Bulldogs have winning streak snapped by St. John

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
The Ascension Catholic defense was on the field for the entire first half of their loss to St. John. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

At the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, Ascension Catholic's offense had only been on the field for one play during last Thursday night's home clash with St. John.

The effects were devastating for the Bulldog defense as they continued to wear down. By the second half, the Eagle rushing attack was just too much.

They ended up producing 284 yards on the ground and scoring 16 fourth-quarter points to beat Ascension Catholic, 36-28, in their district showdown.

"They (the Bulldog defense) were on the field the whole game," Ascension Catholic head coach Drey Trosclair said. "For the most part, those guys are the same guys that play offense. Those are the challenges that you face at a 1A school. We're proud of the effort. They played their hearts out. We just came up a little bit short."

St. John amazingly held on to the ball for the entire first quarter due to two critical special-teams errors by the Bulldogs.

The Eagles took the ball to start the game and marched 62 yards in 15 plays.

Ascension Catholic actually stopped them on fourth-and-four, but a facemask call awarded St. John a first down.

They finally scored to take a 6-0 lead with an 11-yard Gavin Primeaux scamper. The drive drained nearly nine minutes off of the clock.

St. John then recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff.

This time, they quickly marched downfield in three plays, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run by Landon LeBlanc to extend the lead to 13-0.

Ascension Catholic then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff to put the St. John offense right back on the field.

Four plays later, the Eagles went up 20-0 with a 17-yard touchdown run by quarterback Gavin Landry.

"We didn't touch the ball offensively until the second quarter. It was a bad start to the football game," Trosclair said.

The Bulldog offense finally hit the field one minute into the second quarter. On their very first play, Kaleb Winchester exploded for a 79-yard score to trim the deficit to 20-7.

After Ascension Catholic forced St. John to turn the ball over on downs, the Bulldogs went back on the move. Winchester broke loose on a 42-yard touchdown run that gave the Eagles a 20-14 advantage at the half.

Ascension Catholic's offense kept rolling. On the opening drive of the third quarter, they marched 61 yards in six plays and took a 21-20 lead with a 19-yard touchdown run by quarterback Javon Yarbrough.

The Bulldogs looked to be in control of the game as they got the ball back and moved inside the Eagles' 30-yard line, but the St. John defense made the biggest play of the night.

They stuffed Yarbrough on fourth-and-four, giving the ball back to their offense.

The Eagles then drove 76 yards in 12 plays and regained a 28-21 lead on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Landry to LeBlanc on fourth-and-six.

Ascension Catholic responded quickly. They drove 71 yards in just three plays and tied the game up with a 16-yard Winchester touchdown run.

After the Bulldog defense forced a turnover on downs, the offense had a chance to regain the lead, but they fumbled the ball away at their own 35-yard line.

The turnover was devastating as St. John scored five plays later on a 12-yard touchdown run by Landry. They then converted a two-point try to go up 36-28 with just under two minutes remaining.

In desperation time, the Bulldogs were faced with a fourth-and-one. Yarbrough tried to pick it up on the quarterback-keeper, but he was stuffed--allowing the Eagles to close out the wild victory.

Landry led St. John with 56 yards passing and a score. On the ground, he carried the ball 32 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

LeBlanc had 66 yards rushing and one score on the ground. Through the air, he had 56 yards and one touchdown.

Winchester was brilliant in defeat. He carried the ball 14 times for 204 yards and three scores. Yarbrough added 43 yards and a touchdown.

Ascension Catholic only threw the ball once all game--completing the pass for a mere five yards.

The loss stung, but Coach Troslair was happy with his team's grit.

"They did a great job battling back and making a game of it," Trosclair said. "These guys don't quit. We haven't quit all year, and we're not going to. I don't know if you can ever take a positive out of a loss, but the effort is something we can be proud of."

At 3-5, Ascension Catholic will face another tough test this Friday night as they go on the road to face 7-1 Kentwood.