Wildcats to face Patriots’‘A-Game’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011



RESERVE — East St. John faces off with John Ehret in the District 8-5A opener for both teams Thursday night and the teams are coming from opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Wildcats are 3-2 and riding some positive momentum after consecutive wins over Parkview Baptist and Capitol. Ehret, meanwhile, is in an unfamiliar 0-4 hole, after losing to teams boasting a combined 16-4 record.

To East St. John coach Phillip Banko, that 0-4 record is an eyesore. He doesn’t see it indicative of a bad Patriots team that wants its first win. He sees a talented squad that needs to win if it wants to return to the postseason, one that will be playing with a sense of desperation.

“Their backs are against the wall,” Banko said. “They need to win three of the next five to get to the playoffs. So on Thursday, they’ll be playing their A-game. Ehret’s got a very good football coach, a very good tradition and a lot of very good players. They’ve got the hosses on defense to cover and the hosses to blitz. That’s always a big concern.”

The game’s kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Hoss Memstas Stadium in Harvey.

Ehret (0-4) has lost games on the road at West Jefferson, South Lafourche and Jesuit; it’s dropped its lone home game to Brother Martin. It had a bye in week one.

The Patriots were 3-7 a year ago.

This will be the first game between the teams as district foes, after ESJ, Destrehan and Hahnville moved out of the district with St. Amant, Dutchtown and East Ascension with realignment.

The Wildcats will be tasked with stopping an Ehret spread captained by quarterback Mike Alexander. 6-foot-2 receiver Jermel Cleveland is one of his top targets, and ESJ will have to find a way to keep him contained.

In its 41-20 loss to Jesuit last week, Ehret fell behind 27-0 early. Ehret was able to move the ball as the game went on, totaling 380 yards after a slow start.

“They move the ball on offense,” said Banko. “And it’s not like they’ve been playing the little sisters of the poor.”

ESJ (3-2) forced three Capitol (1-4) turnovers in the third quarter to help themselves in putting the game away Friday.

Darion Monroe spread the football around, completing passes to seven different receivers. Deszmann Broussard was the leader in that department, catching three passes for 84 yards and a score. Monroe finished his night an efficient 10 of 13 for 179 yards and a score through the air, while also making an impact with his legs, rushing for two more scores.

Running back Jacob McNeill added his name to the list of scorers this season from ESJ’s deep and talented backfield and he did it in a hurry, scoring on an 83-yard run in the first quarter.

Next came Broussard’s biggest play of the night, a 54-yard scoring catch from Monroe than put the Wildcats ahead by two touchdowns, 13-0. Monroe added a 1-yard rushing score in the second quarter, followed by a conversion run by Jalen Kenner to make it 21-0.

Kenner found the endzone early in the second half on a 4-yard run that followed a Rendell Delay fumble recovery deep in Capitol territory. Then Delay intercepted a pass at the Capitol 11 and took it the distance to put ESJ ahead 35-0. Monroe rounded out the Wildcats’ scoring on a 14-yard touchdown run that came after Jared Campbell recovered another Capitol fumble.