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St. Martin's too much for Warriors

METAIRIE — Houma Christian School dug itself into a hole in the first half that a valiant second-half effort couldn't quite overcome, dropping a 42-29 District 9-1A contest to St. Martin's Episcopal on Friday night at Saints Field.

HCS took the opening kickoff and drove to the St. Martin's 31, largely on the efforts of running back John Broussard, who had three carries for 41 yards on the drive.

Broussard finished with 110 yards on 23 carries.

Austin Bland took an end around on second-and-four, but fumbled, and the Saints recovered.

Seven plays later, Saints quarterback Desmond McGovern (12-of-14, 269 yards, 2 TDs, 9 carries, 99 yards, 2 TDs) scampered around the right side for the score. The Warriors went for it on fourth-and-4 from their own 47, but quarterback Drake Battaglia came up a yard short, giving the Saints a short field. St. Martin's took advantage, taking five plays to go 57 yard on Jefferson Honeywell's 5-yard end around, and St Martin's led 14-0 in the opening seconds of the second quarter.

The same pattern played out on the next series of drives. HCS took the ball to the St. Martin's 36, but could not convert on fourth-and-four, turning the ball over again. St. Martin's scored again, going 64 yards in six plays with McGovern getting his second touchdown run up the middle from the two, putting the Saints up 21-0 with 6:35 left in the first half. It was 28-0 with 4:20 left after McGovern hit Chandler Patten with a 58-yard strike on first down after a Warriors punt. That's when Houma Christian (2-3 overall, 1-1 in district) woke up. The Warriors started a drive and finished, going 80 yards in 11 plays. Battaglia found Broussard for a 14-yard touchdown 3 seconds before the first half ended. Sam Trosclair's PAT made it 28-7 going into halftime.

St Martin's (2-3, 2-0 in district) took three plays to open the third quarter and a 35-7 lead with McGovern going 29 yards for the score with 10:23 left in the third. The Warriors answered with Battaglia capping an 80-yard, 9-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 35-14 with 5:22 left in the third quarter. St. Martin's ate up most of the rest of the third quarter with an 8-play, 74-yard drive that ended with McGovern hitting Jack Brown in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown and a 42-14 lead with 30 seconds left. That was enough time for Houma Christian. Drake Battaglia hit his brother Devin Battaglia for an 80-yard touchdown strike that made it 42-21 going into the fourth quarter. The Warriors recovered the subsequent onsides kick, and Drake Battaglia did the honors, going in from 5 yards after a 6-play, 47 yard drive. Broussard took it in for the two-point conversion, and the Warriors trailed by 13 with 9:37 left.

"The second half, we made a few adjustments and opened it up more," Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia said. "And the kids responded. Every week we talk about character. We talk about the name ‘Warriors' on their chest. We teach them that no matter what the situation is, what the adversity is, we respond to the challenge. We didn't win, but I'll take the effort the kids made in the second half anytime."

HCS looked as if it had cut that lead more after forcing a punt. Starting on their own 22, the Warriors caught a break when St. Martin's was flagged for 12 men on the field on fourth-and-nine from the 23.

The penalty made it fourth-and-four, and HCS went for it, with Drake Battaglia finding Devin Battaglia for 12 yards and a first down. A completion to Di'von Carter, along with a roughing-the-passer call set the Warriors up with first-and-10 at the St. Martin's 30. But the drive stalled a yard short on fourth-and-six, and St. Martin's ran out the clock.