Written by Kyle Valdez
In arguably the best rivalry in the state, the East Ascension Spartans took care of business and handed St. Amant a 34-7 loss. Spartan Stadium in Gonzales reached its capacity, with crowds of people standing along the fencing around the stadium. Multiple college coaches were in attendance, including Kansas and former LSU head coach, Les Miles. Although the halftime score was just 10-7 in EA’s favor, the Spartans scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to secure their 8th win of the year.
East Ascension, now ranked 4th in 5A, used strong plays from their defense to force turnovers and get extra possessions. None were bigger than Jyren Ester’s pick-6 to end the first half to give EA a 10-7 lead. Along with the stout defense all night, receivers Jyrin Johnson and Hobert Grayson IV came up with big TD receptions. QB Cameron Jones only threw 8-23 for 156 yards but rushed for 76 yards on 14 carries.
After a defensive battle in the first quarter, East Ascension was the first to get on the scoreboard when Alex Phelps hit a 30-yard FG with 5:58 left in the half. St. Amant responded with a 75-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard TD run for Reggie Sims with 2:28 left. After forcing EA into a three-and-out, St. Amant had a shot to stretch the lead with 1:18 left in the half. With their offense taking control from the 50, on the first play of the drive, QB Cole Poirrier went deep and had his pass intercepted and returned 85 yards by Jyren Ester to lose the lead going into the half.
The Ester interception changed the whole momentum of the game, as the second half was all East Ascension. Cameron Jones found a wide-open Hobert Grayson for an easy 70-yard TD. The next possession, St. Amant QB Cole Poirrier was sacked, and fumbled the ball deep inside his own territory. A few plays later, Jyrin Johnson caught a 4-yard pass to take a commanding 24-7 lead. After the short burst offense, EA would control the rest of the second half: adding 10 more points via an Alex Phelps FG and a Jyrin Johnson TD with 4 minutes left in the game.
Entering the contest, EA head coach Darnell Lee discussed the rivalry, “It’s hard to just treat it like any other game when you have two communities that come together as one this week... Honestly a playoff-type atmosphere. I told my guys that won’t play college football, ‘this is as close as you will get to it. Just soak it all up.’”
East Ascension looked like the real deal all night. A real threat to make it the dome and possibly win a state championship, the Spartans have won 4 straight contests and appear to be peaking at the perfect time. They have one of the more talented rosters in the state, and now have a solidified home field advantage for the playoffs. Looking forward to their Round 1 matchup against Terrebonne, EA is obviously the favorite, but still needs to play a good game if they want to advance. Terrebonne has one of the best rosters in the state behind FSU commit Ja’khi Douglas and five-star DT Maason Smith. If EA plays like they did against St. Amant, they should have no problems until the state quarterfinals.
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