Two-pointer lifts Higgins over St. James

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2008


Sports Editor

St. James’ opening series on Thursday night would be an unfortunate harbinger of things to come for the Wildcats.

After Kenny Zenon returned a kick 58 yards inside of the Higgins 40. But running back Jaleel Steib lost a fumble – and that’s just how things went all night in the Wildcats’ 8-7 loss to host Higgins at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.

There were a combined nine turnovers in the game – four by St. James (2-2), and five by Higgins (3-1). And St. James Coach Rick Gaille was just as perturbed about his team’s inability to cash in on the Hurricanes turnovers as he was his team’s inability to protect the football.

“We were horribly inconsistent offensively,” said Gaille, whose Wildcats entered the game ranked fourth in the Class 2A poll. “Higgins gave us every chance to get off to a good start. But we just matched them mistake for mistake.”

Those mistakes ate away at the Wildcats’ confidence as the game went on.

“As the game went on, Higgins gained more and more confidence,” Gaille said. “And as that went on, we played with less and less. I’m at a loss to explain why that was.”

Higgins quarterback Edward Bernard scored on a 1-yard keeper with 6:14 left in the third quarter, making it 7-6.

Then Higgins decided to go for the lead.

“That was anticipated,” said Gaille. “Their kicking has been inconsistent. So we felt that it would be coming.”

Running back Princeton White made good for Higgins, scoring the two-point conversion put Higgins ahead for good.

Higgins had other opportunities to score, but the Wildcats defense stepped up to the task.

Still, there were only so many times St. James could ward off Higgins, which often started its drives on a short field.

“The defense stopped them inside the 10 on a couple of drives,” said Gaille. “Still, it was like we were blocking their punches with our face.

“The only thing we were consistent at was making errors.”

Higgins’ Jarrion Walker intercepted Marcus Dumas’ final pass in the endzone to preserve the victory.

The Wildcats scored their lone touchdown in the first quarter, a 17-yard scoring strike to Alonzo Lewis.

Dumas finished 6-of-12 for 60 yards through the air. Steib led the team in rushing, carrying nine times for 51 yards.

Terrance Green had eight tackles to lead the St. James defense.

White and Leon Smith combined for 205 yards rushing to power the Hurricanes attack.