Story by Trent Friedel
Photos by Ashley Froust
The Saint Mary’s Tigers continued district play this week at home and early on Thursday night against cross-river rival Montgomery. Saint Mary’s was clad in all black with pink socks honoring breast cancer awareness month. Montgomery entered the contest with a 2 and 3 record coming off a loss to defending 1A State Champion, Logansport.
The home team Tigers won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kick. They wasted no time going 64 yards on 6 plays and taking only a minute and two seconds off the game clock. Matthew Nelson started the drive with two good runs. Howell added his own scramble for 28 yards to the Montgomery 9. He connected with Slade Bienvenu for the touchdown pass and Parker Bankston tacked on the extra point. SMH 7 – Montgomery 0. Montgomery would receive the kick from Zach White at the 17 and return it to the 32. Clayton Jackson opened the defensive play with a presence in Montgomery’s backfield forcing an incomplete pass from Graves. On the next play Wes Manuel stepped in front of a pass from Graves to Auge and ran untouched 35 yards for the pick six. Bankston adds the PAT kick and St. Mary’s leads early 14-0 with 9 minutes and 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Montgomery starts the next series at their 27 yard line and would go three and out. On second down of that series, Wes Manuel nearly intercepts another Graves’ pass.
SMH begins their drive at their 44. The home Tigers loose the ball after Matt Nelson powers 37 yards before being stripped by the defense. Montgomery starts from their 20 but can’t capitalize on the good fortune. Jeremy Friedel tackles #5 Auge as he is the intended target for Graves forcing an incomplete pass. Montgomery punts to the St. Mary’s 37. Howell completes a pass to Shelton that results in a 63 yard touchdown that is nullified by a penalty. Matt Nelson would get the call two plays later and run 35 yards to the Montgomery 35. On second and four, Aaron Howell runs off the right side encountering resistance at the 5 but would not be denied from scoring. PAT kick is good SMH 21 – 0. Again, the St. Mary’s defense would deny any Montgomery progress and force a punt. Saint Mary’s gets a short field starting at the 50. Bailey Shelton runs the jet sweep to the Montgomery 11 and gets rewarded on the next play on a pass from Howell. The follow up PAT snap from Beinvenu to Howell was high. Aaron scrambled and was able to find Matt Nelson in the end zone from 35 yards out to make a two point conversion good. SMH 29 – 0. That would end the first quarter of play.
The second quarter of play would continue much like the first. Montgomery would go three plays and punt after continued solid play from the Saint Mary’s defense. St. Mary’s offense takes possession at their 41. They only need four plays to again find pay dirt on a 34 yard pass from Howell to Bienvenu. PAT kick good by Bankston SMH 36 – 0. Montgomery returns the kick to the 35. On first and ten Montgomery fumbles the snap to quarterback Graves and Clayton Jackson covers it up at the 30. Matt Nelson runs off right tackle to the 18 where he is hit hard out of bounds and late by Montgomery linebacker # 22 Kason Lashley. That penalty puts Saint Mary’s on the 3 yard line from which Nelson would easily run in for the score. PAT kick is good again. SMH 42 – 0 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Montgomery receives the kick and again tries to get it going on offense. On third and thirteen of the drive, Logan Graves throws deep and over his intended receiver Jared Henry to the waiting hands of Parker Bankston. The interception sets up the SMH Tigers at their 33. Matt Nelson again gets loose off left tackle and runs 29 yards to the Montgomery 38. Bailey Shelton gets the pitch from Howell on the next play taking it about 31 yards to the 6. The reward for Shelton for the preceding run is a hand off to the left for a score. The kick is blocked SMH 49 – 0. Montgomery receives the kick at their 11 and Saint Mary’s kick coverage stays in their protective lanes to prevent any return. On the second play from there, Graves would go to the air but Parker Bankston intercepts the pass and returns it 31 yards for the score. Bankston’s PAT kick was true, add seven SMH 56 – 0. Montgomery would have 3 minutes and 49 seconds to try and make something happen. They could not and are forced to punt. SMH would take a knee with seconds remaining to run out the clock and go into the locker room with a large and insurmountable lead of 56 – 0.
Saint Mary’s opened the second half kicking to Montgomery. A running clock was instituted and would make for a quick half of play. Montgomery received the kick deep in their own territory, go three and out and punt to St. Mary’s. The Tiger’s have a short field taking over on the Montgomery 35. From there, Bankston would take over the play calling duties and lead the team to the Montgomery 5 on a good run by Jayson Elie. Just as it looked like Saint Mary’s would score, Gallien fumbles the ball on the sweep and it is recovered in the end zone buy Montgomery for a touch back. A host of young St. Mary Tigers would get playing time in the half. Montgomery Tigers take over and start moving the ball as the third quarter expired. It would take them 10 plays to drive and finally put points on the board on a 7 yard run by #2 Kason Lashley. The PAT kick failed the score now SMH 56 Montgomery 6. That would end the scoring in a game that Saint Mary’s controlled from the opening kick. In the victory, St. Mary’s head coach Corwyn Aldredge remarked, “I’m very proud of the team and the work they put in. We still have a lot of work ahead though.”
Saint Mary’s improves to 5 and 1 and will take to the road next week to face the Loyola Flyers in Shreveport. It will be a mid- season, non- district game for both teams. Loyola comes into the contest after a loss to Calvary Baptist.