Patriots regroup, down East St. John

Published 4:06 am Saturday, September 21, 2013

Contributing Writer

LAPLACE – Perhaps the East St. John Wildcats were hoping to kick John Curtis while it was down Friday night.
Of course, “down” is a relative term when it comes to the Patriots.
Even after suffering its first loss since 2009 and breaking a 29-game winning streak last week, and playing without star wideout Malachi Dupre, Curtis showed why it is the powerhouse that it is by taking a 39-7 victory over East St. John in Reserve.
The Patriots used 10 different ball carriers and three different quarterbacks (who threw all of three passes), to roll up 276 yards of offense. George Moreira finished with the most yards of the 10, rushing for 81 yards on nine carries. Dontae Jones had two carries, both of which for touchdowns, and finished with 51 yards. Starting quarterback Abby Touzet also ran for two touchdowns. Myles Washington added a 47-yard touchdown in the third quarter. And Terrance Alexander put the exclamation point on the night with a 94-yard kickoff return that followed East St. John’s lone score.
Curtis did sputter on occasion, just not enough for the Wildcats to take advantage.
“It was a good win,” said Curtis coach J. T. Curtis. “Coming off of a very difficult game last week, we had a couple of guys that were beat up. But we did what a good team has to do, and that’s have guys step up and take their place and execute. And I thought we did a good job tonight against a good East St. John team.”
The Wildcats, who are still looking for their first win of the season as they head into district play next week at South Lafourche, lamented lost opportunities on Friday. East St. John turned the ball over four times, with two interceptions and two fumbles. And when they did have the ball, they could do very little with it. The Wildcats finished with four first downs, 104 rushing yards and 38 passing yards. Quarterback Xavier Lewis completed five of 12 passes.
But he and East St. John coach Phil Banko managed to find some positives in their team’s effort.
“Hey, No. 3 team in the nation, No. 6 team in the nation, No. 1 team in the nation, whatever you want to call them,” Banko said. “Who else is playing them? Our defense just got tired. We played well. I’m happy. We moved the ball early. I’m not upset. We’ve got to get ready for South Lafourche. This made us better. The punter got a lot of work.”
“It was just a hard learning experience,” Lewis said. “This will get us ready for district.”
Curtis jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. And after giving up East St. John’s lone score, put up 25 unanswered points
The early minutes of the game looked like the Wildcats may have caught Curtis on an off night. The Patriots took the opening kickoff but could not move the ball against a fired-up defense and were forced to punt from their own 29.
East St. John couldn’t move the ball either, however, and was forced to punt from its own 26. But the catch was muffed by Curtis at the East St. John 41-yard line and the Wildcats recovered. East St. John got to the Curtis 35-yard line where the drive stalled once more.
Then Curtis got going. The Patriots put together a nine play, 73 yard drive with Touzet scoring on a 1-yard keeper with 3:56 to play in the first quarter. After another East St. John punt, the Patriots needed only four plays to go 50 yards for their next score. Jones took an option pitch and ran it 27-yards for the score with 1:09 remaining in the quarter.
After an exchange of punts. East St. John finally put together a drive in the second quarter, by giving the Patriots a dose of their own veer on a short field. Starting at their own 42-yard line, the Wildcats went the distance on three plays. Lewis ran for 22 yards on the first play. He then pitched to Kyle Patterson, who gained 31. Then Nigel Anderson ran up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown with 7:50 remaining in the half.
But East St. John didn’t keep the momentum long. Curtis answered with Alexander’s 94 yard kickoff return to put the Patriots ahead 20-7. The point-after attempt failed.
East St. John’s next possession ended with an interception by Curtis’ Hunter Dale and the next ended in a fumble recovered by Curtis’ Kenny Young. The Patriots converted that one into a six play, 72-yard drive capped by Touzet’s 1-yard run with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats continued to hurt themselves in the second half. Their opening possession of the third quarter ended with a fumble recovered by Curtis’ Jonathan Carrillo at the 50-yard line. Two plays later, Washington broke free from the line for a 47-yard touchdown run with 8:01 on the clock.
The Patriots capped the scoring in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, when Jones scored on a 24-yard run.