East St. John hunts 3-0 start in District 7-5A

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014


RESERVE — When he looks at his Wildcats, East St. John coach Phillip Banko sees a team that battled through adversity to earn a victory at Central Lafourche last week, a trait he’s seen many of his players exhibit time and time again over the past few seasons.

“We had some drops, some penalties, but we kept playing through it,” Banko said. “We went on the road and in our district,  a win never comes easy in that scenario. It’ll be no different this week.”

ESJ is set to hit the road again this week to face H.L. Bourgeois, as the Wildcats attempt to move to 3-0 in District 7-5A play. 

Bourgeois (1-4, 0-2) has struggled this season, starting with losses to South Terrebonne, St. Amant, Central Lafourche and Thibodaux and a victory over Ellender. Each of the Braves’ losses have been by 14 points or more. 

Last week, Bourgeois fell to undefeated Thibodaux, 41-23. 

But Banko cautions about looking too deeply into those final scoring margins, noting the Braves were put away early in none of those losses.

“They’ve been in every game they’ve played,” Banko said. “They haven’t won many, but that’s a good, solid football team. They’ve got some good talent on that defense. We’ve got to be vigilant because if we’re not, it’s going to bite us, I can promise you.”

Bourgeois snapped a 19-game losing streak earlier this season with its 26-22 win over Ellender in Week Two. Coleman, the team’s top rusher, scored three touchdowns in that win, one the Braves erased a 20-6 deficit to rally back.

Banko said Coleman has proven himself a dangerous threat. 

“He’s a good 5A player,” Banko said. “He can run you over, he can run by you or around you. There’s not a starting back in this district who can’t. He certainly belongs. We know what he brings to the table.”

The Wildcats (3-2, 2-0) have generated a lot of offensive yardage through two weeks of district play. ESJ finished with 289 yards at Central Lafourche, but truly shined in its district opener, a 50-19 win over South Lafourche that saw the Wildcats generate 575 yards of offense, including three plays of 71 yards or more.  

Last week also marked the official commitment of Nigel Anderson to Tulane. Anderson, the Wildcats’ starting tailback, is set to be the fourth East St. John player in as many years to sign with coach Curtis Johnson’s Green Wave. 

“It’s a great accolade not just for Nigel, but the guys who play with him on our team,” Banko said. “It speaks volumes about the work he’s put in, of the lineman who block for him and what our program has done. Nigel wanted to stay home, so why not sign with a great program like Tulane and get to play in front of your friends and family?”