ESJ falls just short at Acadiana

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sports Editor

After Hurricanes Gustav and Ike forced the cancellation of its first two games of the season, East St. John found itself a most difficult opening draw: a road date at Acadiana, the top ranked team in Class 5A.

Short on practice time and game reps, the Wildcats were up to the task, but came up just short of victory.

Acadiana quarterback Louis Hollier’s 63-yard scoring pass to Blair Broussard late in the fourth quarter proved the game-winning points as the Rams edged East St. John, 28-21.

“My team gave me a Herculean effort,” said East St. John coach Larry Dauterive. “It was like two heavyweight fighters going at it all night long.”

Statistically, the teams were nearly mirror images. Acadiana (2-0) outgained East St. John (0-1) 248-240, while ESJ piled up 212 rushing yards to the Rams’ 175.

Running back Alex Singleton led the charge for ESJ, rushing 25 times for 166 yards.

“He had a very good night,” said Dauterive. “He had to make as lot of that happen on his own.”

 ESJ fullback Todd Muse added 57 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Three key special teams plays swung the momentum of the game at different times. Two went Acadiana’s way, which ultimately proved the difference.

In the second quarter, Acadiana took over deep in East St. John territory after Kalen Henderson received a low snap before attempting to punt. He would never get the chance, as he was tackled for a loss and a turnover on downs. Acadiana’s Dvan Alexander scored on a 1-yard run before halftime, and Hollier ran for the two-point conversion to erase a 14-6 East St. John lead.

The second key play in the kicking game gave Acadiana its first lead of the game. The Rams blocked a punt and Matt Crooks recovered the ball, returning it for a 26-yard score to make it 21-14 in the third quarter.

But East St. John answered quickly with its own special teams magic. Reynaldo Young’s returned the ensuing kickoff 97-yards for the game-tying score.

Hollier’s scoring pass to Broussard put Acadiana ahead by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but East St. John had its chance to answer. The Wildcats stopped Acadiana’s next drive at the ESJ 5, and the Wildcats drove down to the Acadiana 29 with a chance to pick up a fourth-and-three. Singleton was stopped short, and Acadiana was able to run out the clock.

(See ESJ, Page 15A)

“We drove it the length of the field, and we had a chance to tie it,” said Dauterive. “Someone missed a block, and they stopped us on fourth.

“There’s no such thing as a moral win, and we’re not satisfied. But we went toe to toe with number one. It was a valiant effort.”

Henderson gave East St. John its first lead of the game with a 1-yard run in the first quarter.

The Wildcats would still lead even after Hollier scored from 3-yards away, when Cody Mandell’s extra point kick failed.

Muse scored on a 21-yard run to put East St. John ahead 14-6 in the second quarter.