East St. John erupts late, beats H.L. Bourgeois

Published 4:28 am Saturday, October 11, 2014


HOUMA — Much as East St. John did in its District 7-5A opener against South Lafourche, the Wildcats found themselves locked in a one-score game deep into the second half against H.L. Bourgeois. And much as East St. John did that week, it erupted late offensively to put things away convincingly.

The Wildcats turned a 27-21 lead into a 49-28 victory behind a powerful running game that generated over 200 yards and five touchdowns.

“You know, H.L. Bourgeois’ record doesn’t reflect it, but they’ve got a lot of talent on their team,” East St. John coach Phillip Banko said. “They play hard and they’ve been in every game in the second half this season. We had that one touchdown lead and then we exploded. They kept us on our toes with a few wrinkles, but we’re 3-0 in our district and very excited about that.”

ESJ’s Nigel Anderson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns while passing for another. Xavier Lewis rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns, while passing for 72 yards and another score. Jarrod Jackson hauled in 60 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Lewis was the early tone-setter for the Wildcats (4-2, 3-0), running for an 8-yard touchdown, then connecting with Jackson for a 23-yard score to make it a 13-0 ESJ lead — H.L. Bourgeois (1-5, 0-3) blocked the second extra point attempt.

Anderson punched in a 2-yard score and the Wildcats seemed well on their way early in the second quarter, holding a 21-0 lead after a successful two-point try.

Ritney Coleman responded for Bourgeois’ first touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run, making it 21-7. ESJ answered with a touchdown, but the Braves recovered a fumble on ESJ’s next drive, and quarterback Todd Adkins cashed in on a 23-yard run to make it 27-14 at halftime.

“Credit to H.L. Bourgeois for making a play,” Banko said. “We pitched it when we shouldn’t have.”

Blaise LeCompte’s 1-yard run cut the Wildcats’ lead to 27-21 before Lewis and the ESJ offense fired back on his 19-yard scoring run.

Shedrick Colbert and Nigel Anderson added late touchdowns of five and 17 yards to slam the door on the Braves’ hopes of ending a long district losing streak.

East St. John gained more than 500 yards of offense and generated eight plays of 15 yards or more.

“That’s what we consider big plays,” Banko said. “We won the hidden yardage in special teams, which is always big for us. I’m real happy with our effort.”