Wildcats survive slop, EA

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Through three quarters and change, an East St. John team that entered team Friday night averaging 37 points and over 400 yards of offense per game was stuck in very unfamiliar territory – trailing 3-0, on a muddy field, at East Ascension.

“If we don’t score a touchdown,” East St. John coach Larry Dauterive told his team at halftime, “then we just don’t deserve to win.”

But the No. 8 ranked Wildcats showed how deserving they were. ESJ drove 70 yards to score with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and would add another touchdown before things were done to move to 2-0 in District 6-5A with a 14-3 win in Gonzales.

Kalen Henderson’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Dhaquille Williams proved the deciding points on a night where field conditions put not only points, but yards, at a premium.

Dauterive noted that the field conditions were “the worst I’ve seen in 43 years of coaching.”

“But it was the same for both teams,” he said. “We didn’t make the plays we were supposed to. We missed some opportunities. But clearly our defense rose to the occasion.”

East St. John’s potent offense mustered only 33 yards in the first three quarters of action. The Wildcats (6-1, 2-0) would finish with 116. Conversely, East Ascension (3-4, 0-2) finished with 95 yards.

It was the second straight week EA challenged a top 10 ranked district opponent, a week after taking a 2-2 tie into the locker room against Hahnville.

The Spartans took a 3-0 lead when Michael Stafford hit a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

“They thought it would be enough,” said Dauterive. “The way both teams struggled to move the ball, the quagmire we played in…they settled on kicking from the five, because it looked like three points very well could win it.”

It looked like it would, perhaps, until the fourth quarter. Reynaldo Young and Williams each ran for key gains before Henderson’s go-ahead strike to Williams.

“We struggled all night, but we earned that score,” said Dauterive.

Later in the game, East Ascension forced an ESJ punt. Henderson booted a ball that would travel 70 yards before being downed inside the EA 3.

Then Floyd Raven struck – the Wildcat defensive back intercepted a pass by EA’s Chance Rivett, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown. It was one of Rivett’s three interceptions on the night.

It was the first defensive touchdown of the season for ESJ, effectively ending the Spartan threat for an upset.

“Our defense won it for us this time,” said Dauterive. “We’re still waiting for that game where we put all three phases together. But I’m tickled to death to be six and one right now.”