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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Wildcats throttle Trojans in district win

Wildcats throttle Trojans in district win

Tropical Storm Karen didn’t ever become quite the rain event that meteorologists predicted she would be this weekend on the Louisiana coast.

But even without the precipitation, East St. John’s football team provided plenty of lightning and thunder in their Friday night meeting with Central Lafourche.

The Wildcats rumbled to a 42-0 halftime lead against the Trojans and coasted in the second half en route to a 48-14 victory.

LSU commitment and East St. John junior Xavier Lewis was a force in the win, throwing, receiving and rushing for a score on the night.

The loss drops Central Lafourche to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in district play.

“Overally, we’re not happy to lose, but I think our kids really battled for the whole game, so we walk away proud of that,” Central Lafourche coach Keith Menard said following the defeat. “We’re going to just keep working this week to get better and polish up some of the things that we did wrong in the game. East St. John has a lot of quality players. We couldn’t afford to make some of the mistakes that we made.”

The Wildcats took control of the game from the earliest minutes, taking a 14-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter of play.

But the floodgates opened up in the second quarter when East St. John took advantage of a pair of special teams miscues by the Trojans – mistakes that allowed the Wildcats to score four touchdowns in the quarter and take a 42-0 halftime lead.

Menard said the Trojans’ kick defense was the root of the problems. The Wildcats returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter outburst, which put the game out of reach.

The Trojans also fumbled the ball deep inside of its territory, which set up a quick East St. John score.

Lewis also added all three of his scores in the opening half of play.

“I think defensively we played really well in the first quarter, but then we just broke down on special teams,” Menard said. “And that was a bit demoralizing to us because we were really hoping to win the special teams battle with them. We broke down there and we really just put our defense and our team in a bind.”

Menard said that because of East St. John’s athleticism Central Lafourche’s game plan on offense was to sustain long, timely drives designed to keep the Wildcats’ defense on the field.

But because East St. John utilizes a stiff front, the Trojans were unable to experience prolonged success.

The Trojans recorded more than 200 total yards in the game – most of which came in the second half when the score was well out of reach.

Halfbacks Thomas Wesley and S’Quan Gray each added second half touchdowns for Central Lafourche to give the team its 14 points on the night.

“Their defense is pretty good – they definitely deserve a lot of credit for the struggles that we had,” Menard said. “I think we ran into a team that really had a lot of confidence after beating South Lafourche last week. Instead of being 0-4, they were suddenly 1-3 and undefeated in district with a chance to really make a run at it.”

Menard said the Trojans will now turn their attention to Friday night’s showdown with South Lafourche.

The first-year Central Lafourche coach said he has seen the Tarpons both in person and on film and is impressed with the team’s talent – especially on the defensive side of the football.

“They run to the ball and they are very aggressive,” Menard said. “To me, they have just a very, very, very good defense. They are going to be ready to play against us without a doubt.”

The coach said that he doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the local rivalry game because it’s his first year with the Trojans. But he added that locals have informed him about how intense the game is on a year-to-year basis.

“We know they are going to come here and fill up the stadium with their white shirts and everything – it’s a great tradition and a great rivalry,” Menard said. “We know our fans will match them with the green and everything – it’s a big game. We just want to work hard at practice to make sure that we’re ready. We’re fortunate that the game is home. We play better there. We just want to have our best week of preparation and get ready to play a good game.”