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Cardiac Cats host surprising Tigers

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

RESERVE – Football is a game of inches.

Last Friday night it was also a game of seconds.

Less than 12 inches and one second would determine whether East St. Johnwould move on the regional playoffs or have its season completed against Covington in the bi-district playoffs.

Faced with that scenario and trailing 17-14, East St. John coach RonnieStephens decided to forego a field goal and went for the win. QuarterbackFloyd Smith made the move pay off by sneaking in for the win.

Smith had just driven the Wildcats 65 yards in 53 seconds to set up the winning score, hitting Jerome Anderson, Chris Bush and Roy Del Williams with key passes.

“The tie never entered my mind,” Stephens said. “I never consideredkicking the field goal. We had moved the football the length of the fieldand had them on their heels. It gave us the opportunity to win the gameright then instead of going into overtime and have everybody get settled.”But it was the defense that put the Wildcats in the position to win, holding the Lions to three-and-out after a missed field goal by East St.

John with 1:25 left.

“The defense gave us the ball back,” Stephens said. “That is what won thegame.”Smith completed 12 of his 27 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Williams caught five passes for 137 yards and two scores.

East St. John will face a familiar opponent in the regional playoffs inDistrict 6-5A foe Terrebonne. Terrebonne (8-3) made the playoffs as awildcard and upset District 7-5A champion Bonnabel, 33-22, last Friday.

East St. John defeated Terrebonne 21-12, scoring 21 points in the thirdquarter, in the fifth week of the season. But the Tigers have been thehottest team in the district since then, winning six straight games including victories over district champions Destrehan and Bonnabel.

Tory Brown was making his first start at quarterback in that game and has gotten better every week. Claude Johnson, a 1,500-yard rusher a year ago,had another solid year and is one of the best backs in the district.

“They have great personnel and they don’t beat themselves,” Stephens said. “They are a good, solid football team with good athletes and are wellcoached. They are going to come prepared and they will have a greatincentive because we beat them the first time we played.”Stephens said the key to the game for his team is holding onto the football and controlling Johnson.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is 7 p.m. at Joe Keller Stadium.Friday’s winner will advance to the quarterfinals where they will play the winner of the game between top-ranked West Monroe and Barbe.

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