ESJ contains Wildcats

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 30, 2000

DESTREHAN – After an explosive first half that saw the teams combine for 31 points and 405 yards in offense, East St. John put its District 7-5A gameat Destrehan Friday night in the hands of its defense.

The defense delivered, stopping Destrehan on eight second half possessions to preserve a 17-14 victory, East St. John’s first against the Wildcats since1995.

East St. John improved to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in district play.Destrehan fell to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in district.

East St. John finished with 357 yards in offense. Darwin Pittman completed12-of-29 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Wade Walker had five ofthe catches for 126 yards and a score. Raydel Patterson had four catchesfor 39 yards. Mervin Williams added three catches for 75 yards and atouchdown. The Wildcats also ran the ball 37 times for 109 yards. ChuckieBurl led the way with 72 yards on 19 carries. Burl also threw a 35-yardtouchdown pass in the second quarter.

Destrehan had 202 yards in offense. Randy Roth completed 12-of-33 passesfor 175 yards and two touchdowns. Fred Smith had six catches for 150yards and a touchdown. Craig Eugene caught three passes for 30 yards and ascore. Destrehan ran the ball 16 times for 19 yards, led by Dechad Wardwith 27 yards on 10 carries.

East St. John had taken a 17-14 lead late in the first half on a 20-yard fieldgoal by Chance Blank. In the second half, Destrehan could not get any closerthan its own 40, doing so twice. Brandon Mason ended the Wildcats’ lastthreat with a leaping interception at midfield with 1:43 left in the game.

The Destrehan defense also came up big in the second half, stopping East St.

John three times inside the 20-yard line. The first came after KirstonPittman intercepted Roth at the Destrehan 34 and returned it to the 24 early in the third quarter. But Destrehan held, forcing East St. John to punt.East St. John took over at the Destrehan 46 on its next possession after a27-yard punt return by Mason. The Wildcats drove to the 2 behind a 14-yardscramble by Pittman and a 14-yard run by Burl. But Destrehan again held,stopping Tremaine Moore three straight times and forcing Pittman to throw incomplete on fourth down.

East St. John got the ball back at the Destrehan 21 but again failed to getthe ball in the end zone as Josh Johnson tipped away a pass in the end zone.

East St. John rallied from a 14-0 deficit with 17 unanswered points in thesecond quarter. With the score tied at 14 with 7:21 left in the half, East St.John began a drive at its 11-yard line. Pittman hit Patterson for 12 yardsand followed with a 27-yard pass over the middle to Walker for a first down at the Destrehan 49.

Three plays later, Pittman connected with Williams for 11 yards to the 33.

Passes of eight yards to Louis Gardner and 11 yards to Walker gave the Wildcats a first down at the 11. Burl then went around left end for eightyards to the 3. Destrehan held and Blank came in to hit the 20-yard fieldgoal, giving East St. John a 17-14 lead with 38 seconds left in the half.Trailing 14-0 late in the first quarter, Michael Brown intercepted a halfback pass by Richard Jones at the Destrehan 45 and returned it to the 34. On thesecond play of the second quarter after an offsides penalty, East St. Johntried a bit of trickery of its own. Burl took a pitch, stop and tossed a 35-yard pass to Walker in the right corner of the end zone for the score. Blankadded the extra point to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 11:46 left in the half.

East St. John held Destrehan on its next possession and took over at its 36.After Burl carried for seven yards, Pittman lofted a pass to Williams in the left flat. Williams took in the ball, broke a tackle at the 30 and dragged adefender into the end zone to complete the 57-yard play. Blank hit the extrapoint to tie the score at 14 with 9:35 left.

Destrehan struck early after Quentin Bradley recovered a sky kick on the opening kickoff at the East St. John 38. Roth hit Smith on the right side for19 yards for a first down at the 27.

After an exchange of penalties, including a roughing-the-passer call against East St. John, brought the ball to the 15, Roth rolled left and found Eugene inthe left side of the end zone for the score. Jonathan Scifres added the extrapoint to give Destrehan a 7-0 lead with 9:33 left in the first quarter.

Two possessions later, East St. John drove to the Destrehan 10 behind an 8-yard run by Burl, a 17-yard scramble by Pittman and an 11-yard carry by Williams. But on third down at the 10, Pittman’s pass over the middle wastipped by Cory Faucheux and intercepted in the end zone by Johnson.

Destrehan struck quickly after the turnover as Roth floated a pass to Smith in the right flat. Smith ran under the ball at midfield and took it the rest ofthe way to complete the 80-yard play. Scifres converted the extra point tomake it 14-0 with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.

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