Win over Dequincy catapaults Tigers to top of District leaderboard

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Trent Friedel | Exclusive to the Times

Saint Mary’s returned home after a lights out victory on the road at Oakdale that took their record to 3-1. It was pink out game at Turpin for breast cancer awareness month. The school donated $2,000 to NRMC Cancer Center from the sale of game day T-shirts. Dequincy Tigers were coming to town defending a 2-2 record. The 2-A Tigers are in the same district as Oakdale but seemed bigger and as equally talented but, Saint Mary’s has been up to the challenge.

This article published in the Oct. 7, 2021, print edition
NRMC Cancer Center October 2021 (Him)

The home Tigers received the opening kick and methodically drove down the field. Coach Aaron York dialed up the pre-Halloween trickery with a lateral pass to Mixon Bankston who hooked up with Ben Bienvenu from 22-yards out for the Tigers first score. The double pass put SMH ahead 7-0 after they ate up almost half of the first period clock. Dequincy goes three and out on staunch defense by St. Mary’s. The home Tigers drove into the red zone before QB Adam Parker fumbles the ball. Dequincy, unable to capitalize on the good fortunem repeats the three and punt procedure. This time the punt set up SMH with good field position in DQH territory at their 41 as the quarter expires.

A fourth down and long in Dequincy territory has St. Mary’s setting up for a field goal attempt. Dequincy jumps off sides and that sets up SMH for a short fourth down conversion. The converted fourth down results in a Parker to Ethan Busby score on a fade route to the end-zone. The PAT puts the home Tigers up 14-0 through two and half quarters during which SMH controlled the clock. Dequincy answers with a 70-yard drive and score by QB Reese Ashworth.

The visiting Tigers score again before the half with hard running by #10 Ashworth and #13 Taije Ceaser, but the point after fails. Home Tigers lead 14-13 at half. Defense adjustments hold the visiting Tigers scoreless in the third. Saint Mary’s scores twice in the third; Payne Williams recovers a fumble and returns it 63-yards for the first. Drake Griffin posts the second with 6-yard TD run. Both kicks are good and SMH leads 28-13.

Ashworth hooked up with Ceaser through the air in the fourth with four minutes and change on the clock. With the point after, the score is 28-20.

Saint Mary’s adds another score in the fourth to be on top 35-20 when the clock strikes zero. The rain couldn’t wash away the balanced offense attack leading to victory. Pre-district concludes with Saint Mary’s holding a 4-1 record. The Tigers are on a four game win streak with the last three against 2-A teams.

The victories over those teams have propelled SMH to the number one spot in Division IV power rankings and averaging 31 PPG. It’s on to district this week in defense of the title. First up is Northwood Lena for homecoming Friday night at the school. The first ever homecoming at the St. Mary’s campus will certainly be historic, but a victory is what the Tigers want.