The annual East Ascension-St. Amant rivalry game, even in the midst of a most unusual season, lived up to its buildup.
The two teams wage an emotional battle of momentum shifts with the Spartans emerging with a 35-32 victory in double overtime at The Pit on Saturday night.
East Ascension running back Kendall Washington put an end to the 3-hour affair with a 10-yard scoring run in a game that will probably have Ascension Parish residents talking for quite a while.
Down 22-14, St. Amant drove 75 yards to tie the game on a 6-yard TD pass and two-point conversion throw from Cole Poirrier to Justin Storks with 8 seconds remaining. The Gators were looking good when East Ascension was penalized on the ensuing kickoff and found itself playing first-and-goal from the 40 in the first overtime.
But Spartans quarterback Troy Dunn threw a 14-yard TD pass to Jacquel Mack to make it 29-22 and Poirrier answered with a 5-yard scoring run on the St. Amant possession. The East Ascension defense stopped St. Amant in the second overtime, forcing the Gators to kick a 20-yard field goal by Poirrier before Washington ended the game on East Ascension’s next snap.
The Spartans trailed 14-0 but tied the game on second-quarter interception returns of 36 and 68 yards by Kendrick Broussard and Kael Babin. Dunn also had a 3-yard run to give the visitors their first lead, 20-14.
Walter Samuel rushed for 97 yards to lead the Gators, and Broussard had a second interception.
Poirrier, who threw three scoring passes in addition, completed 19 of 32 passes for 245 yards. Touchdown throws of 29 yards to Ty Bell and 46 to Noah Louque put the Gators ahead, 14-0 in the first quarter.
Remy Rizutto caught seven passes for 73 yards, Noah Louque five for 76 and Starks five for 55.
How it was won
East Ascension came up with big defensive plays in the second overtime. Poirrier ran for 5 yards on the first play but was dropped for a 2-yard loss by Jerrell Boykins on the second. A speed sweep by Louque picked up 3 yards before the Gators settled for the field goal.
The Spartans, who had only 51 yards passing, went to Washington on the first play. He went in motion and from right to left and took a handoff from Dunn on the speed sweep, cut inside a defender and slipped into the end zone to set off a celebration on the East Ascension sideline.
Player of the game
Troy Dunn, East Ascension quarterback
Dunn’s 3-yard scoring run came after he dropped a snap, but he quickly grabbed it and plowed straight ahead for the score. He completed 8 of 13 passes, most short throws to the flat, but made a huge play over the middle to Mack in the first overtime. He also had to pull down a high snap to get the ball to Washington on the game-winning touchdown.
They said it
David Oliver, St. Amant coach
“I was extremely proud of our team. They fought like the spirit of the game. We had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and they got a safety but give them credit for that. We just made too many mistakes to win the game.
Darnell Lee, East Ascension coach
“This game is always emotional. Both schools do everything right. We come together and it’s a fun time of year. With COVID-19 we didn’t know if we were going to be able to have it. We were blessed to play and have the seniors go at it one more time. I think the people got their money’s worth.