Wildcats clinch share of district, Lewis explodes for 5 TDs in 49-21 win

Published 4:40 am Saturday, November 2, 2013


LAPLACE – After all of the trials and tribulations brought upon by Hurricane Issac, a little over a year later, the East St. John Wildcats can call themselves district champions.
ESJ clinched at least a share of the District 7-5A crown Friday night via its 49-21 victory on the road over Terrebonne, setting up a chance to win the outright crown next week if the Wildcats can defeat Destrehan.
“It’s beautiful,” said East St. John coach Phillip Banko. “It shows the resiliency of this football team. This means a lot to us, and it’s a credit to every single player on this team and every person on our staff, the work they’ve put in dating back to last year. A year ago, we were maybe two plays, two punts against Hahnville, away from winning a district championship. We’re here now.”
The stakes for the Terrebonne game changed this week when Destrehan was forced to forfeit its Week 8 victory over South Lafourche due to a highly-publicized LHSAA rules violation. With that forfeit, East St. John became the district’s lone undefeated team and therefore needed just one victory to secure at least a tie for first place.
ESJ Quarterback and LSU commitment Xavier Lewis had the most productive offensive day of his career, carrying 13 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. He completed four of five passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Tailback Nigel Anderson rushed for 153 yards and two scores on 18 carries for the Wildcats. Kyle Patterson caught three passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
“This was a big win for us. Terrebonne is a quality team. They win next week against H.L. Bourgeois and they’re in the playoffs,” said Banko. “They can get in and do some damage. Their quarterback is very good … We made enough plays tonight. I’m so proud of the way our guys stepped up.”
East St. John (6-3, 5-0) led 35-7 at halftime, but Terrebonne made it a two score game after scoring off of a Wildcats fumble, then again after an onside kick.
The Tigers recovered another onside kick, but the Wildcats forced a punt to maintain its 35-21 lead. Lewis all but slammed the door shut on the Wildcats’ ensuing drive, scoring on a 50-yard run to push the lead to 42-21.
“Settle down, take a deep breath,” said Banko of his thoughts during the Terrebonne (4-5, 1-5) push. “They got the second onside kick, we knew we needed a stop. We flushed the quarterback out on a draw and Charlie Payne made the play, stepping up and showing that senior leadership. We forced a punt. Then Xavier really solidified things with his run. That was basically a statement he made of, ‘You’re not gonna win this.’”
One drive later, Lewis hit Patterson on a hitch and the receiver did the rest, scoring a long touchdown to round out the ESJ scoring.
“It was a heck of a run by Kyle,” said Banko.
It was a happy night for the Wildcats, but Banko believes the best is yet to come.
“We think we’ve got a lot of football left ahead of us,” said Banko.