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ESJ Wildcats Pack takes season opener 32-26

RESERVE — The East St. John Wildcats opened their season with a win over Sophie B. Wright on Saturday, but not without a fight.

The Wildcats came out strong and started things off with the first touchdown of the game, but the Warriors answered back. The Warriors’ passing game constantly tested the Wildcats’ defense; however, the Wildcat defensive line came through many times, causing losses on plays.

Major plays by the defense helped keep the Wildcats in the game during the first half. Both teams fell victim to several penalties that evidently showed how the pandemic regulations had affected football across the board.

Coming into the third quarter, the Wildcats seemed to capitalize with the ball as they scored three touchdowns to solidify their lead. The Wildcat offense also had a strong show with many big plays that keep them ahead of the Warriors.  The Warriors continued to fight as they also scored, yet they continued to trail the Wildcats throughout the game.

Many big offensive plays by Cortez Fisher, Kylon Harris and Marcus Jackson helped “The E” continue to move closer to the win. Defensive efforts by Jackie Marshall, Dennis Brown, Telly Huey, Terrence Samuels and Samir Bolden helped the Wildcats stay on top and secure the 32-26 win.

Wildcats head coach Brandon Brown said he was pleased that his guys opened the season with a win. However, he thinks the execution could have been stronger.

“I was pleased with the guys’ resilience. Things weren’t pretty at all. When you factor in COVID and our guys not really having a chance to play since November, we were a little rusty,” Brown said. “I just wasn’t pleased with the effort. I think our effort wasn’t the best at times.”

The Wildcats will venture to H.L. Bourgeois this week, looking to secure another win for the season.

Brown has told the kids and coaches that there will be no room for error this week.

“H.L. Bourgeois is a district opponent. In a traditional year, we would have a scrimmage, a jamboree, about three games before you have your first district game. That’s not the case now,” Brown said.

He added that the Braves should not be underestimated.

“H.L. is a very, very much improved ball club. They have a new coaching staff, and those guys are doing a really good job of getting their guys to play extremely hard,” Brown said. “We can’t have errors like we did this past week. If we can eliminate our mistakes, I really love our chances against H.L. Bourgeois.”

This article was written by Tara Williams, who is a contributing writer to LOBSERVATEUR. Brooke Robichaux contributed to this report.