Wildcats bash Braves

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 15, 2002


RESERVE – The East St. John High School football team stepped up to a 5-1 record Friday night after out-muscling the H.L. Bourgeois High School Braves, 28-7, in a defensive struggle.

Pounding out the yards offensively for the ESJ Wildcats was junior tailback Derron Thomas, who picked up 116 yards in 18 carries and the contest’s opening touchdown.

Reggie Joseph took the opening kickoff up to the Wildcats 46-yard line, but a clipping call sent the home team back five yards. Thomas then burst through the HLB defense for a seven-yard pickup.

A quick pass from ESJ starting quarterback Ryan Perrilloux to wide receiver Lyle Grey pushed the ball five yards inside Braves territory. From that point, it was Thomas all the way on seven-consecutive carries, pounding his way, inch by inch, to the opening score from the one-foot mark. The PAT by Alex McCollum made it 7-0 with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.

The kickoff to the Braves’ Matthew Marks set up H.L. Bourgeois at their own 27-yard line. Then, on the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Chris Detillier swept right and left the Wildcats gasping, as he galloped 73 yards for a touchdown.

The PAT by Carlos Navaros knotted the score at 7-7 with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter.

And that was it, as far as scoring for the Braves, with the nearest chance on several long passes either thrown high or batted down by the Wildcats defense.

“The defense was phenomenal,” ESJ head coach Larry Dauterive said.

Indeed, that was all the scoring for the first quarter, as the Wildcats’ next possession ended after five plays with a fumble which handed the ball back to H.L. Bourgeois’ Andrew Cunningham at their own 33-yard line with 4:38 remaining in the quarter.

It was one of those points Dauterive referred to during post-game interviews where “we kept stopping ourselves. Three or four times, we should’ve had it, but we didn’t hit on all cylinders.”

The game dragged during this time, up and down, each possession picking up some yardage but ending on punts in a muddy defensive struggle.

First, the Braves moved the ball after their fumble recovery backwards five yards before the snap for the punt sailed over the punter’s head and he managed a fast-kick from the endzone to their own 21-yard line.

Even with that field position, East St. John was unable to punch it through and gave up possession on downs at the Braves’ 16-yard line.

H.L. Bourgeois only managed to creep five yards before their next punt, this to mid-field, where the Wildcats took possession as the second quarter began but went backwards due to penalties. Their punt set the Braves again back to their own 19-yard line.

This H.L. Bourgeois drive gained but three yards before a punt to their own 40-yard line. From there, the Wildcats again struggled with penalties and loss-down plays before yet another punt to the Braves’ 21-yard line, from where an illegal block call set them back to the 16-yard stripe.

After more struggles to no avail, H.L. Bourgeois finally punted to the Wildcats’ 33-yard line. From there, one play broke open the deadlock, a long, sailing pass to Reggie Joseph, who snagged the ball and fell into the right corner of the endzone with 2:38 remaining to the first half. McCollum’s PAT set up the Wildcats with a 14-7 lead. With the game broken open, on the first play from scrimmage on the Braves’ 31-yard line, a fumble ended up in junior fullback David Sharlow’s hands at the Braves’ 27 with 2:13 remaining in the first half.

Three plays later, Ryan Perrilloux romped in on a keeper from one yard out and with McCollum’s PAT, made it 21-7 with 1:19 remaining in the half.

Only two brief highlights remained to the first half – when Braves’ quarterback Detillier was blindsided in the backfield by an untouched senior defensive end Vegas Franklin; and when senior free safety Jarrett Hawkins intercepted the Braves’ “Hail Mary” pass on the last play of the half.

The third quarter dragged endlessly, neither side able to score, shoving each other along the increasingly muddy field. The only real highlight of the quarter included senior Travis Joseph’s fumble recovery near mid-field, midway during the period.

During the fourth quarter, however, action begin to pick up as the Braves battled to put more points on the board while the Wildcats worked to increase the lead.

East St. John was in the midst of a 57-yard drive which began on their own 30-yard line. However, despite the energies of Perrilloux and Thomas, penetrating to H.L. Bourgeois’ 13-yard line, the Braves took over on down with another scoring opportunity missed.

With a negative-one yardage on that drive, H.L. Bourgeois punted to just across mid-field and East St. John again powered its way down field, this time penetrating to just inches from the endzone, where the ball was shaken loose from the carrier and the Braves fell on it in the endzone with 6:04 remaining in the game.

That brought the ball out to the Braves’ 20, but H.L. Bourgeois again lost yards and punted again to just across mid-field. This time, with junior quarterback Derron Thomas at the helm, and with senior tailback Damon Pittman romping and stomping, the Wildcats swept to the endzone in six plays covering 55 yards.

Pittman scored from nine yards out with 1:21 left in the game and with McCollum’s PAT, posted 28-7 on the scoreboard.

“Was it a good game?” Dauterive asked. “No, we played like crap. We were inept. We killed ourselves on penalties.”

East St. John had nine penalties, and gave up 45 yards in the game, and also fumbled a total of six times, losing two.

“Clearly, we’re better, but before the half, we should have had two more touchdowns. Physically, the best team won. Offensively, we’re close to busting plays again,” Dauterive said.

Dauterive praised the Braves for never giving up, playing every play hard, and he expects the same from Thibodaux High School next week.