Warren Easton lived up to their #2 state ranking and QB Lance Legendre played as advertised in the Eagles’ 41-20 victory at soggy Tad Gormley Stadium last Saturday afternoon.
A turning point in the game came in the last minutes of the first half. Easton took a 21-0 first quarter lead before the Crusaders scored their first touchdown. The Eagles matched that to lead by 21 before the ever-battling Saders scored again to make it 28-14.
After forcing a punt, Martin started a possession at the WE 47. Aided by a personal foul penalty, the Crusaders drove to a first-and-goal at the 2. Coach Mark Bonis recalled, “We expected to be down only 28-21 and looking forward to receiving the second half kickoff.” Instead, the Eagles stopped four straight rushes short of the goal line. To make matters worse, the fourth down play resulted in a fumble that Easton returned 96 yards to increase the lead to 35-14 with a minute to play.
As rain fell, the Eagles stopped the Crusaders’ first possession in the third period, then drove 72 yards to make the score 41-14. After that, water came down in torrents for the rest of the quarter, forming a small lake in the corner of the north end zone.
“We fought the whole game,” said Bonis. “We have a great group of young men that live the phrase ‘the men who never say die.’ We scored again in the second half amid all that rain and had another opportunity that we squandered.”
“Easton is a really good football team, but we didn’t help ourselves out.” The coaching staff charts four statistics that predict success in football games. First, have more explosive plays than the opponent – runs of 12 or more yards and passes of 16 or more. Second, win the turnover battle. Third is first down production, and fourth is red zone efficiency. “We weren’t very good in any of those. Playing a team of that caliber, we just can’t make the mistakes we made.”
The Crusaders played one of their best games of the 2017 season when they upset Hahnville on their field, 21-6. Now the 2018 Tigers come to Tad Gormley Stadium tonight at 7 PM sporting a one-and-one record, the loss coming at the hands of Ehret, one of the best teams in the area. “On defense, they’ve got two of the best players we’ll see all year. #55 (Corey Labranch) is an outstanding outside linebacker. He has the best ball get off I’ve seen in ten years. And #95 (Adonis Friloux) is a 6-2, 255-pound defensive end. Both guys have the potential to play at the next level. Our young offensive line will have their hands full, and our receivers have to do a good job of winning versus man-to-man coverage.”
“Offensively, our challenge is not knowing exactly what we’re going to see.” The Tigers have played two quarterbacks, “a big athletic fast guy that runs the football well and a drop back quarterback that we don’t have much film on. They have a different offensive personality with each one.”
Bonis is pleased with the attitude of his squad at practice this week following the loss. “They’re very resilient. Preparation-wise, they’ve done the best they considering the weather conditions. We should be real hungry going into this game. I’m looking forward to this next opportunity to play Brother Martin football.”