Wildcats at home Friday in regional playoff against 11-0 Blue Jays

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004



LAPLACE – Two weeks ago, the thought of East St. John taking on the undefeated Jesuit Blue Jays in the state playoffs might have thrown a scare into the Wildcats.

But a week into the 5A state playoffs, that way of thinking appears to have changed.

East St. John hosts Jesuit on Friday night in the regional round of the state football playoffs, and even though the unbeaten Blue Jays are coming to town as one of the state’s top ranked teams, the Wildcats are now showing the same championship form.

Kickoff on Friday night is set for 7 p.m.

While Jesuit rolled unbeaten to win the always tough New Orleans Catholic League, East St. John had struggled through some ups and downs during the regular season before taking a 7-3 record into their playoff opener.

The Cats were still good enough to make the state playoffs, which opened last week at St. Amant. But that’s where the team head coach Larry Dauterive has been looking for all year finally showed up.

“It was by far the best overall game we have played this year. Defense, special teams and offenseŠthey all played great,” Dauterive said.

The result was an impressive 54-13 playoff win for East St. John. But more importantly than just winning in the playoffs, it was the manner that the Wildcats did so which has the ESJ squad full of confidence heading into Friday’s clash with the Blue Jays.

“Right now we are confident we can win against anyone,” Dauterive said. “We’re one of the final 16 teams in the state, and if we win we will be in the final eight. There are no more pretenders now.”

The showdown on Friday has some special overtones, as it was Jesuit who beat East St. John in the playoffs last year, taking a 48-40 victory.

“Call it revenge, call it whatever you want, but we definitely are looking forward to playing them,” the ESJ mentor said. “They are a very strong team in all areas. They don’t beat themselves, and they take advantage of every opportunity you give them. But after the way we played against St. Amant, we are confident that we can win the game.”

While the East St. John offense has gotten rave reviews all year, led by All-American quarterback prospect Ryan Perrilloux, it had been the defense which had been criticized at times during the past year.

But last week against St. Amant, Dauterive made some great changes to his defense that paid big dividends.

“We put four guys on defense who had been just on offense before, and they made a lot of big plays,” he noted.

Additionally, the changes in the secondary enabled the Wildcat coaching staff to move defensive back Stefoin Francios to linebacker, where he made what Dauterive called “about 20 tackles.”

Joining the secondary as new faces were offensive starters Perilloux, along with Ricky Dixon and Joshuelle Tuesno. Carey Raymond also contributed by playing defensive end.

Against St. Amant, the Wildcats gave up just over 200 yards of offense, while Perilloux was directing the usual potent attack that rolled up 575 yards offense. The Wildcat QB scored four touchdowns, including a 24 yard interception return to paydirt.

Anthony Scelfo will lead the Jesuit offense, which is solid through the air and on the ground.

“This is not the same team we played last year, but they are a very balanced team in all phases,” Dauterive added. “We’ve got to be at our best. But after the way we played last week, we’re confident we can win the game.”

Jesuit is coming off a 34-13 victory over Southwood in its bi-district playoff opener.