Written by Kyle Valdez
The Zachary Broncos outlasted the St. Augustine Purple Knights 41-32 in a season-opener shootout. The back-and-forth match showcased two of Louisiana’s most talented quarterbacks in St. Augustine's Kendell Sampson and Zachary's Eli Holstein (LSU and Kentucky offer).
Sampson's night was impressive from start to finish; he passed for five touchdowns and 318 yards on 22-34 completions. For the Broncos, sophomore Holstein completed his first career start with 213 passing yards for one touchdown pass and two rushing touchdowns on 16-25 passing.
Down 15 points with 2:34 remaining in the fourth quarter, Sampson completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tylie Keasley to cut the lead to 41-32. An incomplete pass for the two-point conversion was no good: crushing any chance for a Purple Knight victory.
"It wasn't my best night, but all the leaders on our team calmed me down. They helped me through the game" Holstein said. "With a great line and a running back like Connor [Wisham], it opens up everything for me."
Junior Connor Wisham ran for 188 yards on 20 carries for three touchdowns.
A complete showing by both teams, Zachary held a lead for the entirety of the tight-fought game. St. Augustine head coach Nick Foster made his head coaching debut after six years under Brice Brown at Edna Karr.
"We did some good things… There were things I was pleased with… like the fact that we never gave up when we got down. They came and fought, but there are things we need to correct."
Key contributors for the Broncos included defensive back Kylin Johnson, who forced a crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter. Kicker Logan Fletcher produced 11 points from PAT's and two field goals from 37 and 32 yards out. LSU commit receiver Christopher Hilton also reeled in a 25-yard touchdown pass.
For the Purple Knights, Tylie Keasley caught eight passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Defensive end Byron Turner was active all night, and Keenon Holden picked off a Holstein pass in the first quarter.
Sampson threw touchdown passes to Kendell Nicholas for 67 yards, Wendell Newton for five yards, and Carl Singleton for seven yards.
For Week 2, Zachary will play Live Oak. St. Augustine will play John Curtis.
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