Week One win sets ESJ up for a successful season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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RESERVE — After falling short of the playoffs last winter, coach Brandon Brown said East St. John owes the community a special season.

The comeback started with a battle of the wildcats in the season opener last Friday night. East St. John challenged St. James, a team stepping into a new era under the leadership of first-year head coach LaVanta Davis. After a hard-fought battle, East St. John emerged with a 28-20 win.

“Hats off to St. James; we knew they were going to come in and be very well coached,” Brown said. “Our guys were confident. We haven’t played a week one game since 2019 with COVID and the hurricane, so we haven’t been able to play St. James in quite some time. With just the rivalry in it all, we knew our guys were going to be fired up, we were fired up as well, and we came out and played the best we could. There are some things we could clean up, but that’s why we play the game, to keep continuing to get better.”

The humidity was tough on both teams, leading to some fatigue everyone on the field. East St. John put forth a solid performance in the first two quarters and were up 28-0 at halftime. St. James moved the ball to the endzone several times in the second half and were able to make it a tough game. East St. John showed resilience and held on for the win.

Offensively, Brown was very pleased with quarterback Yashua Mitchell and receiver DKhai Joseph, among others.

“Yashua commanded our offense and made some really good reads, and DKhai Joseph had a really good game with three touchdowns,” Brown said. “We ran the ball well with both running backs, Cortez Fisher and also George Martin. None of that is possible without the guys up front, so I was very, very pleased with the offensive line, how they protected our quarterback, and how they were very, very aggressive on the run game.”

There is still some uncertainty surrounding this week’s scheduled game against out-of-state team Lanier High School. Entering the week, East St. John was still preparing to travel to Jackson, Mississippi for the Week Two match-up. However, water supply issues currently impacting the region could send Lanier to Joe Keller Stadium Friday night.

No matter the outcome, Brown looks forward to continued support from the Wildcats fans.

“Our guys have been working hard,” Brown said. “Last year, dealing with Hurricane Ida was very hard on our kids, our coaching staff, and our families. We owe our community a special season, so this is the year.”