ESJ downs Thibodaux 21-14 but sacrifices 2 wins

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2019

RESERVE– The East St. John Wildcats hosted the Thibodaux Tigers on Friday night in a District 7-5A showdown with playoff implications. It seemed the stars aligned as The E bested Thibodaux 21-14, while Destrehan overtook Hahnville 23-21 St. Charles Parish – all the ingredients needed to give East St. John a co-district championship title.

However, all was not as it seemed. Coach Brandon Brown received word Friday morning that two of the Wildcats’ early season wins against West Jefferson and Sophie B. Wright had become forfeits, changing the season record from 8-2 to 6-4.

The forfeits were the LHSAA’s response to an ineligible Wildcats player self-reported by Brown after Week 3 of the season. Brown reported the issue as soon as he became aware of it, and the resulting penalties did not come as a surprise. He said the team has remained positive in spite of the setback. On the bright side, Friday’s win over No. 10 ranked Thibodaux placed the Wildcats on a five-game winning streak.

East St. John started the scoring when Sean Shelby hit Alonzo Porter for a 13-yard touchdown pass to get the Wildcats the 7- 0 lead second quarter. The Wildcats also found success running the ball with C.J Gardner. Shelby capped off a drive when he hit Donte Fleming on a 15-yard touchdown pass for a 14 – 0 halftime lead.

Thibodaux battled back with two touchdowns in the second half, but East St. John held on for the 21-14 win. Forfeited wins by East St. John will blur the power ranking, and they will have to wait until Sunday to see where they fall in the playoff pairings.