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East St. John cruises past Braves

RESERVE — The H.L. Bourgeois Braves did what they could to slow down the East St. Wildcats in Friday's District 7-5A game.

The Braves created turnovers and limited the Wildcats to only seven plays in the first quarter, but it was not enough. East St. John raced out to an early lead and cruised to a 31-8 win.

East St. John's offense finished with 393 yards of total offense (272 yards rushing, 121 yards passing).

"This is a learning experience for our defense," H.L. Bourgeois coach Daron Franklin said. "They grew up and played hard against a quality team. We limited them to seven plays in the first quarter."

The Braves (0-6 overall, 0-3 in district) controlled the ball in the first quarter, but it was the Wildcats finding the end zone. Xavier Lewis hooked up with a 30-yard touchdown strike for a 7-0 lead.

The duo hooked up again on a 48-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. East St. John added one more touchdown late in the second quarter on Gerald Munoz's 4-yard scoring strike to Amani Martin giving East St. John (3-3, 3-0 in district) a 21-0 halftime lead.

H.L. Bourgeois had opportunities to score in the first half after recovering a pair of East St. John fumbles. But each time, the Wildcats defense came up with a big stop.

After Eric Joseph kicked a 34-yard field goal to increase East St. John's lead to 24-0, the Braves appeared to be on the verge of scoring. Todd Adkins hooked up with Ritney Coleman on a 32-yard pass and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on East St. John put the ball at the Wildcats' 12. Two plays later, the drive ended when H.L. Bourgeois fumbled the ball back to East St. John.

Nigel Anderson (14 carries for 146 yards, TD) added an 18-yard run midway in the third quarter to increase the Wildcats' lead to 31-0.

H.L. Bourgeois scored its lone touchdown midway in the fourth quarter on Adkins' 17-yard pass to Tylone Johnson. Adkins ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 31-8.

The Braves finished with 218 yards of total offense (41 yards rushing, 177 yards passing).

"Offensively, we kept at it and were able to move the ball," Franklin said. "I'm proud of that effort."

Throughout the game, the Braves tried to gain extra possessions with trick plays. They tried two onside kicks (recovering one) and ran three fake punts (converting two).

"We are going to take chances and do things that are going to give us a chance to compete," Franklin said. "We are still going to work hard as a team and a coaching staff."