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Surprising Wildcats climbing to top of district

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 30, 1998

RESERVE – The surprising East St. John Wildcats will be looking to go 4-0for the third straight year as they host Terrebonne Friday night in District 6-5A play. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Joe Keller Stadium.After the loss of quarterback Franklin McKinnis, running back Juan Reese, receiver Kerry Watkins and offensive lineman Corey Sewell from an offense that averaged over 40 points per game last year, many thought this would be a rebuilding year for East St. John. Instead, the Wildcats aretied for the District 6-5A lead with a 3-0 overall record and 1-0 district record.

The latest surprise came this past Friday as the Wildcats traveled to Galliano and upset district favorite South Lafourche, 35-13. East St. Johnjumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back.

Leading the charge for the Wildcats has been quarterback Floyd Smith who has picked up where McKinnis left off. Smith completed 10-of-17 passesagainst the Tarpons for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Smith leads theRiver Parishes with 26 completions in 51 attempts for 535 yards and six touchdowns.

Chris Bush and Roydel Williams have been Smith’s main targets with Bush catching five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns Friday, giving him three scores on the year. Williams has gained over 250 yards through theair for three touchdowns. Brandon August and Chuckie Burl have led therushing attack.

The defense has also been a major factor in the 3-0 start. The Wildcatsheld South Lafourche to 243 total yards and forced four turnovers. GregGathers returned one of the turnovers for a score.

The Wildcats will be facing another surprising team this week in Terrebonne. The Tigers, predicted to finish in the bottom half of District6-5A, come into the game with a 2-2 record, 0-1 in district play.

Terrebonne is coming off a 21-20 loss to Central Lafourche in its district opener. The Tigers had sandwiched wins against DeLaSalle and SouthTerrebonne around a loss to Ellender in its first three games.

The Tigers are led by running back Claude Johnson who has rushed for over 200 yards this season. Johnson rushed for over 1,500 yards and 14touchdowns for a team that went 2-8 last season. He will be rushingbehind an offensive line that remains intact from last season. Tight endPaul Bordelon and split end Alton Diggs also return.

The defense has a group of good but inexperienced players. Four startersreturn led by defensive back Nick Kennedy and linebacker Keith Hatch.

East St. John defeated Terrebonne, 49-7, last season. McKinnis threw twotouchdown passes, one to Williams, Reese ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns and Alex Edwards returned a fumble for another score.

East St. John hosts H.L. Bourgeois next Friday while Terrebonne returnshome to play South Lafourche.

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