ESJ mauls Bearcats, 45-7
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Ruston’s two intercetpions, two fumbles negate statistical dead heat
By STEVE AICARD
RESERVE-“This is a really good team we played tonight,” Coach Larry Dauterive said Friday night after the Wildcats (9-1) defeated the Bearcats (7-5), by a 45-7 score in the regional playoffs of the 5A football brackets. “Ruston is one of the best teams that we’ve played all year. They’re more physical than anyone we’ve played.”
The enormous Bearcat defensive line, led by LSU signee Mario Hill, held the explosive Wildcat transfer running back Johnny Owen to a mere 52 yards and one touchdown in the first half and allowed a total of only 105 yards with two rushing touchdowns for the game.
But it was the dominating Wildcat defense, led by Antoine Fisher, Steven Jackson, and Corwin Ellis, that stepped up causing three turnovers and scoring 14 points to seal this victory for ESJ. Lacardio Joseph and Stefon Francois both made big contributions, each returning interceptions for touchdowns.
“It felt good running down the sideline with no one being able to stop me from scoring.” Joseph said of his 79-yard touchdown return.
The first half seemed to show that the game was a clashing of two defensive giants, but in the end it seemed that ESJ had more weapons.
Bearcat, Marcus Freeman intercepted a Johnnie Thiel pass intended for Ricky Dixon, only to have A’Darryl Williams recover a fumble from Ruston’s Camp McCormick. That set up an Owen four-yard touchdown run, with 7:48 left in the quarter. Radi Jabouri’s PAT was good making the score, 7-0 ESJ.
With 11:34 remaining in the half, Joseph returned an interception 79 yards scoring the second Wildcat touchdown. Jabouri’s PAT was wide left, making the score 13-0. But Ruston answered back quickly, when Ben Alsup connected with Nathan Burks on a 50-yard pass that set up Ruston’s only touchdown, which came with 8:59 remaining in the half on a Byron Wilson six-yard rush. John Hinton’s PAT was good, making the score, 13-7 ESJ.
Then, with 2:58 left in the half, Thiel increased the Wildcat lead, tossing an 81-yard pass to Louis Lee for a touchdown. ESJ failed on their two-point conversion, leaving the score at 19-7.
The Bearcats, unable to move the ball on their next possession, were forced to kick from deep in their own territory. Ellis iced the Bearcat’s chances in the first half with a block of the punt, which rolled out of the end zone for a Wildcat safety. With 1:37 left in the half, the score was now ESJ 21, Ruston 7.
The Bearcats seemed to implode in the second half, as three of their players were ejected from the game from unsportsmanship conduct. ESJ extended their lead with 7:21 left in the third quarter when Francois returned an interception for a touchdown. Jabouri’s PAT was good, making the score 28-7.
Owen started the fourth quarter off by scoring a touchdown from 34-yards out, with 11:51 remaining in the game. Jabouri’s PAT was good, making the score 35-7. Dixon took the ball snap for the remaining of the game,
(See PLAYOFFS, page 12A)