Saint Mary’s drew the #11 seed in the Division IV State Football Playoffs and traveled to Metairie Park Country Day to play the #6 Cajuns Friday night. The pre-game weather was one of hope for the teams as rain had moved through the area earlier in the day. That hope faded quickly. No sooner than the coin was tossed to start the game did the skies open and release a steady rain that would not abate until the game was over. The inclement weather put a halt to the Tiger’s five game winning streak. The Cajuns were dominant in the run game with freshman quarterback Dawson Simmons and older brother Dylan Simmons racking up most of the yardage.
Fullback Scott Isacks, #44, a solid blocking back and hard downhill runner, aided in the effort. The host Cajuns drew first blood on a busted play where Dawson Simmons fumbled the snap from center but recovered the ball and threw to Conwill for a gain of 23-yards. That set up a scoring run by Simmons and the point after off the toe of Gibbs was good, 7-0 Country Day. Saint Mary’s answered that with a score of their own on a 23-yard pass from Adam Parker to Dane Files for a jump ball in the end for the score and Payne Williams extra point is good. The game is tied at seven each.
Tristen Mitchell intercepts a Dawson Simmons pass two plays after the kick. Unfortunately, the Tigers are unable to convert the interception into points. Dawson’s older brother avenges his younger brother’s interception with one of his own on the Cajun one-yard line. Country Day uses the opportunity to go 99-yards in 10 plays culminating in a pass from Dawson Simmons to Evan Nunez for the 20-yard score. The point after is good again and the Cajuns took a 14-7 lead. With seconds to go before halftime, Connor Gibbs nails a 28-yard field goal to go up 17-7 at the half.
The Country Day Cajuns had won the toss (the last time the field was dry) and elected to receive the ball in the second half. Neither team would make much headway or score in the third quarter as rain continued to fall in Metairie. Williams had a nice 30 plus-yard field goal to get Saint Mary’s a little closer and make it 17-10. With 7:25 to go in regulation, the Simmons brothers connect on a 50-yard pass play. That play set up a score by Dawson Simmons from about 3 yards out as he faked the handoff to Isacks and trots into the endzone for the score. The PAT is good, and the Cajuns lead grows to 24-10. Parker would be intercepted again but the Cajuns are unable to capitalize on the good fortune. Saint Mary’s uses their time outs wisely and have the ball in the waning minute of the game but are unable to score. No repeat of the 17-second miracle against Logansport.
A terrific year ends for the Tigers on the road in first round Division IV action. The Tigers had many unknowns at the start of the season. Mostly how the offensive line would be? I think that the team found the answer to that and other positions. Saint Mary’s finishes the season with a record of 6-3 and were undefeated in District. As the District 3-1A champs, it is no doubt that the Tigers will have several all-district selections.
Adam Parker finishes the season as the number 13 passer in the State completing 105 of 197 attempts for 1,441 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Another top 25 State athletes is Ethan Busby who caught 41 passes for 624 yards and 7 TD’s. The Saint Mary’s top 25 players are among all classes of competition. Payne Williams scored 43 points on the year on a combination of extra points and field goals.
The Tigers will return some talent for next season and now basketball will get the full contingent of players back.