It’s been a long three years for Shaw since rejoined the Catholic League.
The Eagles remained a competitive team in District 9-5A, but had only managed one win since returning in 2013 to one of the toughest districts in the New Orleans area.
That was until Saturday.
Shaw (3-3, 1-2 in District 9-5A) racked up 316 yards rushing and held off a late comeback attempt to spoil St. Augustine’s homecoming with a 42-39 upset at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“Any time you win one of these games it’s big, especially against a team that was playing so well,” Shaw coach Scott Bairnsfather said. “Were were lucky to hold on, but we’re very happy we did.”
After building a 28-7 halftime lead, Shaw allowed St. Aug (2-4, 2-1) to claw its way back into the game.
But with the game on the line, there was little doubt Shaw would lean on anyone else but its backfield tandem of running back Trey Ragas and quarterback Matt Keller to close things out.
Ragas scored a 35-yard touchdown with 9:27 remaining in the game to extend the Eagles lead to 42-27 and the duo combined for 42 yards on the game’s final drive to seal the win.
Ragas had 29 carries for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Keller completed 6 of 11 passes for 97 yards and added 23 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were up by a lot, and it would have been a heartbreaker if they came back and beat us,” Ragas said. “We just kept going, kept pushing the ball and never gave up.”
The Eagles defense held St. Aug quarterback Justice McCoy to 31 passing yards and forced him into two turnovers in the first half, but the explosive junior came out and started making plays to get his team back in the game.
In an attempt to repeat last week’s improbable comeback against Brother Martin, McCoy connected with receiver Takulve Williams for touchdown passes of 73 and 59 yards on the first two Purple Knights possessions of the second half.
St. Aug marched down the field on its next possession, and McCoy finished the drive by somehow swinging a pass out to Perre Barbarin on 4th-and-goal while being dragged down by Shaw defenders and the running back scored from 2 yards out to make the score 35-27 with 10:19 left in the game.
McCoy completed 15 of his 25 passes for 252 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. He added 69 yards rushing on 14 carries.
“It’s good that we were able to come back like that again, but we don’t want that to be our trademark,” St. Aug coach Al Jones said. “We need to learn how to put four consistent quarters together.”
Shaw came out and leaned on its patented running game early and often against the Purple Knights and used it to build a big lead in the first half.
Ragas and Keller combined for 25 carries, 150 yards and four touchdowns in the first two quarters, and Ragas’ 8-yard score after a McCoy fumble late in the second quarter gave the Eagles a commanding 28-7 lead going into halftime.
With his 227-yard performance Saturday, Ragas joined Brother Martin’s Bruce Jordan-Swilling as the only two New Orleans-area players to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark so far this season.