De’Jon “Scoota” Harris did just about everything for the John Ehret football team this season.
Harris, a linebacker committed to Arkansas who has filled in as Ehret’s punter and return specialist, also spent the past 14 games playing quarterback.
But in the final start of his high school career, Harris finally hit a wall as the fill-in architect of a makeshift offense. The Patriots sputtered to a 46-12 loss to Zachary in the Class 5A nonselect state championship game Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“Zachary did a good job,” Ehret coach Corey Lambert said after the loss, his team’s first since Sept. 18.
“We turned the ball over. Our defense was on the field too much. We weren’t moving the ball or sustaining drives. We had a lot of miscues. Our guys fought hard until the end, but it was probably our worst game of the season.”
Ehret stood tough in the first half, scoring twice in the second quarter on touchdown runs from Juwan Leonard and Harris. That left the Patriots facing a 13-12 deficit at halftime.
The game’s back-and-forth rhythm resembled a title bout. But if that’s the case, then somebody forgot to inform the Ehret offense that the third-quarter bell had rung.
Ehret mustered just 123 yards and was shut out in the second half. Harris and Leonard threw interceptions, and an inability to capitalize on defensive stands or keep pace with Lindsey Scott Jr. and the high-voltage Zachary offense eventually took their toll.
“I told our kids before they came that whoever handled this situation better was going to win this game,” Lambert said. “Those guys handled it a lot better than we did, and they won the game.”
Ehret’s starting quarterback, Caron Baham, tore his ACL in the season opener against Riverside. The Missouri commitment was a captain for Saturday night’s game but was forced to watch from the sideline as his teammates struggled to find any offensive rhythm.
Lambert is not a fan of playing the “what if?” game, but he endorsed Harris as his quarterback and stuck with him. After all, Harris directed Ehret to eight consecutive wins leading to the title game, the Marrero school’s first since 1985.
“De’Jon Harris stepping in has done exactly what he needed him to do,” Lambert said of his do-it-all senior, who finished 10-of-15 for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added 59 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
“I don’t go back to the past,” Lambert added. “ ‘Scoota’ took us to where we haven’t been in 30 years. He’s done a great job at linebacker, punter and punt returner. (If Baham were back), he would’ve been a receiver, and I would’ve stuck with ‘Scoota.’ ”