ST. AMANT — After both teams got off to fast starts, St. Amant High orchestrated a big finish. The Gators got their first victory of the season, beating East Jefferson 41-20 at home Friday night.
Both teams got off to a quick starts, both scoring on their first possession of the game, but eventually the Gators won out, wearing down the undermanned Warriors.
“I’m not an excuse maker, we’re a 5A team just like they are,” EJHS coach Frank Allelo said. “They’ve got the numbers to be a real 5A team. I’ve got to play a lot of guys two ways and when you play a team that has a whole sideline full of guys, it catches up with you. It’s a credit to them.”
St. Amant’s two-quarterback system worked to its advantage as Cole Poirrier and Slade Zeppuhar alternated drives throughout the game. Poirrier was 6-of-9 with 101 yards and one touchdown, which Zeppuhar was comparable at 9-of-11, 121 yards and one touchdown. They each added a added a rushing touchdown.
“I don’t see very little difference between the two,” said St. Amant coach David Oliver. “We’re just going to play it out and see. I think they both add a little something.”
The Warriors struggled with both penalties and negative yardage, leaving them with less than 100 total yards rushing and over 100 penalty yards.
“I told the referee that he took more land than the Russians tonight,” said Allelo. “No team can win with the penalties that we had tonight.”
East Jefferson did manage to tied the game 13-13 with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
“[East Jefferson] had three big plays,” Oliver said. “There was a busted coverage, a broken play early, but besides that, I thought our defense played really well.”
Once again, St. Amant found a way to respond. After punting on their first possession of the second quarter, the Gators went up 20-13 after a 23-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cole Poirrier with 5:32 remaining in the half.
St. Amant added to its lead with 32 seconds second in the half. Quarterback Slade Zeppuhar hit two 20-yard completions before Sims finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run. The Gators went into halftime with a 27-13 lead.
The Gators picked up exactly where they left off in the second half, scoring less than a minute into it. It only took Poirrier two passes — a 26-yard completion to receiver Javin Augillard and the 35-yard touchdown to receiver Justin Storks — to extend St. Amant’s lead to 34-13 with 11:11 left in the third quarter.
East Jefferson finally got back on the board with 10:22 left in the third quarter. Warriors quarterback Arthur Oliver hit receiver Jermaine Guillard for a 52-yard touchdown to cut the lead down to 34-20, but that would be the last time the Warriors scored.
St. Amant came right back with one of their own with 8:32 left in the third and added one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
“East Jeff was pretty scrappy and they did some things that slowed us down a bit and did some things that we had to adjust to,” Oliver said. “I though we wore them down and played a pretty clean game in terms of turnovers. I’ll never complain about a win.”