Wildcats rout Bonnabel

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 23, 2013


LAPLACE — For a coach that has built his program upon the strength of his offensive and defensive lines, East St. John’s Phillip Banko couldn’t help but be pleased at the effort his Wildcats put forth Thursday in its preseason scrimmage with Bonnabel.
The Wildcats’ first team dominated a scrimmage that focused primarily on redzone and short yardage work as ESJ came away with a 59-19 victory over the Bruins.
East St. John scored 30 unanswered points to begin the scrimmage. The highlight of the night for the Wildcats may have been in goalline drill, where the team had four plays from the 4-yard line and scored four consecutive touchdowns – on a running play, a quarterback keeper, a fade pass and a flawlessly executed option play between Xavier Lewis and Nigel Anderson.
“I was extremely happy (with the team’s line play),” said Banko. “Everyone wants to talk about passing drills … but we had an excellent offseason in the weight room. I thought we executed extremely well on both sides.”
The Wildcats struck first in the opening portion of the scrimmage, where each team had 15 plays starting from its own 30. Anderson scored the first points of the night, taking a 15-yard shovel pass from Gerald Munoz for a score.
Then came redzone drills, where ESJ kicked the scoring into high gear. Munoz fired a pretty touchdown pass to Jarrod Jackson to make it 13-0, then slung a comeback pass to Xavier Lewis for another score, making it 20-0.
Lino Barrera’s 33-yard field goal made it 23-0 on ESJ’s third possession. Then, in Lewis’ first play of the drill at quarterback, he rolled out and lofted a ball over two defenders to an open Kyle Patterson in the back of the endzone to make it 30-0.
Munoz and Jacob McNeill connected later on ESJ’s final redzone drill touchdown of the day.
“It’s awesome,” said Munoz of his receiving targets. “I know I can throw to any one of these guys and depend on them to take it in for a touchdown. I can rely on all of them.’
“We knew we’d come out and have a good night tonight. But we’ve gotta take this and keep getting better from it.”
Banko was pleased with his senior quarterback’s performance.
“He’s a blue-collar quarterback,” said Banko. “We know he can get the job done. He gets the ball to our playmakers and does an excellent job of it.’
“Gerald’s not the kid that a lot of people are gonna pick for their team, but  he’s a real senior leader. He’s extremely coachable. And you saw some of the good things he can do out there tonight.”
Defensively, the Wildcats shined as brightly as the offense, allowing Bonnabel just one first team score, coming in the redzone drills.
“I felt like we put in a good night of work,” said Banko. “Now, we look to the jamboree where we’re gonna face a very good, well-coached team (in West St. John). We’ll be ready and we’re looking forward to it.”