Tigers stumble out of the gate, then roar to life to blast Bears

St. Mary’s:  41
Block:  6

The St. Mary’s football team didn’t get the start coach Aaron York wanted Thursday night, trailing winless Block after the first quarter.

Then the Tigers roared to life, taking control by halftime and scoring all their points before the final quarter in a 41-6 romp at Turpin Stadium.

Winning its sixth straight contest, St. Mary’s improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in District 3-1A. The Tigers, who cracked the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 1A top 10 this week at No. 8, intercepted four passes and held the Bears to 140 total yards.

Junior quarterback Adam Parker ran for three touchdowns and a team high 70 yards on seven carries as the Tigers rolled up 214 yards on the ground. Parker scored on runs of 6, 22 and 1 yard, all in the second period as SMHS opened a 21-6 halftime advantage.

The winners’ touchdowns in the third period came on a 44-yard scamper by Jaydyn Jackson, a 4-yard run by Bryson Barnes, and Conor Jordan’s 25-yard pick six interception return.

After that final TD, with eight seconds left in the quarter, the game clock went to running time in the final period with the outcome long since settled.

The Tigers were in running mode all night. They never punted as they averaged 10 yards per carry and threw only 12 passes, with Parker completing 10. The other two were intercepted in the frustrating first quarter.

“But we pulled together after that, ran the ball quite well, and played physical football,” said York. “Everybody got to play. Our younger kids got their feet wet, which was good.

“The offensive line, tackle to tackle, had a pretty good game. We got surges going on their side of the ball. Defensively, our front seven was good. Our linebackers had a good night,” he said, citing Ben Bienvenu (4.5 tackles, 2 for lost yards) and Logan Watson (3.5 stops, 2.5 for lost yards) as playing particularly well.

Graeme Fidelak, who was banged up in last week’s homecoming win over Northwood-Lena, made four stops and had an interception. So did Payne Williams, who made three tackles. Along with Jordan’s swipe and score, Nathan Slaughter collected the other pickoff.

Stalemating the Bears and padding the lead allowed St. Mary’s to get plenty of players on the field after halftime.

“The young kids, our ninth graders, handled themselves well. Braylon Normand and Conor Jordan, are two who jump out before we get to watch the film,” said York. “I’m sure there will be more.”

With three district games left, beginning next Friday night at longtime neighborhood rival Montgomery, the Tigers haven’t quite kicked into gear, but York sees the potential.

“We’re still not playing our best ball, but when we put it all together, we might be a pretty dadgum good football team. We just have to figure out how to do that,” he said.