John Ehret senior defensive end/nose tackle Kerry Starks was voted as Mr. Patriot by the student body for the school’s homecoming game on Thursday.
Starks, however, passed the honor on to Denzel Parker, a senior with a 3.7 grade-point average who is bound to a wheelchair who was clearly delighted, along with Ehret’s fans.
Starks and the Patriots were in no giving mood in their District 8-5A game Friday night against Bonnabel, however. Led by quarterback Dejon Harris, Ehret scored on its first five possessions on its way to trouncing the winless Bruins 35-7 at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.
“I decided when I ran that if I won, I would give it to Denzel because it’s the right thing to do,” Starks said. “I have a brother (DeAndre Starks) who is a special-needs kid. He is 15.”
The victory, Ehret’s third in a row since losing to Landry-Walker on Oct. 9, pushed the Patriots’ record to 7-2, 5-1, with next week’s district finale coming against Helen Cox. Ehret is in a three-way tie for first place.
Bonnabel (0-9, 0-6), which has not won since last season’s final game against Cox, ends the season next week against rival East Jefferson.
“We put up 28 points in the first quarter,” Patriots coach Corey Lambert shrugged, when asked about his team’s performance. “Next week (against Cox), we can do something that has never been done at Ehret – win three district titles in a row.”
Led by Starks, defensive end Robert Green and linebacker Anthony Hamilton, Ehret’s fast, swarming defense held Bonnabel without a first-half first down. The Bruins had three total yards, including minus-four rushing.
The Patriots got the ball at their 35 after the Bruins punted following the game’s first possession. After that, Ehret started drives on the Bruins’ 16, 27, 40 and 6. Harris cashed them in each time.
“We knew we would get a lot of points against them,” said Harris, who was 6-of-6 for 87 yards passsing and gained 58 yards on four carries, all in the first half. “We wanted to get out quickly and let the sophomores and freshmen play and also keep ourselves fresh for the playoffs.
“We were focused. We didn’t want any penalties or bad execution or anything like that.”
Harris capped the initial 65-yard drive with a 37-yard run, powering his way through the Bonnabel defense. He ended the next with a 17-yard run, then completed scoring passes of 21 and 40 yards to wide receiver Travis Jordan in the first quarter.
Harris and Jordan teammed on a 9-yard slant route seven seconds into the second quarter after defensive back Shyheim Gullage’s blocked punt gave the Patriots first down on the Bonnabel 6 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
After that touchdown, Lambert put the young backups in. The Patriots didn’t score the rest of the way. Bonnabel scored its only touchdown, a 10-yard run by Maurice Britton, at 5:10 of the fourth quarter.
The Bruins used all their timeouts in the game’s final 25 seconds trying to score after taking over at the Ehret 8 after the Patriots went for the first down on fourth and 14.
The timeouts clearly irked Lambert, who questioned Bonnabel coach Reggie Rogers about it after the game.
“My kids need some confidence, too,” Rogers told Lambert.
Said Lambert: “We could have put 70 on them, but we didn’t. That was crazy.”