Wildcats defeat Lions on final play

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 16, 1998

JERRY FROEBA / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

RESERVE – Trailing 17-14 with one second left in its bi-district game against Covington Friady night, East St. John faced a first-and-goal at theLions’ 1-yard line.

East St. John coach Ronnie Stephens decided to go for the win, callingquarterback Floyd Smith’s number. Smith crossed the goal line on a sneakover the block of center Kenny Bossier, giving the Wildcats a 20-17 win.

“I gave a second and third effort to get in,” Smith said after the game.

East St. John (8-2) advances to the regional playoffs where it will hostTerrebonne. Covington finished the season at 8-3.The Wildcats’ winning drive started at their 35 yard line with 53 seconds left and no time outs. The Wildcats had used up their timeouts as thedefense came up big, forcing the Lions to punt, setting up the Wildcats’ last drive.

On first down, Smith connected with tight end Jerome Anderson on a 26- yard completion. Anderson was able to get out of bounds after making anover-the-shoulder catch. Smith came back to Anderson for 8 more yards tothe Lions’ 32, but Anderson could not get out of bounds to stop the clock.

With time winding down, Smith hit Chris Bush for a first down at the Lion 26, stopping the clock momentarily. The Wildcats lined up as the clockstarted to roll.

Smith lofted a pass to Roy Del Williams who made a spectacular catch at the Lion 1-yard line. Williams went out of bounds with one second left onthe clock, forcing Stephens’ decision.

“I was trying to make the catch and get in the end zone,” Williams said after the game.

Smith completed 12-of-27 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns and Williams had five catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

The Lions got on the board first with a 65-yard, four-play drive, scoring on a 31-yard run by Mike Senac. Senac finished the game with 106 yards on27 carries.

East St. John came right back with a 60-yard drive in seven plays to tiethe score at 7. Chuckie Burl rushed for 33 yards on the drive. The scorecame on a 28-yard pass from Smith to Williams.

Covington roared back, driving 65 yards to the Wildcat 5. But the Wildcatsstiffened, forcing a 28-yard field goal, giving the Lions a 10-7 lead.

East St. John regained the lead at 14-10 by driving 96 yards in 10 plays.Smith and Williams connected on two big pass plays on the drive, one for 45 yards and another for 22 yards and a touchdown.

Early in the third quarter, the Wildcat defense stopped a fourth-and-1 try by the Lions, giving the offense a first down at the Covington 37. TheWildcats were unable to move and gave the ball back to the Lions.

Covington drove 80 yards in 11 plays to retake the lead at 17-14 with 3:37 left in the game. The touchdown came on a fourth-and-1 gamble atthe East St. John 44-yard line. Quarterback Brad Fussell found a wide openBrandon Talley for the score.

Terron Charles returned the ensuing kickoff to the Lions’ 38-yard line with 3:28 left. The wildcats moved to a fourth-and-9 at the Lion 26, anddecided to try a 43-yard field goal. William Hogan’s kick was wide rightand left the wildcats trailing 17-14 with 1:25 left in the game.

The Wildcat defense stuffed the Lions on three straight plays, forcing a punt and setting the stage for the last second heroics.

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