Story and photos by Trent Friedel
Saint Mary’s opened up district play on the road against the Block Bears in Jonesville Friday night Sept. 22.
The Tigers were coming off an upsetting loss to North Caddo in a hard fought contest, coming up short 48-40. The Tigers committed plenty of penalties last week and could not capitalize on some opportunities. They hoped to right the ship according to head coach Corwyn Aldrege, “We hope to get back on track this week and we have had a much better practice this week. “
Block has changed from their old double tight double wing offense to a spread offense, something that mimics the Tiger attack.
Tigers won the toss and received the ball, then ran the opening kickoff back for the score with Bailey Shelton going 78 yards. The PAT was good by Bankston making it Tigers 7- Bears 0. The scoring from that point would come early and often.
After the ensuing kick and the first play from scrimmage, the dangerous QB #1 Bowie would throw an interception to #34 Matt Nelson who would bring it back to the 4 of the Bears. Howell punched it in on the next play. PAT by Bankston good, Tigers 14-0. So with only 35 seconds off the first quarter clock, the Tigers already scored twice.
The Bears tried to get things going, but had little success against a stiff Tiger defense that was much improved over the previous week. Wes Manual broke up a pass and the following play was an incomplete pass and then an off sides on the Tigers. Bears punted and Tigers had it first and 10 on the 25.
Matt Nelson ran the first play off right tackle for 25 yards. The drive would stall on an incomplete pass to Shelton and Block would take over. They failed to get anything done and would punt to Saint Mary’s, giving them good field position. Howell would run the first play in from 25 yards for the score and Bankston was true on the kick.
SMH 21 – Block 0.
The second quarter would continue much like the first. After the teams traded sides of the field, the first play would result in a connection from Howell to Shelton of 25 yards through the air but the kick failed. Tigers 27 – 0. The Bears tried again in vain to get something going. Zorian Bowie tried to hit a receiver deep, but Nick Torrent was there to make the interception and return it about 35 yards. Pressure was being applied in the backfield from Rachal. That gave the Tiger offense the ball at the Block 15. Matt Nelson would scamper on the next play into the end zone for 6. PAT no good.
Tigers 33 – 0.
The dangerous Block QB (Bowie) would be deep to receive the kick and take it to the house for the only score for the Bears. A kick return of 77 yards and the 2-point attempt would succeed.
Tigers 33 – Block Bears 8.
Tigers answered that with a 50 yard Aaron Howell run to pay dirt. PAT kick no good, Tigers 39 – Bears 8. With four minutes and change before half and after continued tough defense, the Tigers would add more points on a 39-yard pass from Howell to Luke Gallien. That was set up by some nice pass plays including one to Jay Parker and one to Graeme Fidelak. PAT kick is good.
Tigers 46 – 8.
Prior to the half, Parker Bankston received a punt at his own 43 and ran a tightrope down the sideline for a score that was nullified by a holding call. Tigers went into the half up big.
The second half of play would move quickly with a running clock and shortened quarters. It would not, however, prevent the Tigers from continuing their domination and scoring. The defense did not allow any progress and limited the Bears to only three first downs in the game. The excellent play was led by the linebacker duo of Manuel and Harrell.
Backup quarterback Parker Bankston connected with Jordan White in the air on a 27-yard touchdown pass and then kicked the PAT to add 7. At the end of three it was Tigers 53 and Block 8.
Tigers led early in this one and didn’t let up on the throttle. Saint Mary’s will return to action at home Sept. 29 for Homecoming against LaSalle.