Trent Friedel | Exclusive to the Times
St. Mary’s started the football season at home against the 3-A Abbeville Wildcats. The Tigers won the toss of the coin and elected to defer to the second half. The kick was mishandled by the Wildcats and scooped up by #9 Braylon Normand. That set up the Tigers in the Red-Zone on the Wildcat 14-yard line. On third down Adam Parker is sacked but Payne Williams is true to form punching through the 42-yard field goal. The Wildcats have a large gain on their opening possession but ultimately punt to St. Mary’s. Parker is in the grasp of the Wildcats when he somehow tosses a pass to Jayden Jackson who gets the ball down to the Abbeville 4.
The Wildcats make a stellar goal-line stand and deny the Tigers any points. The quarter ends with St. Mary’s leading 3-0 and Abbeville in possession of the ball. Two plays later, the Wildcats snap the ball through the legs of the punter and St. Mary’s is set up again with first and goal to go from the Wildcat 5-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Parker connects with Ethan Busby on a fade pass to the end-zone, touchdown St. Mary’s, add the PAT by Williams and Tigers lead 10-0.
The euphoria is short lived as T. Luquette scampers 99-yards on the kickoff return to score Abbeville’s first points. A two-point conversion is good and the Tiger lead is trimmed to 10-8. The Tigers answer in kind with a pass from Parker to a wide-open Busby for a 72-yard touchdown reception. Point after kick is good off the toe of Williams and Tigers extend the lead 17-8. The Teams trade 3 and out possessions following that.
Trinity Luquette gets loose again when the Tigers are unable to get off the field on defense. He runs off left tackle 42 yards to pay dirt to score but the two-point conversion fails. Score SMH 17, AHS 14. Saint Mary’s is unable to get things going and punts to Abbeville giving them good field position at the Tiger 35. The Wildcats take advantage of the short field and drive and score. The PAT is good, score SMH 17, Abbeville 24 with only 36 seconds till half.
The Tigers had the lead till that point. St. Mary’s recovers a fumble early in third quarter, a first down passing touchdown is negated by a penalty and no points are gained. On the very next play, Abbeville QB J. Shelvin naked bootlegs running 80-yards for a touchdown and the Wildcats extend the lead to 32-17.
The Tigers get a good drive going with quality runs by Jackson, but a tipped pass is intercepted for a pick six. The kick fails but Abbeville leads 38-17. Saint Mary’s goes three and punting to the Wildcats. They have a solid drive going as the third quarter expires. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Wildcat QB Shelvin makes an errant pitch that is recovered by Busby who picks it up and scores. The point after fails and the score is SMH 23, Abbeville 38.
On the first play after the kick, Luquette strikes again on a 79-yard run to score. The running two-point conversion is successful, and the Wildcats lead is 20-points, 43-23. That would do it for scoring. The big play and speedy Luquette were too much for the Tigers to overcome.
Saint Mary’s drops the home opener after having several chances to score. They will regroup and play Bunkie Friday at home.
Luquette and Shelvin combined for 288 rushing yards in the game. Parker was 14 of 31 for 162 yards and two interceptions.