Chris Edwards is confident in his program.
“It wasn’t just the quarterback, but the whole team,” he said. “I think we put ourselves in a bad situation with multiple turnovers. If we didn’t turn the ball over, it could have been a different game. I think we surprised them and surprised everybody. We have a good football team. We played well, we just can’t put our team in those situations.”
After the Raiders’ lone score of the evening, the Spartans returned to their ground attack, addinng five more touchdowns between wide receivers Jacquell Mack, Navell Chopin, Steven McBride, Jordan Goodlow and running back Walter Sammuel, while bringing an unrelenting pass rush on defense that kept Northwest stagnant.
Lee said is happy with what he’s seen from his team, but wants to continue improving.
“We have a few injuries and we have some new guys playing that were backups last year," he said. "They’re having to grow up on the run. We have to keep getting better every day.”