St. Mary’s visit to Montgomery Friday night went even better than planned.
The Tigers took control quickly with a 21-point first quarter, had an insurmountable lead well before halftime, got to play all the backups afterwards, and completely smothered their opponents in a 48-6 District 3-A football triumph. And the team bus didn’t get lost despite the detour route to the stadium.
“We played a lot better than I expected,” admitted St. Mary’s coach Aaron York. “We were very physical. Defensively we played about as well we’ve played all year. Apart from one long run by their quarterback and Montgomery may not have had 30 yards of offense. We played lights out.”
The Grant Parish Tigers (1-7 overall, 0-3 in district) managed only three first downs. They posted just 119 total yards. Their only touchdown came on a kickoff return. Gavin LaGrange made three of St. Mary’s seven tackles for lost yards.
Meanwhile, St. Mary’s (7-1 overall, 3-0 in district) did what it wanted in the first half while building a 41-6 lead.
“Offensively it was one of the better games we’ve had up front,” said York. “From tackle to tackle, we were physical. There were multiple times where we had three or four blocks that ended up putting Montgomery players on their backs.”
Adam Parker threw four touchdown passes, on just nine attempts, and ran for another score as St. Mary’s totalled 298 yards and 16 first downs. Running backs Drake Griffin (69 yards on only three carries), Bryson Barnes (12-58) and Jayden Jackson helped SMHS average seven yards on 25 carries.
“Adam threw it well in the first quarter, and Jayden and Drake and Bryson had good games running the ball,” said York. “We finally had a dominating performance. I was very pleased with what we did.”
The Tigers were up 41-6 with 7:46 left before halftime. Both coaches and game officials agreed to have a running clock the rest of the way.
“All of our backups, and that’s a lot of kids, came in and handled themselves well,” said York. “When you mass substitute, it can get pretty disjointed. Our young guys looked like they knew what they were doing, even though they may have been nervous as all get-out.
“Dalton Waters made a big catch for his first touchdown as a Tiger. He took it to the house (on a 32-yard catch and run from Parker early in the final period). Defensively, Camden Litton had an interception. Our challenge to those young guys at halftime, up 41-6, was for them to win the second half and they did that,” said York.
Parker and Ben Bienvenu connected on a 13-yard TD less than three minutes into play and Payne Williams added the first of his six extra points for a 7-0 lead. It doubled five minutes later when Graeme Fidelak got the first of his two touchdown receptions, a 33-yarder.
Parker scampered 15 yards to score with 2:01 showing in the opening period as SMHS opened a 21-0 advantage, but Montgomery’s J.T. Turner took the ensuing kickoff back 93 yards for the lone highlight for the home fans.
Griffin rumbled 16 yards a minute into the second period for a 28-6 advantage. Parker connected with Nathan Slaughter on a 27-yard TD pass 65 seconds later, and just over two minutes afterwards, Fidelak danced 30 yards to score on a punt return for the 41-6 margin.
It sets up a battle for the district championship next Friday on the road against Logansport, the other district undefeated team.
“It’s time to gear up for Logansport. It’s going to be a battle,” said York.
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