Wildcats outrun Patterson, 38-33

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2009



Patterson’s Kenny Hilliard entered Joe Keller Stadium on Friday night as one of the country’s highest profile prep running backs.

East St. John’s Reynaldo Young ensured, however, that Hilliard wouldn’t be the most productive back on the field – at least for one night.

Young piled up 230 yards on 16 carries, including touchdown runs of 70 and 75 yards, to pace East St. John (1-0) in a 38-33 track meet of a victory over the Lumberjacks (0-1).

Including kick returns, Young topped 300 total yards on the night.

Hilliard, meanwhile, was no slouch. The son of former Saints rusher Dalton Hilliard rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Patterson attack.

However, only four of those yards came in the second half.

“He wasn’t at full speed in the second half,” said East St. John coach Larry Dauterive. “I think he cramped up a little. Before that, you needed Kryptonite to stop him.”

But he was plenty impressed nonetheless by the display Hilliard put on in the first half.

“He’s as good as I’ve seen on a high school field in 20 years. He really reminds me of Adrian Peterson in high school,” Dauterive said, referencing the Minnesota Vikings’ Pro Bowler. “Like a man among boys.”

Of course, at the same time…

“Reynaldo outrushed him,” said Dauterive. “And he had a long run called back due to penalty. When he plays like that, you have to believe we’ll win plenty games.”

It was Patterson, though, that struck first to take the early lead. Hilliard scored on an 11-yard pass from Mick Nolan to make it 7-0 in the first quarter.

ESJ responded via Young’s first long scoring jaunt, this one from 70 yards away. That tied the game. Then ESJ quarterback Kalen Henderson – who rushed for 170 yards and three scores on the night – took in a score from 36 yards away to put the Wildcats ahead 14-7.

Hilliard joined in the distance scoring fun, breaking away for a 65-yard touchdown near the end of the first quarter. It made it 14-13 after the point after kick was no good.

Hilliard added his third and fourth touchdowns of the half – from five yards and one yard away, respectively – to go ahead 27-14 in the second quarter.

“I didn’t know how our young kids would react to being down two touchdowns,” said Dauterive.

The Wildcats set up an answer through the air. Under pressure, Henderson scrambled to buy time and dumped a pass off to Andrew Taylor, who ran 60-yards to the Patterson 11. Henderson then threw a fade to Dhaquille Williams for an 11-yard score that made it 27-20 right before halftime, as the extra point kick attempt was blocked.

Then on the third play of the second half, Young got loose for a 75-yard touchdown.

“That was the turning point, no doubt,” said Dauterive. “The flurry before the half gave us momentum going into the second half. Then we’re able to score quickly and establish ourselves.”

ESJ would outscore Patterson 18-0 in the third quarter, as Henderson added rushing scores of one and 10 yards to make it 38-27.

With Nolan forced out of the game with a concussion, Patterson struggled to keep up – but a late rally made the Wildcats and their fans sweat a bit. In the final minutes, backup quarterback Justice Jones hit Josh Jones for a 70-yard score, and Patterson followed up by recovering an onside kick after pulling within five.

But Patterson couldn’t convert on any of its last gasp attempts into the endzone, and ESJ moved on with a victory.

“Patterson’s a strong team. They’ll go far,” said Dauterive. “But right now, we’re 1-0.”