GONZALES — The District 5-5A title wasn’t expected to be on the line, and it wasn’t, but Ascension Parish rivals St. Amant and East Ascension waged a typically spirited battle for bragging rights Friday night.
Defense ruled for most of the night until seventh-ranked East Ascension rallied for 10 fourth-quarter points to hold off St. Amant 20-13.
The win allowed East Ascension (9-1, 4-1) to hang on to second place in the district standings after Catholic defeated Broadmoor.
St. Amant (7-3, 3-2) was left to lament special teams mistakes that helped the Spartans take a 10-6 halftime lead.
Jaqunn Mitchell’s 59-yard punt return gave EA a 7-0 first-quarter lead. St. Amant came back with Lathan Bourgeois’ 5-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was blocked. The Gators also missed a field goal at the end of the half.
“We scored in the third quarter and led 13-10, but we felt like we should have been leading 14-3,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “We had too many mistakes on special teams, but give credit to East Ascension. They played hard.”
St. Amant’s K.J. Franklin was held to 42 yards rushing. The Gators quarterback duo of Lathan Bourgeois and Kaleb Thompson combined to complete 16 of 28 passes for 137 yards.
East Ascension did most of its work via the arm of quarterback Jason Wakefield, who was 18 of 35 for 206 yards and a TD. Kicker Alberto Ontiveros made field goals of 35 and 25 yards, but missed from 30 and 37.
St. Amant’s go-ahead score came on a drive that started at the EA 45 midway through the third quarter. Kaleb Thompson connected with Austin Bascom for a 28-yard touchdown.
The Spartans responded with a six minute drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters. The touchdown came on 1st-and-goal at the SAHS 5 after defensive lineman Damon McDonald checked into the game at tackle. He shifted into an eligible slot at tight end, and caught Jason Wakefield’s pass for the touchdown.
“When you continue to give the other offense chances they’ll find wrinkles,” EA coach Darnell Lee said. “At one point we had a 30 second three-and-out, put our defense right back out there, and (St. Amant) scored. You just can’t do that.”
The game began with St. Amant being assessed a 15-yard penalty for wearing orange jerseys. The Spartans then kicked the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
Following a short punt, East Ascension took over at the SAHS 33, but couldn’t capitalize. Alberto Ontiveros’ 37-yard field goal try came up short to leave the game scoreless.
The Spartans forced another punt, and Mitchell took matters into his own hands. He fielded the kick at the EAHS 41, eluded two initial defenders and raced up the field for a 59-yard touchdown.
Ontiveros’ point after made it 7-0.
St. Amant responded with a 15-play, 75-yard drive. The key play was Bourgeois’ 24-yard completion to Jo Williams. Bourgeois scored on a 5-yard run, but the point after try was blocked.
Ontiveros’ 35-yard field goal made it 10-6 Spartans. St. Amant’s Matthew Parker came up short on a 46-yard attempt as the half ended.