Holy Cross coach Guy LeCompte knew if his team’s defense was to return to its stingy early-season form, the solution might come from his offense.
Friday night, the Tigers’ offense helped stop a two-game losing streak, doing just enough to enable Holy Cross to take a 7-3 victory over Brother Martin in a District 9-5A game at Tad Gormley Stadium.
After allowing only 20 points in its first four games, the Tigers allowed 67 points in two district losses to Jesuit (28-7) and Rummel (39-3). In both of those games, the Holy Cross defense was on the field for more than 70 plays.
“The offense didn’t help our defense the last couple of weeks,” LeCompte said. “Tonight we did have some production offensively, and we could have had more. Turnovers did not help us.”
But quarterback John Dade Wooton, who made his first start against Martin, did enough.
Wooton teamed with junior receiver Tyler Kirkwood for the game’s only touchdown on a spectacular 80-yard pass midway through the second period.
Kirkwood, tightly covered on the play, caught the perfectly placed pass in full stride near the sideline at the Martin 43-yard line, then stepped out of a tackle for the score that gave Holy Cross (5-2, 2-2) a 7-0 lead at intermission.
Wooten finished 16-of-21 passing for 192 yards.
“It was a solid defensive game,” Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis said. “Both defensive teams played very hard. Give Holy Cross credit; they came away with a hell of a win.”
Brother Martin was ranked No.8 in The Advocate’s Super 10 Large School poll. The Crusaders’ two previous losses this season were to No. 1 John Curtis and No. 4 Warren Easton.
Both teams had scoring opportunities that fizzled in the first half.
Holy Cross’ opening drive moved from the Tigers’ 29 to the Crusaders’ 5, but Jaden Handy fumbled into the end zone for a a touchback.
“The fumble in the end zone didn’t help us, but I’m proud of the way our guys played,” Lecompte said. “The effort and our character showed tonight.”
Early in the second quarter, a 65-yard drive ended with a missed 43-yard Holy Cross field-goal attempt.
The Crusaders’ Jack Landry made a 39-yard field goal early in the game, but he was roughed on the attempt, and Bonis elected to take the 15-yard penalty. With a first down at the 12, a bad snap resulted in a 19-yard loss, and Landry then missed a 27-yard attempt.
Late in the third period, Brother Martin drove from the 50 to the Holy Cross 4-yard line before a pressured bad pitch on a third and goal resulted in a 10-yard loss. Landry kicked a 31-yard field goal for Brother Martin’s only points with 3:16 remaining in the third period.
Brother Martin lost quarterback Drew Martin to a leg injury with 8:51 left in the game.
“Looks like we’ve lost him for the rest of the year, and that’s a big loss,” Bonis said.