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East St. John upsets John Ehret, advances to quarterfinals

STAFF REPORTS

L’OBSERVATEUR

RESERVE – The East St. John Wildcats are heading to the Class 5A football quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

The Wildcats emerged from the second round of the playoffs with a 19-17 upset victory over the No. 2-seeded John Ehret Friday night in Reserve. Seeded at No. 18, East St. John will now advance to face the No. 10 West Monroe in the quarterfinals. 

Sophomore Cortez Fisher proved to be a star of the game with a 13-yard rush to the end zone that gave East St. John the lead with just over one minute remaining on the clock. During the kick-off return that followed, the E’s Travis Turner reached the ball before John Ehret had a chance to process what was happening. 

Not long before the game-changing touchdown, East St. John senior Kevon Breaux had come out with an interception on a John Ehret attempted pass to put the comeback in motion.

Head Coach Brandon Brown said the success in the field was all about effort and keeping a winning mindset. 

“Our mindset was that once we got that ball back, we were going to drive the ball and score. Our kids believed. The coaching staff believed,” Brown said.

“It was a great team effort. Cortez Fisher, he’s only a sophomore, but he really grew up last night. He had a really great game running the football. Our running back did an excellent job. Overall, our offensive line did a tremendous job. We knew going into the week that it would be on them. Those guys were up to the challenge.”

East St. John had a strong rushing game Friday night thanks in part to quarterback Marcus Jackson. 

While Friday night’s game didn’t showcase the most pristine play, Brown said the boys’ outstanding effort and refusal to give up compensated for the mistakes and failed plays.

East St. John has seen steady growth over the last few seasons, but this is the first time in a while the Wildcats have made a deep dive in the competitive 5A playoffs.

This season, East St. John is fielding an impressive 7-1 record, with the only loss of the season delivered by the talented Destrehan Wildcats. 

I think it comes to buy-in. This is year three with myself being here, and they are buying in. The kids want better. They want more,” Brown said. “We talked about setting a new standard over at East St. John, and I told the kids I wanted them to be at the forefront of that. I want them to be the standard. We’re just trying to set a new standard, and our kids are playing with passion right now.”

Defeating West Monroe next week would be another step to solidifying the new standard, according to Brown. West Monroe, a known powerhouse in 5A, has a 6-1 record for the year. 

West Monroe has always been a great team. It’s no different now. It’s going to be an intense atmosphere,” Brown said. “They’re used to winning championships, so that’s what we want. We want to be able to beat teams like that. West Monroe in the state of Louisiana has always kind of been the standard of high school football, so we want to show we belong in that conversation.”