FOOTBALL TOP STORY
Falcons working to get back to winning ways.
Saint Thomas Aquinas Football Preview.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football team will be seeking to improve upon a 5-6 record from a year ago. Head coach Randall Legette returns for his second-year guiding the Falcons to a opening round Division III playoff loss to Catholic-New Iberia.
Saint Thomas is used to winning. The Falcons went 12-1 in 2015 reaching the Division III semifinals. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, Saint Thomas won a playoff game each year, reaching the Division III quarterfinals. Leggett was part of that success as an assistant coach beginning in 2013.
In 2018, Leggett was named the head coach when Hutch Gonzales left for Mandeville. Leggette, who played at John Curtis Christian School, was part of three state championship teams in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He is trying to establish the winning culture at Saint Thomas, who is the third head coach in three seasons at STA. Leggett is looking to provide stability to the program which John White ran for 11 seasons prior to Gonzales taking over.
The values of building character come from J.T. Curtis, according to Leggett. “We are trying to get back and sustain the winning here at STA which has happened previously,” said Leggett. “What I learned at Curtis helped make me who I am today. We are working on it day-by-day. It is not just about football but about doing things the right way. That is how you win.”
On offense, the Falcons will have sophomore Earl Jackson taking over at quarterback. “Earl played some cornerback and running back in the second half of the season and did very well." said Leggett. “We feel he can do special things as our signal caller. He needs playing experience at quarterback, but the fact that he played last will help.”
Joining Jackson in the backfield will be juniors Antron Dillion along with sophomore Devaki Williams. Dillion is the team's returning rushing and scoring leader from last year.
Jackson will be targeting senior Devron Wilson and sophomore Leontine Morgan at the wide receiver spots. Sophomore Nunzio Martello is slated to be the tight end.
Along the offensive line, the Falcons will have four players who will play of both sides of the ball. Senior Dustin Dyson is the starter at right tackle. Junior Hunter Bujol is set to start at center and juniors Robert Quillen and Kylen Smith are your starting guards. Peyton Parker is slated to be the starting left tackle.
On defense, the Falcons will have Dustin Dyson leading the line. He is coming off a knee injury, but should be healthy when the season gets underway. Dyson will be flanked by Nunzio Martello and junior tackle Codee Broom.
The linebacking corps will be led by Devaki Williams. He will be joined by sophomore Braden Moore. Dyson has been getting recruiting attention.
The secondary will have Devon Wilson and Michael Johnson as your starting cornerbacks. Sophomore Drew Milton is the starting free safety and freshman Ayvion Butler is slated to be the strong safety.
Brayden Leyer will handle the placekicking. Senior Gabe Hester is slated to be the team's punter.
The schedule is challenging and will be competitive. Saint Thomas opens at home against Ascension Catholic, which reached the Division IV finals a year ago. The Falcons travel to play at Episcopal the next week before returning home to play Pine and Lora
A road trip to Independence follows and then STA entertains Newman on Oct. 11. A Homecoming contest is set for Oct. 18 against Livingston Collegiate. District 9-2 play begins at home against Northlake Christian on Oct. 25 before the Falcons close out the regular season with road contests at Springfield and Pope John Paul II.
Falcons run past Bulldogs in Spring Game.
Saint Thomas wins spring scrimmage 28-14.
WHITE CASTLE, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons wrapped up their spring football drills with a 28-14 spring game win against the White Castle Bulldogs. The Falcons dominated play with an impressive run game jumping out to a 28-6 lead before the Bulldogs added a final touchdown and two-point conversion.
“Offensively I thought we did a good job of executing the run game and the guys were able to break away for some long runs,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Legette. “Our passing game needs more work in terms of our blocking and timing.”
Indeed the Falcons impressed early as senior Devon Wilson put the Falcons up on a 70-yard dash for six followed up on their next series with a 65-yard jaunt by junior Antron Dillion.
The Falcon defense was the victim of a pair of big plays as White Castle scored on a 53-yard run and a 61-yard pass play. “We need to tackle better and we are young in the secondary and these are areas that need a lot work heading into the season,” added Legette.
Antron added a second score to his day’s work in the third period of the game scoring from 23 yards out. The try for two came up short and the Falcons led 22-6. A fumble recovery by Codee Broom set up the Falcons final score as Earl Jackson scrambled seven yards to pay dirt.
The Bulldogs added a final score when Marcus Williams tossed a pass to Alex Brown for six. Williams ran for White Castle’s first score.
Both teams are looking to improve on last season’s marks as the Bulldogs went 3-9 and the Falcons finished 5-6. White Castle will open the season against Central Lafourche, while Saint Thomas will host Ascension Catholic to open the 2019 campaign.
Hetzinger headlines post-season All-District honors.
Saint Thomas senior Adam Hetzinger collects a trio of selections.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons collected four selections on the 2018 All-District Team with senior wide out and kicking specialist Adam Hetzinger earning first team wide receiver and second
team place kicker and punter Junior Devin Wilson was selected first team defensive back while sophomores Antron Dillion and Casey Artigues earned second team selection at running back and wide receiver respectively.
Falcons celebrate Homecoming with 42-6 romp over Springfield!
Saint Thomas improves to 4-1 in District play. Senior Alexis Lee named Homecoming Queen.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football team kept their District title hopes alive after coming away with a key 42-6 victory over the Springfield Bulldogs culminating Homecoming activities at Pete Valenti Field. The victory improves Saint Thomas to 4-1 in league play while Springfield drops to 1-4. The Falcons will play at Pine and host Amite in their final two regular season games. Victories in both games would give STA a share of the District championship.
“A great win for us,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas coach Randell Legette. “Especially after we struggled last week against Northlake Christian. We come out and score forty-two points that was great. We wanted to play tough tonight and play a physical type game and my kids did a great job of that.”
The Falcons began their scoring barrage on their opening possession. Saint Thomas marched 66 yards in nine plays capping the drive with a one yard sneak by Dawsey. Adam Hetzinger booted the first of four PATs to give Saint Thomas a 7-0 lead with 8:38 remaining in the first period. Freshman Brayden Leyer would boot the final two extra points. Highlighting the drive was Dillion with runs of nine, 20 and 16 yards to move the football down to the Springfield 12 yard line.
Following a Bulldog punt, the Falcons needed just two plays to score their second touchdown. Dawsey connected with Devin Wilson on 44-yard pass play that put the ball at the Springfield nine. Then on the very next play Dawsey found Leontine Morgan on a seven yard slant pass for a touchdown. Hetzinger added the PAT to give STA a 14-0 lead with 5:45 left in the quarter.
Springfield had its best possession of the first half driving down to the Falcon 15. But the 11-play drive ended abruptly when Michael Johnson Jr. of Saint Thomas intercepted a Bulldog pass attempt at the goal line and returned the football 73 yards to the Springfield 22. On the very next play, the Falcons capitalized on the turnover when Dawsey pitched to Dillion who ran in for a 22-yard touchdown run. Hetzinger kicked the PAT to make it 21-0 with 11:24 remaining in the first half.
Springfield's Colten Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards to the Falcon 39. But the Falcon defense prevented Springfield from threatening holding the visiting Bulldogs on downs after failing to convert on fourth-and-five at the Saint Thomas 24.
The Falcons then mounted a five-play, 74-yard drive that was culminated by a Dawsey to Casey Artigues 29-yard touchdown pass play. Hetzinger added the PAT to make it 28-0 with 5:57 left in the half.
Highlighting the drive was a Dawsey pass to Artigues that covered 47 yards to the Bulldog 42. A roughing the passer penalty was added on the play putting STA in the red zone at the Springfield 19.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hetzinger executed a onside kick and recovered his own kick setting the Falcons up at midfield. The Falcons would score six plays later when Zach Gore went in on a two-yard touchdown run. Leyer connected on the PAT to make it 35-0 with 3:50 remaining in the half.
Gore setup the touchdown score with a 32-yard scamper that put the ball at the Bulldog eight yard line.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs threatened putting together a eight-play drive that reached the Falcon seven yard line. Facing a fourth-and goal, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard when quarterback Zach Wild found Tyler Ratcliff on a seven yard slant pass for a touchdown. The PAT attempt was blocked by the Falcons leaving the score 35-6 with 7:59 left to play in the period.
Highlighting the drive was 37-yard pass play from Wild to Beau Husser and a 23-yard pass from Wild to Ratcliff.
Following a Falcon punt, the Bulldogs would turn the ball over when Tylan Armstrong was stopped for a loss on a fourth-and-2 situation. But the Falcons would turn the ball over on downs on when Springfield's defense stopped running back earl Jackson short of first down yardage.
Springfield took over on its own 35 and moved into Falcon territory on a 39-yard pass play from Wild to Husser putting the ball at the Saint Thomas 33. However, running back Arshun Andrews coughed up the football ending the scoring threat heading into the fourth period as freshman Braden Moore recovered for the Falcons.
Saint Thomas took advantage of the Bulldog turnover marching 60-yards in nine plays scoring on a three yard touchdown run by Jackson. Leyer kicked the PAT to give STA a 42-6 lead with 9:12 remaining in the game. Highlighting the drive as a 28-yard pass completion from Dawsey to Artigues and a 19-yard completion from Dawsey to Wilson putting the ball at the Springfield five yard line.
Following the kickoff, the Bulldogs responded with a drive reaching the Falcon 22. But Casey Artigues intercepted a Wild pass attempt and he returned it 37 yards down to the Bulldog 47 ending a scoring threat.
The loss left Springfield with a 3-5 mark for the season. Head coach Ryan Serpas of Springfield knows that his team can play better.
“Tough loss just like the last couple of losses we had,” said Serpas. “A lot of things didn't go our way so we got to go back to the drawing board and try to figure things out. Watching the film and game planning for this one I really felt like we had a chance to win tonight. We have been making turnovers at crucial times. But when you look at our offensive numbers we were a lot better than six points tonight. But it is what it is and we can only coach 'em up and get better.”
The Falcon defense twice intercepted Springfield passes and recovered a fumble. “We got to start up front with our defense. We stuffed their premier back several times plus forced some turnovers. We got that bend and don't break mentality and getting the turnovers really helped us out,” said Legette.
Saint Thomas is ranked 11th in the Division II unofficial LHSAA power ratings. The Top 32 teams in each division qualify for the state playoffs.
The Falcons, now 5-3 on the season, travels to play at Pine next Friday. Springfield will host Amite Friday in their final home game of the regular season. The Bulldogs are ranked 23rd in the Class 2A power ratings.
Hawks dominate Falcons.
Saint Helena hands Saint Thomas their first district loss 41-7.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football team suffered their first District 10-2A loss after the visiting St. Helena Central Hawks registered a 41-7 victory played at Pete Valenti Field.
The win improved St. Helena to a perfect 3-0 in league play, while the Falcons fell to 2-1 in district.
“We continued to battle even though we got down,” said STA coach Randell Legette. “We had some players out with some bumps and bruises, but those guys will be ready to play next week. In the passing game Dawsey did a great job. We tried to stop the run, but my guys continued to fight all night.”
The Hawks used a punishing running attack in the first half led by Cody LeBlanc, who scored four rushing touchdowns. The first TD score by the Hawks came in the opening quarter. The Hawks mounted an eight-play, 63-yard drive that ended with LeBlanc scoring on a seven yard scamper. Matthew Claiborne kicked the PAT to give St. Helena a 7-0 lead with 9:06 left in the first period. Highlighting the drive was LeBlanc who had runs of 12 and 11 yards and Tyler Wilson had a 17-yard run that moved the football down to the Falcon seven.
Following a Falcon punt, the Hawks put together another drive marching 67 yards in seven plays ending with a Claiborne five yard touchdown run. The PAT was missed leaving the score 13-0 with 3:07 left in the quarter.
Saint Thomas benefitted with a personal foul penalty by St. Helena giving the Falcons field position at the their own 47.
On the very next play, the Falcons loss their leading rusher when Antron Dillion suffered a knee injury and was helped off the field and did not return.
Saint Thomas, however, was able to move into Hawk territory putting together a 10-play drive that reached the St. Helena four yard line. Facing fourth-and-goal at the four, the Falcons turned the ball over on downs when quarterback Ryan Dawsey threw incomplete to Earl Jackson in the end zone. Highlighting the Falcon drive was a 42-yard pass play from Dawsey to Casey Artigues that put the ball at the Hawk 25.
A shank punt gave Saint Thomas field position at the Hawk 37 that setup a touchdown drive. Saint Thomas needed nine plays to score with the drive culminating with a Dawsey five yard touchdown pass to Artigues. Brayden Leyer booted the PAT to cut the deficit to 13-7 with 6:26 left in the first half.
Following the kickoff, the Hawks put together a eight-play drive that reached the Falcon 30. But the Saint Thomas defense stiffened and forced the Hawks to turn the ball over on downs failing to convert on a fourth-and-2 situation.
Saint Thomas was unable to capitalize on their next series punting to the Hawks with less than a minute remaining. St. Helena took possession at their own 23 and scored three plays later on a 37-yard touchdown run by LeBlanc. Claiborne ran in for the two-point conversion score to give the Hawks a 21-7 advantage at the break.
In the third quarter, the Hawks had a 37-yard kickoff return by Claiborne putting the ball at the Falcon 37. Two plays later, LeBlanc scored his third touchdown of the game on a 22-yard run up the middle of the STA defense. The PAT was missed and St. Helena extended its lead to 27-7 with 11:22 remaining in the period.
Saint Thomas was unable to answer as Dawsey threw straight incompletions forcing STA to punt. St. Helena took over at their own 10 yard line.
The Hawks mounted a five-play drive that was capped by a 47-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Deshon Singleton to Shern Martin Jr. Wilson threw to Singleton to complete the two-point conversion score making it 35-7 with 5:39 remaining in the period. Highlighting the drive was a pair of LeBlanc runs of 18 and 25 yards that moved the ball to midfield.
Following a Saint Thomas punt, the Hawks took over at their own 18 and five-play, 78-yard drive that ended with LeBlanc scoring his fourth touchdown of the game on a three yard run. The PAT was missed and St. Helena increased its lead to 41-7 with 2:06 remaining in the period.
Highlighting the drive was Claiborne who had runs of 20 and 16 yards and a personal foul penalty on the Falcons moved the ball to the Saint Thomas 27. A 24-yard pass completion by Singleton to Jency Riley that put the ball at the Falcon three yard line.
Saint Thomas had to punt out of their own end zone on its next series. The Hawks had field position at the Falcon 37 to start its next drive.
Both coaches agreed to have a running clock in the fourth quarter as St. Helena secured its fifth victory of the season.
“It was great for our players we came in played hard,” said Saint Helena coach Johnny Felders. “LeBlanc had a outstanding game for us. He continues to run hard behind that group of guys that we got up front. He is a workhorse. We will not take anything for granted. We’ll enjoy this and will start to preparing for Springfield.”
Saint Thomas fell to 3-3 overall on the year and will play at Northlake Christian next Friday in another league encounter. Meanwhile Saint Helena will host Springfield for its annual Homecoming contest on Friday.
Falcons secure key road win over the Tigers!
Falcons collect four turnovers en route to scoring a 20-6 win over Independence and improving to 2-0 in District.
INDEPENDENCE, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons used a balanced attack that generated turnovers on defense and the run and pass on offense to score a key District 8-2A win on the road against parish rival Independence. The defense collected four turnovers and senior quarter Ryan Dawsey completed 11 passes for 161 yards and scored a touchdown.
Saint Thomas worked the running game for most of the first quarter with senior Zach Gore and sophomore Antron Dillion doing the work, but the Tiger defense kept them out of the end zone. The Falcons went to the air in the second quarter and got on the board when Dawsey tossed a strike to Leontine Morgan for 20 yards and a touchdown. Senior Adam Hetizinger’s extra point was missed but the Falcons took the early 6-0 advantage.
“He (Dawsey) is learning to slow things down a bit and be patience in the pocket and trust the guys in front of him and we saw that tonight as he made some really great passes down field,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Leggett.
Independence would finally get on the board when DeAngelo Gaines tossed a pass to Ravorius Hampton for a 70-yard touchdown. The try for two failed.
The Falcons will continue District play next Friday when they return home to host Saint Helena.
Falcons open district play in impressive fashion.
Saint Thomas Aquinas evens season mark at 2-2 with 43-7 win over visiting Pope John Paul II.
Sophomore Antron Dillon rolls up 215 yards on 13 carries.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons opened District 8-2A play in impressive fashion Friday posting a 43-7 win over the visiting Pope John Paul II Jaguars. The victory evened the Falcons season mark to 2-2 and put them in a tie with Amite, Saint Helena, and Northlake atop the league standings.
Defense and special teams play sparked the Falcons scoring burst as Saint Thomas took advantage of a blocked punt, a mishandled snap on a punt along with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions with one leading to a quick six by sophomore Casey Artigues.
“When your defense creates turnovers, it always helps give your offense confidence and a spark, and I was proud that we were able to take advantage of short field position and put points on the board,” said Falcon head coach Randell Legette.
The victory was a big rebound after last week’s loss to a then top-ranked Catholic New Iberia team. “When you plays teams like New Iberia you find out who you are exposing weaknesses and it gives you a chance to focus in on those things that need more work and fine tuning,” continued Legette.
The Falcons and Jaguars traded defensive stops for the entire first quarter, but on the Falcons first possession of the second quarter, Saint Thomas needed just one play as sophomore Antron Dillon reversed field on a run to rumble 75 yards for the first score of the game. Dillon would finish the contest with 215 yards on 13 carries. Senior Adam Hetzinger added the extra point and the Falcons led 7-0.
Saint Thomas forced a three-and-out on the Jaguars next possession and Hetzinger blocked the punt attempt setting the Falcons up at the Pope John Paul II 32. Hetzinger would cash in the black catching an 18-yard pass from senior quarterback Ryan Dawsey giving the Falcons a 14-0 lead with the extra point.
The Jaguars responded late in the second quarter put together a scoring drive in which they converted a third and sixteen and a fourth and eleven to keep the drive alive to cut the Saint Thomas lead in half at 14-7. Senior Garrett Cavalier did the honors catching a short pass from junior Jacob Blakeman. However, with less than two minutes before intermission, the Falcons marched to within field goal range and Hetzinger delivered a 28-yard boot to give Saint Thomas a 17-7 margin at the half.
The Falcons took control in the second half pitching a 26-0 shutout as they took advantage of three Jaguar turnovers. Freshman Braden Moore recovered a fumble to set up the first Falcon score as Dawsey tossed a strike to Hetzinger who complete a 49-yard touchdown play.
Less than a minute later on Pope John Paul II ensuing drive Artigues intercepted a Blakeman pass and ran 19 yards for a score giving the Falcons a 31-7 lead. Freshman Michael Johnson collected another interception for the Falcons a minute later and Antron galloped 51 yards to pad the Saint Thomas lead. The Falcons added one final touchdown with 1:09 left as Artigues playing quarterback ran around the edge for a touchdown.
Defensively, the Falcons set up shop in the Jaguar backfield collecting 14 tackles for losses including six sacks. Sophomore Kylen Smith and Moore led the defense as Smith had seven solo tackles and three assists and two sacks, while Moore added four solo tackles, two assists, a fumble receovery, and two sacks. Junior Thomas Wiseman collected five tackles and a sack, Hetzinger had five solo tackles, senior Blair Rodrigue had four solo tackles and three assists, and sophomore Robert Quillen had four solo tackles.
The Falcons will continue district play next Friday when they travel to Independence. “They always have good atheletes and playmakers so we will have to continue to get better and
be prepared to face a quality opponent,” said Legette.
JV Falcons win a shootout!
Saint Thomas Aquinas JV Falcons score a 32-28 win in action Monday.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas JV Falcons won a shootout with the Episcopal Knights Monday scoring a 32-28 victory. The Falcons converted four two-point conversions to secure the win while the Saint Thomas Aquinas defense limited the Knights to just two points after conversions.
Earl Jackson paced a solid running game collection 143 unofficial yards and the Falcons defense made two big stops on Episcopal two-point conversion attempts to hold onto the win.
The Knight scored a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion to take a 14-8 advantage as the first half was coming to an end, but the Falcons had an answer in Tyler Luster. Luster ran 65 yard for a score with less than a minute left before half and with a two conversion gave Saint Thomas Aquinas the lead at 16-14 at intermission.
An interception by Michael Johnson to start the second half set up the Falcons next score and did the honors himself catching a pass from Artigues. Jackson converted the two-point conversion with an impressive run breaking four tackles.
Episcopal answered with a score to close the gap to two as Saint Thomas Aquinas held a 24-22 lead. Jackson answered with some more fireworks racing 65 yards for a score and Chase Daigle made a circus catch for a two-point conversion to give the Falcons a 32-22 advantage. The Knights answered again but could not overcome a Falcon 10-point lead.
Falcons come up short to Knights on the road.
Episcopal rallies with late score to get a 28-21 win.
BATON ROUGE, LA— The Saint Thomas Falcons suffered their first loss of the season when Episcopal Knights (1-1) rallied for a 28-21 victory in Baton Rouge.
“Definitely a tough loss for us,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Legette. “Got to give credit to the kids they never gave up, but plays that we should have made, we didn’t execute. On our final possession, we should have scored but turned the ball over on downs. Turnovers put us in a bind. We didn’t get the opportunity to spread things out and swing the ball like we normally do because of the sloppy field conditions. So we had to run a lot between the tackles and did a good job doing that.”
Fans barely got into their seats as Falcon kick returner Zach Gore returned the opening kickoff 72-yards for a touchdown score. Adam Hetzinger kicked the PAT and Saint Thomas led 7-0 after only eleven seconds had eclipsed off the game clock.
Episcopal’s first touchdown score was setup by a Falcon turnover. Saint Thomas quarterback Ryan Dawsey had a pass attempt picked off at the Falcon 45 and was returned to the 29 yard line. Five-plays later, the Knights scored on a three yard touchdown run by running back Austin Jemison. Parker Sanchez added the PAT to make it 7-7 with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Following the kickoff, the Falcons mounted a 13-play drive that reached the Episcopal 19 yard line. But the drive stalled when running back Antron Dillon was stopped short of getting a first down on a fourth-and-six situation.
Episcopal took over on downs and scored three plays later on a 56-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Cruz Crawford to Brandon Garrido. Sanchez missed the PAT leaving the score 13-7 with 11:26 left in the first half.
Saint Thomas answered quickly three plays later when Dawsey connected with Adam Hetzinger on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Hetzinger booted the PAT to give the Falcons back the lead at 14-13 with 10:25 remaining. Dawsey began the drive with a slant pass to Devon Wilson that covered 37 yards moving the ball down to the Episcopal 28.
After the ensuing kickoff, the home-standing Knight put together a 11-play, 69-yard drive that was culminated by a five yard touchdown run by Jemison. Sanchez kicked the PAT to put Episcopal back on top at 20-14 with 4:51 left in the half.
Highlighting the drive was a 26-yard run by Jemison that moved the ball down to the Falcon 46.
Saint Thomas would turn the ball over on downs on its final possession of the half when Dawsey was stopped short on a fourth-and-1 situation at the Episcopal 35.
The Knights took possession and missed on a field goal attempt four plays later from 35 yards out leaving the score 20-14 at the break.
Neither team would score in the third quarter. Episcopal threatened by reaching the Falcon 34, but turned the ball over on downs on a incomplete pass on fourth-and-7.
Saint Thomas took possession going into the fourth quarter and scored on a 34-yard scamper by running back Devon Wilson. The drive covered 66-yards in seven-plays as Hetzinger added the PAT to give the Falcons a 21-20 edge with 10:54 remaining in the game.
Saint Thomas was successful on a onside kickoff taking possession at the Episcopal 49. A penalty stopped a potential first down play that pushed the Falcons back into their own territory. Episcopal’s defense stiffened and STA turned the ball over on downs when Dawsey threw incomplete to Hetzinger on a fourth-and-five situation.
The Knights responded with a nine-play drive that was capped by a seven-yard touchdown run by Garrido. The two-point conversion was successful on a Garrido run that gave Episcopal a 28-21 led with 2:25 left to play.
The Knights attempted a onside kick and recovered the football at the STA 49 to seal the win.
“We had the football and had a chance to take the lead, but let them (Episcopal) off the hook,” said STA defensive coordinator Tommy Bolton. “They attacked our defense really well. I have to give them all the credit and then we got a little tired, had some mistakes, missed a bunch of tackles. That is kind of been the thing so far, we got to tackle better.”
Falcon Air flies past Church Academy 49-12!
Dawsey tosses three touchdown passes and a trio of running backs dominate on the ground. Sophomore Antron Dillon rushed five times for 73 yards, while senior Zach Gore also collected 73 yards on 10 carries. Dawsey was
11 of 18 for 121 yards.
BATON ROUGE, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons opened the season in impressive fashion collecting a 49-12 road win over the Church Academy Crusaders. Senior Ryan Dawsey tossed a trio of touchdown passes and ran for one more while sophomore Antron Dillon led the ground game rushing for three touchdowns.
“I was looking for the guys to be consistent in their execution especially on offense. I thought we had good balance running and passing,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas
head coach Randell Legette. “It is always a good when you can take advantage of every opportunity in the red zone.”
The Falcons made quick work of the Crusaders jumping out to a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter. The defense delivered a three-and-out stop to set up a 63-yard drive with Dillon capping off the effort with a two-yard plunge for six. Senior Adam Hetzinger booted the extra point. Hetzinger would be perfect on the night kicking including three touchbacks on kickoffs. Saint Thomas struck again on the next drive as Dawsey tossed the first of his three touchdown passes to junior Devin Wilson for six.
Saint Thomas duplicated their first quarter production in the second stanza collecting two more scores as sophomore Casey Artigues caught a touchdown pass from Dawsey and Dillion broke three tackles to cross into pay dirt. The Falcons led 28-0 at the half.
The Falcons opened the second half padding their margin with scoring drive finished off with a one-yard dive by Dawsey to give Saint Thomas a 35-0 lead. The Crusaders responded, however, collecting their first score as Anthony Shepard hit Tyler Henderson for an 11-yard touchdown toss. The point after was missed but Church Academy was on the board.
Dawsey connected with freshman Chase Daigle for the Falcons second third period touchdown on a six-yard strike, and just minutes later Dillion went to work again running 50 yards for the Falcons final score of the night. Freshman Brayden Leyer added the extra point.
The Crusaders added one more score in the final period as Shepard ran eight yards for a score. The point after was no good leaving the final score 49-12.
Dillon rushed five times for 73 yards, while senior Zach Gore also collected 73 yards on 10 carries. Dawsey was 11 of 18 for 121 yards. Dillon also had a pair of quarterback sacks, while senior Adam Hetzinger had three tackles and an assist and senior Thomas Wiseman added two tackles and two assists. Freshman Braden Moore also had two tackles and two assists.
The Falcons will head back to Baton Rouge this Friday to take on Episcopal. The Knights will be looking to rebound after a 14-7 loss to class 4A St. Michael the Archangel. “It was important to scrimmage good teams like Newman and Country Day early. It exposes what you need to work on and that has helped us to focus on areas that needed correcting,” said Legette. “Episcopal is well coached and prepared. We have to avoid turnovers and continue to demonstrate sound fundamentals especially in our tackling and offensive executive.”
Falcons stuggle in final pre-season scrimmage.
Country Day hands Saint Thomas a 28-7 setback in Hannan Jamboree.
COVINGTON, LA—The Saint Thomas Falcon Football team under new head coach Randell Legette participated in the Archbishop Hannan Jamboree suffering a 28-7 to the Metairie Park Country Day School Cajuns.
The contest featured two 15-minute halves and was hosted by Hannan High School.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalize with our offense, said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Legette. “We were really inconsistent tonight, but we will be alright its a long season ahead of us.”
The Cajuns built a 14-0 lead at the half before the Falcons got on the scoreboard on their opening possession of the second half. Country Day took advantage of field position in the second half adding a pair of touchdowns to close out the first game of Jamboree action with a 21-point victory. St. Charles-Catholic and host Hannan High played in the second game
“A lot of growing pains experienced in this Jamboree,” said continued Legette. “We have minor things we gotta change as far a mistakes, and we have to back to fundamentals
because we got a little ahead of ourselves.”
The Cajuns took the opening kickoff and put together a 11-play, 78-yard drive that reached the Falcon eight yard line. However, the Saint Thomas defense stiffened and forced Country Day to turn the ball over on downs after failing to convert a fourth-and-goal that was broken-up by defensive back Casey Artigues in the end zone.
The Falcon offense punted twice on their possessions in the first half. Country Day took advantage of field position on their second possession after returning a STA punt 21 yards to the Saint Thomas 30-yard line. The Cajuns this time scored seven plays later on a seven yard touchdown pass play to make it 7-0 with 5:43 remaining in the first half.
Following the kickoff, the Falcons had a 22-yard run by Antron Dillon putting the ball into Cajun territory at the 46. Quarterback Ryan Dawsey connected with Devon Wilson on a eight yard pass but the Falcons failed to pickup first-down yardage forcing a Adam Hetzinger punt.
Country Day would take over at their own four yard line and put together another sustained drive for a score. The drive covered 96 yards in seven plays culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass play to make it 14-0 with 19 seconds left in the half.
Saint Thomas came out in the second half of the Jamboree to score its first touchdown.
The Falcons mounted a 10-play, 73-yard drive that was capped by a three yard touchdown run by Zach Gore. Hetzinger booted the PAT to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 11:09 left to play.
“We had to get into a rhythm a little bit, but once we got our rhythm we were okay,” Legette said. “That’s the type of tempo we want, but we have learn how to be more consistent.”
The Falcons appeared to turn the momentum around with the touchdown score. The Falcon defense stopped Country Day on downs after failing to convert on a fourth-and-2 situation at the Falcon 13.
However, the Cajuns held Saint Thomas to a three-and-out possession and got the ball back at the Falcon 49. Country Day needed just four plays to score capping the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass play to make it 21-7 with 5:00 remaining to play.
After the ensuing kickoff, Saint Thomas was aided by a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the Cajun 47, but the Falcons failed to convert a fourth-and 13 situation on a Dawsey incompletion with 2:37 left. Country took over and marched down field in five plays scoring on a two-yard touchdown run to make the final 28-7.
“Country Day is pretty good,” said Falcon defensive coordinator Tommy Bolton. “We just didn’t look like we were ready to play in the first half. We started slow offensively, we didn’t make a first down until our third possession. They were moving the ball and we didn't tackle well at all.”
“Our punter did a great job,” continued Bolton. “We had two good defensive stops and played better in the second half. It wasn’t all there so we got some things to work, but there were some positives.”
Saint Thomas opens the regular season on the road traveling to Baton Rouge to take on The Church Academy (formally Christian Life Academy) on Friday, Aug. 31.
Legette and the Falcons ready to begin a new season.
Saint Thomas working to continue winning ways following last season’s 7-5 mark.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Football program will have a new head coach entering the 2018 campaign. It marks the third new coach of the STA program in as many years.
Randell Legette was promoted after being an assistant on the Falcon staff for
several years. Legette took over when Hutch Gonzales left after just one season to become the head coach at Mandeville. Legette also served under John White from 2013-16.
|Falcons impress in scrimmage against Newman.
Senior quarterback Ryan Dawsey connected twice with junior Devon Wilson on touchdown tosses of 55 and 33 yards.
“Dawsey made some good decisions in the passing game putting the ball in some tight spots,” said Saint Thomas head coach Randell Legette.
“It’s been a learning process for me, just being around two different coaches in White and Hutch taught me, said head coach Randell Legette. “I think it is the right time for me. I’m prepared to lead this team where it needs to go.”
The Falcons reached the quarterfinals of Division III a year ago finishing with a 7-5 mark. A year that was a rebound from the 2016 campaign that saw the Falcons finish 3-7. In 2015, STA started the season going 13-0, reaching the semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Notre Dame.
“Last year we found out what worked for us,” Legette said. “The kids embraced it and we got better. By the time we got to play Amite last season, we were a good team. That was a great win and winning a playoff game was huge as well. Our hard work paid off at the right time.”
Legette knows about winning programs. He played for three state championship teams at John Curtis Christian School from 2002, 2004, 2005. Legette also headed up the junior high program and the main feeder for Saint Thomas as being the head coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School in Hammond.
The Falcons will have a new quarterback in senior Ryan Dawsey this year as last year’s starter Kade Bleakley graduated along with other key players. “Dawsey is developing well and makes good decisions
with the football,” continued Legette.
Saint Thomas will also have a number of two-way performers playing on both sides of the ball. Senior Adam Hetzinger will headline the list. Hetzinger is slated to play wide receiver on offense and linebacker on defense. He will also handle all punting and placekicking choirs on special teams. Another two-way performer will be junior Devon Wilson who will be the starter at running back, wide receiver and defensive back.
Joining Dawsey in the backfield will be running backs Antron Dillon, Zach Gore and Tyle Luster along with Wilson.
Dawsey will be targeting Hetzinger and sophomore Casey Artigues at the wide out positions. Artigues will be the back quarterback.
Junior Dustin Dyson will be the team's tight end.
Up front on offense, the Falcons will have some size. “This is one of the biggest offensive lines we have had,” said Legette. Sophomores Robert Quillen, Kylen Smith and Hunter Bujol are starting at tackle and guard. Junior Kolby Bradley will be the center and he will be flanked by senior right guard Tristan Gulotta. Four of the five starting lineman weight at least 300-pounds.
Defensively, the Falcons will have Dillon at the left end spot. The inside linebackers are junior Thomas Wiseman and freshman Devaki Williams. Bujol, Quillen and Smith round out the defensive line.
The secondary will led by Wilson at cornerback and freshman Earl Jackson at the other corner. Tyler Luster and sophomore JeMichael Williams will be the safeties.
The schedule opnes with a pair of road game, at the church Academy on August 31 followed by a game at Episcopal. The first home game is against defending Division II champion Catholic-New Iberia
on September 14.
District play begins on September 21 at home against Pope John Paul II before a road trip to Independence. Saint Thomas will host Saint Helena, which played in the Class 2A state title game a year ago, before meeting Northlake Christian. Week eight is Homecoming against Springfield before a road trip to Pine. The season finale will be against Class 2A power Amite at home on November 2.
“Our district is very competitive,” said Legette. “Amite, Saint Helena and Northlake are very good. Independence is always tough at home. We are excited about what is to come.”
“We have the potential to do well,” Legette continued. “We will be teaching the kids to take it one day at a time, one play at a time and one down at a time.”
Falcons and Buccaneers trade scores in 7-on-7 summer drills.
Dyson and Hetzinger combine for five TD catches. Dawsey passes for six touchdowns. QUICK PICS CLICK HERE
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons continued summer preparations for the upcoming season hosting the Bowling Green Buccaneers for a 7-on-7 passing session Tuesday. Junior Dustin Dyson and senior Adam Hetzinger combined for five touchdown reception while senior quarterback Ryan Dawsey completed 19 of 24 passes and collected six touchdown tosses.
“I saw some really good things from (Ryan) Dawsey today,” said Saint Thomas head coach Randell Legette. “He read things well and understood his coverages. At this point it is about timing and getting in the work with his receivers.”
Dyson proved clutch again in the red zone collecting three scores. “With his (Dyson) size he is a big target and obviously that makes him a red zone threat,” continued Legette. “We are going to continue to look for ways to get him the ball.”
Youth was also on display in the drills as freshman quarterback Earl Jackson completed seven of 15 passes and defended a trio of pass plays intercepting one Buccaneer toss. Freshman Leontine Morgan made a splash hauling in Dawsey’s final touchdown pass.
The Falcons will have one more 7-on-7 session next week taking on parish rival Loranger. The two squads worked together earlier in the summer playing to a tie in passing drills.
Falcon host parish rival Loranger for 7-on-7 passing drills.
Falcons collected 361 yards and six touchdowns.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons played host to the Loranger Wolves for a 7-on-7 passing drill session on Thursday. With senior quarterback Ryan Dawsey out of town freshman Earl Jackson stepped up with an impressive day going 18-37 for 236 yard and four touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Casey Artigues was also solid completing 11 passes for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Senior Adam Hetzinger led the Falcons with 11 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, while junior Dustin Dyson had four catches for 94 yards and a score. Freshman Leontine Morgan impressed with seven catches for 68 yards and a score and added a pair of passes defended on defense. Junior Devon Wilson added two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown.
Legette named new head football coach.
Randall Legette, assistant on current staff promoted to head coach.
HAMMOND—Legette, who served as an assistant under former STA head coaches John White and Hutch Gonzales has been selected as the Falcons new head football coach. He previously served as Associate Head Football Assistant Coach starting in 2013 until present coaching the wide receivers and was the special teams coordinator.
“I'm really excited and I’m excited for the program, said Legette. “I’ve built relationships with the kids and the community, so it brought that sense of family. Our motto is ‘Our family. Our School.’ So to have the support from the STA family and community is a blessing.”
Legette is a graduate of John Curtis of River Ridge where is played on three LHSAA State Championship teams in 2002, 2004, and 2005. He received his bachelor degree at Southeastern Louisiana University and his Masters of Education from the University of Missouri at Columbia
He also has served as the head football coach for Holy Ghost Catholic Junior High for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons.
Twelve Falcons earn fourteen spots on the District 8-2A All-District Team.
Senior Zachary Gras delivers a rare feat earning first team selection on both offense and defense, while junior Adam Hetzinger collected first team honors at wide receiver and second team honors at place kicker.
HAMMOND—In a year when the Falcons defied the pundits and critics winning seven games and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, success has its rewards as twelve members of the team earned All-District recognition. Heading the list is senior Zachary Gras who collected double honors being named the first team on offense and defense. Gras was the anchor on both the offensive and defensive lines. Senior Kade Bleakley was named first team quarterback and one of his favorite targets junior Adam Hetzinger also earned first team selection at wide receiver and collected a second team honors at place kicker. Brother Will Hetzinger received first team selection on special teams as the punter.
Senior receivers Brandon Tallo and Jaylen Jackson earned second team honors along with junior Tyler Tillman. Senior Jacob Becerra, who started the season as a tight end and wide out played on both the offensive and defensive lines for the second half of the season and earned second team selection.
Senior Luke DiBeneditto, freshman Kylen Smith, sophomore Devon Wilson, and freshman Rob Quillen received honorable mention recognition.
Falcons spoil the planned Amite Senior Night celebration with a 24-20 upset win!!!!
Saint Thomas improves to 5-2 in District play as they take down the number three ranked team in Class 2A.
AMITE, LA—If a lot us pundits and media types and even some fans can just be honest for a moment, the Amite-Saint Thomas football game was just supposed to be a setup for Amite to celebrate Senior Night with a double-digit win completing a perfect 10-0 season. The game was even moved to Thursday just to kind of get it out of the way, and we would look to Friday night for an actual entertaining, competitive game between some other teams … well, a group of scrappy Falcons had other plans as Saint Thomas spoiled the expected Warrior party with a 24-20 win. Amite entered the game undefeated and number three in the Class 2A LHSAA Power Rankings. Stats and records are great but sometimes heart and belief are even greater . . .
“I am kind of speechless,” said an elated Hutch Gonzales the Falcons head coach. “This is all because of the kids—their commitment, dedication, and belief in the system is the reason for this win.”
The Falcons mounted the first scoring threat of the contest marching down to the Amite five yard line, but quarterback Kade Bleakley tossed an interception to Amite’ s Devonta Lee that ended the threat.
The two teams failed to score in the first quarter but a 35-yard scamper by Lee in the second quarter set up the Warriors at the Falcon one. Lee did the honors for Amite on a strange play mishandled by the officiating crew as they allowed what was an essentially a rugby scrum play that went back and forth with no whistle until Amite’s Lee was finally pushed across the goal line by the pile.
Saint Thomas took advantage of Amite’s poor field position at their own five to tie the score as Tyler Tillman recovered a Cam Henderson fumble for a touchdown. However, Henderson redeemed himself minutes later scoring on a 12-yard run to put Amite up 14-7 at intermission.
The Falcons opened the second half cutting into the Amite lead as Adam Hetzinger made good on a 24-yard field goal with 6:25 left in the third.
Henderson extended the Amite lead to 20 with another rushing touchdown, but a missed extra point left the Warriors with a 20-10 margin with 2:26 showing. Not to be outdone Bleakley answered for the Falcons on their next offensive series rushing 69 yards before he was tackled at the Warrior one. Devon Wilson punched it on from there and Saint Thomas closed within three at 20-17.
Amite threatened again in the fourth marching to the Falcon 30 yard line, but the drive stalled and the Warriors kicked a short punt that put the Falcons back inside their five. Two plays later Bleakley tossed a strike over the top of the Amite defense to Hetzinger who carried it the distance completing an impressive 94-yard scoring play. It would prove to be the winning score as the Falcons went up 24-20 with 9:36 still left to play.
Senior quarterback Kade Bleakley impressed both on the ground and in the air rushing nine times for 98 yards and completing 11 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. Special teams which proved key in victory saw the Hetzinger brothers roll up some solid numbers as Will punted four times for a 41.5 average and Adam was perfect on extra points while adding a 24-yard field goal.
The Warriors had multiple chances to mount a scoring drive to retake the lead, but the Saint Thomas defense proved very stingy and a Will Hetzinger interception and a nine-yard run by Wilson on a second and ten followed by a dive by Bleakley sealed the deal as the Falcons were able to run out the clock.
Senior Luke DiBeneditto led the Falcons on defense with nine solo tackles while forcing two Amite fumbles. Junior Adam Hetzinger was next with seven tackles followed by brother Will with six and freshman Kylen Smith with six. Seniors Zach Gras and Jacob Becerra added four and a half and four tackles respectively.
“This win means a lot to our program,” continued Gonzales. “This is not our Super Bowl. We still have playoff to prepare for next week, but for my first season to be a winning season and to beat a great team like Amite is really special.”
Falcons seniors go out in style with 27-6 Senior Night win over Pine!
Saint Thomas improves to 4-2 in District play.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons celebrated Senior Night by capturing their second straight victory in District 8-2A play after defeating the visiting Pine Raiders 27-6 in action at Pete Valenti Field Friday.
The win improves the Falcons to 4-2 in league play and sole possession of third place in the District 8-2A standings. Pine dropped to 3-3 in league play.
Saint Thomas quarterback Kade Bleakley led the Falcon offense tossing for three touchdown passes in the second quarter building a Falcon 20-0 advantage. Bleakley threw a fourth touchdown pass on the Falcon’s first possession of the third quarter to end the Saint Thomas scoring.
“Big win for our program,” said first-year Falcon head coach Hutch Gonzales. “This puts us at 5-4 on the season over .500 again and that’s huge for this program. We gotta go play a big one next week, but this one we are really gonna enjoy for a little bit. We wanted to throw the ball offensively and open it up and widen their defense to create opportunities.”
Both teams went scoreless in the opening quarter. Saint Thomas recovered a Raider fumble when Will Hetzinger pounced on the ball at the Raider 30 yard line. However, the Falcons could not take advantage of field position giving the ball up on downs when Falcon quarterback Kade Bleakley threw incomplete pass to Adam Hetzinger on a fourth-and-15 situation. The Falcon offense took full advantage
taking possession at its own 20 and scoring four plays later when Bleakley rifled a 66-yard touchdown pass to Adam Hetzinger. The point after failed leaving the score 6-0 with 7:37 left to play in the first half.
Later in the period Pine threatened with a 14-play drive reaching the STA 20, but the Falcon defense came up with a big play when Jaylen Jackson intercepted a Raider pass attempt in the end zone.
The Raiders put together a seven-play drive reaching the Falcon nine yard line, but the Falcon defense stiffened again and Pine failed to score when a pass attempt went incomplete in the end zone on a fourth-and goal situation at the Falcon eight yard line.
Saint Thomas took over possession on downs and scored five plays later when Bleakley connected with Tyler Tillman on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Adam Hetzinger kicked the point after to give STA a 13-0 with 1:22 remaining in the half. Highlighting the drive was Bleakley, who had pass completions of 12 yards to Adam Hetzinger and another completion of 34 yards to Jackson.
Following the kickoff, the Raiders coughed up the football and STA's Will Hetzinger scooped up the ball returning it 11 yards to the Raider four yard line with :33 seconds remaining.
Two plays later, Bleakley found a wide open Jackson in the corner of the end zone on a two yard touchdown pass play with :13 seconds left. Adam Hetzinger added the extra point to make it 20-0 at the break.
A steady rainfall began in the third quarter. The Falcons took the second half kickoff and put together a seven-play drive reaching the Raider 23, but Pine intercepted a Bleakley pass attempt ending a scoring threat.
Pine had a 33-yard gain by running back Damarea Odom that moved the ball into Falcon territory at the 41, bu the Falcon defense stiffened again forcing the Raiders to turn the ball over on downs after failing to complete a pass on a fourth-and-11 situation.
Saint Thomas took possession at its own 43 and mounted a nine-play, 57-yard drive that ended with Bleakley tossing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Hetzinger. Hetzinger kicked the PAT to make it 27-0 with 9:58 remaining in the game.
Highlighting the drive was a 14-yard run by Devon Wilson and a nine yard pass completion from Bleakley to Jackson.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders averted a shutout with a 11-play, 65-yard drive that was culminated by a 11-yard touchdown run by running back Damarea Odom. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score 27-6 with 6:59 left. Highlighting the drive for the Raiders were a pair of pass completions of 27 and 24 yards by Pine quarterback Joey Seal to Jordan Anderson and to Markell Cotten that moved the ball down to the Falcon six.
Saint Thomas recovered a onside kick by Pine that gave the Falcons possession at their own 48.
The Falcons worked the game clock running it down before giving the ball up on downs on a missed 44-yard field goal attempt by Adam Hetzinger.
Pine took possession with 2:14 remaining and would not score again making the final 27-6.
“Our defense filled the gaps, got in their backfield and tackled hard.” continued Gonzales. “The defense created turnovers for us and I really proud of the effort.”
Falcons take down rival Springfield in impressive fashion 45-0.
Saint Thomas strikes fast rolling up 21 first quarter points.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons took their aerial show on the road and took care of business over rival Springfield in impressive fashion scoring a 45-0 District 8-2A win. The victory evened the Falcon’s overall mark at 4-4 and put them in the win column in league play at 3-2.
“When you put together a good game plan and the players execute well it is a fun night at the ballpark and everyone got to play,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Hutch Gonzales. “The guys played hard tonight and I am really proud of the effort.”
The Falcon defense in pitching a shutout collected 14 stops for zero yards or losses in Springfield’s 24 rush attempts. Senior Luke DiBenedetto led the team in tackles with seven and Zach Gras was a close second with 6 and a half tackles while seniors Will Hetzinger and Jacob Becerra had 3 and two and a half respectively. On offense senior Kade Bleakley finished with 16 pass completions on 19 attempts for 208 yards.
The Falcon offense did not need to take the field to get the Saint Thomas scoring fest started. After the Falcon defense gave up one first down on a 13-yard run by Zac Wild on the game’s opening possession, they forced the Bulldogs into a fourth and ten. Junior Tyler Tillman collected the punt and raced 77 yards for a touchdown. The point after was good by junior Adam Hetzinger giving the Falcons a 7-0 lead with 8:43 showing.
The Saint Thomas defense delivered again on Springfield’s ensuing possession forcing and three and out giving the Falcons the ball at the 50 after a short punt. Senior quarterback Kade Bleakley tossed six passes to three different receivers to march to the Bulldog three where senior Brandon Tallo finished off the drive with scoring run. With the Hetzinger point after, the Falcons led 14-0 with 2:39 left in the first.
Springfield managed only five yards on the next possession but a good punt set the Falcons back at their 19 yard line with just 14 seconds left in the first quarter. It would be all that Bleakley needed as he tossed a quick 19-yard strike to sophomore Devon Wilson and then a 62-yard rainbow to junior Adam Hetzinger for a touchdown ending the quarter with the Falcons owning a 21-0 advantage.
The Falcons started the second quarter just like the first forcing a Bulldog punt and then driving for a score. This time it was a 20-yard field goal by Hetzinger putting Saint Thomas up 24-0.
The Bulldogs ran just two plays on their ensuing possession before giving up a fumble recovered by freshman Hunter Bujol setting Saint Thomas up at the Springfield 18. Bleakley needed just one play passing 18 yards to Wilson for six. Hetzinger converted and the Falcons owned a commanding 31-0 lead with 6:50 still left before halftime.
Back-to-back sacks by the Falcon defense set the Saint Thomas offense up at the Bulldog 30 following a punt and the visiting Falcons proceeded to wear out their welcome adding one more score before intermission. Tallo did the honors scoring his second touchdown on the night completing the six-play march. With the point after the Falcons took a 38-0 advantage into halftime.
Saint Thomas added one final score on a 16-play drive that started in the third culminating in an 11-yard pass to Tillman i the fourth who made a circus catch over a Bulldog defender. Hetzinger completed his point after duties perfect on the night as the Falcons owned a 45-0 lead with 11:06 left.
The Falcons will return home next Friday hosting Pine as they celebrate Senior Night before finishing up the regular season on the road art Amite.
Falcons celebrate Homecoming with 52-31 win over rival Northlake.
Saint Thomas senior quarterback Kade Bleakley scores four rushing TDs and passes for two more. Senior Leslie Matherne was named Homecoming Queen at halftime.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons celebrated Homecoming and collected a key 52-30 District 8-2A victory over the Northlake Christian Wolverines in action Friday at Pete Valenti Field.
The win improved STA to 2-2 in league play, while Northlake fell to 1-3.
“It’s a good win,” said Falcon head coach Hutch Gonzales. “A week with lot of festivities and all that good stuff, but the important part was to come out here and get a win in a football game. We had a game plan. We felt we had great matchups on the outside with our wide receivers. We have really good skill players, but we’ve been struggling up-front a little bit so we wanted to ask them to do less and put more onus on our skill guys and they really responded. They played well and we our proud of the overall effort tonight.”
Saint Thomas opened the scoring on their first possession in the first quarter as the Falcons marched 67 yards in nine plays capping the drive on a four yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Kady Bleakley. Adam Hetzinger booted the point after to give Saint Thomas a 7-0 lead with 8:03 left in the period. It would be the first four rushing touchdowns for the Bleakley while he passed for two more.
Northlake answered three plays later when quarterback Devon Tott found Glynn Valentine on a hitch pass to the sideline that went for a 63-yard touchdown. The point after was missed leaving the score 7-6 with 6:38 remaining. Saint Thomas responded with a second straight scoring drive marching 70 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. The drive ended with Bleakley going in on a seven yard scamper off the option play. Hetzinger added the PAT to make it 14-6 with 4:09 left in the period. Highlighting this drive was Bleakley finding Brandon Tallo on a 30-yard pass completion that moved the ball down to the Wolverine 40 and then another 15-yard completion to Jaylen Jackson that put the ball at the Wolverine 15 yard line.
A Devon Wilson pass interception for Saint Thomas gave the Falcons possession at the Northlake 46. But Northlake forced the Falcons to punt after Bleakley was sacked for a 13-yard loss. The Wolverines took over at their own 26 and scored three plays later on a 67-yard touchdown run by Nick Morman. The two-point conversion failed and Saint Thomas continued nursing a 14-12 advantage with 11:07 left in the first half.
The Falcon defense got on the board when Northlake quarterback Devon Tott was sacked by the Falcon pass rush and he coughed up the football. SeniorLuke DiBenedetto scooped up the ball and rambled 23 yards for a Falcon touchdown. Hetzinger added the PAT to make it 21-12 with 8:07 left in the period.
Following a Northlake punt, the Falcons took possession near midfield. Three plays later Saint Thomas scored their fourth touchdown of the half when Bleakley connected with Adam Hetzinger on a 53-yard touchdown pass. Hetzinger kicked the PAT to make it 28-12 with 5:34 remaining.
The Falcons were not done, however, as Adam Hetzinger booted a onside kick and recovered the ball giving the Falcons possession at the Northlake 49 yard line.
Saint Thomas took advantage of the short field with Bleakley scoring on a 23-yard touchdown running straight up the middle of the Wolverine defense. Hetzinger added the PAT to make it 35-12 with 4:50 left before halftime.
Highlighting the drive was Bleakley breaking loose on a 30-yard run that moved the ball to the Wolverine 23.
Following a Northlake punt, the Falcons put together an eight-play drive reaching the Wolverine 35. But the Falcons could not convert a fourth-and-1 situation and turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute left in the half.
In the third quarter, the Wolverines cut into the deficit when Morman operating out of the pistol formation took the snap and broke three tackles in rambling to a 57-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed leaving Saint Thomas with a 35-18 lead with 8:53 remaining in the period.
The Falcons recovered a Wolverine onside kick attempt at their own 49. Saint Thomas mounted a seven-play, 53-yard drive that was culminated by a Bleakley to Tallo 39-yard touchdown reception. Hetzinger added the point after to keep Saint Thomas a comfortable lead at 42-18 with 5:46 left in the quarter.
The Wolverines kept chipping away the lead, however as Northlake put together a four-play, 56-yard drive that was capped by a Wesley Brown 10-yard touchdown run up the middle to cut the Falcon advantage to 42-24 with 1:41 left. The drive was aided by a personal foul and face mask penalties against the Falcons.
Following a Falcon punt, the Wolverines marched 56 yards in six plays capping a drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by Brown. The point after was successful and Northlake trailed 42-31 with 10:27 left in the game. The drive was aided by a pass interference penalty and a 37-yard pass completion from Tott to Rashaan Duke that moved the ball to the STA 12.
Following the kickoff, the Falcons regained the momentum by putting together a key 10-play, 56 yard drive that ended with Bleakley scoring his fourth rushing TD of the game. Bleakley ran in for the two-point conversion score to make it 50-31 with just 5:52 remaining in the contest. A 15-yard pass reception from Bleakley to Jackson on a key third down conversion highlighted the drive.
Northlake went to a hurry-up offense but turned the ball over on downs. The Wolverines recovered a fumble in their own end zone late in the game resulting into a two-point safety score for Saint Thomas making the final score 52-30.
“We just didn't have many answers for (STA) them offensively, said Northlake head coach Anthony Agresta. “We played much better in the second half and that’s more like a Northlake football team, but we had just dug a hole that was a little too deep for ourselves early. I’m proud of my kids effort. Hats off to Saint Thomas they really did a great job.”
Saint Thomas, now 3-4 overall, will play at Springfield next Friday.
JV Falcon wrap up season with 14-0 win over Hannan.
Saint Thomas defense collected 11 tackles for losses and five sacks.
HAMMOND—The JV Falcons wrapped up their season in impressive fashion scoring a 14-0 shutout of the visiting Archbiship Hannan Hawks in action Wednesday. The Saint Thomas defense collected 11 tackles for losses and five sacks while freshman Casey Artigues led the offense on a pair of 65-yard drives for scores rushing for both touchdowns.
The Falcons got on the board midway through the second quarter using eight plays to march 65 yards with the drive capped off by a five-yard run by Artigues. Saint Thomas went for two with Artigues again doing the honors to take an 8-0 advantage at the half. Freshman running back Hayes Daigle was the workhorse on the drive rushing four times for 37 yards.
Saint Thomas burned up the third quarter with another 65-yard drive converting a pair of fourth downs and scoring two minutes into the final period. Artigues performed the duties scoring on a three-yard scamper. The try for two fell short but the Falcons held a 14-0 lead with just 6:10 left to play.
Falcons and Tigers combine for 91 points.
Saint Thomas Aquinas comes up short 54-37 in scoring fest.
HAMMOND—The math geeks were kept busy Friday as the Independence Tigers and Saint Thomas Falcons combined for 91 points in a key District 8-2A contest with the Tigers earning a 54-37 victory. Independence used a solid running game and a collected three Falcons turnovers to roll up 54 points, while Saint Thomas used an impressive passing attack and two successful onside kicks to tally their points. The win put the Tigers into a tie with the Falcons in district play with each posting a 1-1 mark.
“There is no other way to say it but that we are not a good tackling team right now and have a lot to work on,” said Falcon head coach Hutch Gonzales. “Offensively, the guys are starting to understand what we are trying to do and executing much better. We did a lot of good things in the passing game, and we were able to run the ball with more consistency.”
Indeed the contest was a battle between the ground game and the passing game as Independence rolled up 441 yard on 37 rushes, while Falcons used an air attack to amass 351 yards on 24 pass completions. Senior quarterback Kade Bleakley tossed four touchdown passes with three going to junior Adam Hetzinger who had six catches for 140 yards. Senior Brandon Tallo followed up his nine catch performance last week against Pope John Paul II
with seven catches for 65 yards against the Tigers.
The Falcons dominated the first two possessions of the game forcing a Tiger punt on the game’s opening drive and then marching 68 yards in seven plays to take the lead on a 37-yard toss from Bleakley to Hetzinger with 6:58 showing in the first. Independence answered, however, two minutes later and went on a 28-3 run to go by 18 at intermission. Indy seniors Stephen Jackson and Anthony Mcclain did the damage combining for four touchdown as Jackson scored on runs of 52 and 28 yards and Mcclain rushes of 30 and 25 yards.
The two teams took a break from their scoring spree in the third quarter but more than made up for in the final period as the Falcons scored 27 points and the Tigers tacked on another 26. Indy struck first scoring on a 26-yard run by junior Malik Merrell and that was followed by a Falcon 65-yard pass from Bleakley to Hetzinger.
The Tigers built their largest lead of the contest scoring twice as Merrell scored from 48 yards out and Mcclain on a 34-yard interception return giving Independence a 48-16 advantage.
The Falcons dominated the final six minutes scoring three time sparked by converting two onside kicks, but the Tiger lead was too large to overcome. Junior Zach Gore scored on a six-yard run, Hetzinger collected his third touchdown of the night on an 11-yard pass from Bleakley and junior Tyler Tillman scored on 45-yard toss from Bleakley.
Junior Tyler Tillman and seniors Luke DiBeneditto and Zach Gras paced the defense with Tillman collecting six tackles, DiBeneditto notching four and half tackles and recovering a fumble and Gras with four solo tackles.
Falcons take the early lead and then outlast rallying Jaguars.
Saint Thomas Aquinas opens District 8-2A play with 36-26 victory over Pope John Paul II
HAMMOND—District 8-2A play began Friday and the road teams dominated the action with three district travelers earning wins including the Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons who outlasted the home-standing Pope John Paul II Jaguars 36-26. The victory evened the Falcons overall mark to 2-2.
“I thought we executed really well on our first three drives, but with a lot of guys playing both ways we got a bit gassed on defense and gave up a couple of turnovers that allowed them to get back in it,” said Saint Thomas head coach Hutch Gonzales. “We don’t have all the depth we would like right now, but this group always gives us everything that they have leaving it all on the field. I was proud of the way they overcame some mistakes and fatigue and finished to get the win.”
Indeed the Falcon offense was working on all cylinders for most of the contest as senior quarterback Kade Bleakley connected on 18 of 28 passes for 242 yards and five touchdowns. Senior wide out Brandon Tallo proved to be his favorite target on the night as the senior collected nine receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Tyler Tillman and senior Luke DiBeneditto combined with 15 and half tackles with Tillman accounting for eight and a half. Junior Adam Hetzinger added five and half tackles and prevented a Jaguar touchdown recovering a high snap on a punt managing to get off the kick to prevent a turnover in the Falcon’s end zone.
The Bleakley-Tallo duo started the scoring for Saint Thomas as the Falcons took the game’s opening possession 75 yards in seven plays with Bleakley tossing a scoring pass to Tallo from five yards out. Junior Adam Hetzinger added the extra point and Saint Thomas led 7-0 with 8:58 showing.
The Falcon defense pitched a three-and-out on the Jaguars first possession and the Saint Thomas offense rewarded their effort with a four play drive that culminated in a four-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Dustin Dyson. The point after was missed but the Falcons took a 13-0 lead with 5:20 left in the first.
The Falcon defense took center stage again on Pope John Paul’s ensuing possession as junior Tyler Tillman recovered a Jaguar fumble setting the Falcons up at the Pope John Paul 20. The Jaguar defense stiffened this time, however, and Saint Thomas had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Hetzinger padding their advantage to 16-0 with 2:18 showing.
The early Falcon scoring spree continued just minutes later as Bleakley intercepted a Jaguar pass setting up his offense inside the Jaguar’s’ 45. Seven plays later Bleakley hit Hetzinger with four yard strike with 6:59 left before halftime. Hetzinger booted the point after giving the Falcons a 23-0 lead.
The Jaguars offense got on track to start the second half as they took the opening possession in for a score with Reese Satterlee doing the honors. The point after was missed but Pope John Paul was on the board.
The Jaguar defense delivered on the Falcons next possession forcing a punt and the Pope John Paul offense cut into the Falcon lead again with a scoring drive highlighted by the running of senior Matt Castillo who finished the scoring march with four-yard run. The extra point was missed but the Jaguars were closer at 23-12.
The Falcon offense responded on the next possession with Bleakley going back to Tallo connecting for an 10-yard touchdown giving Saint Thomas a 29-12 lead with 11:54 left in the contest. Not done yet, Bleakley padded the Falcon lead minutes later with another touchdown toss. This time to senior Jacob Becerra and with the Hetzinger kick the Falcon held a commanding 36-12 lead.
Saint Thomas would need the big advantage as the Jaguars found the end zone two more times in the final period with Pope John Paul adding a pair of scoring drives before time expired.
JV Falcons score a 28-8 win over the Jaguars with an impressive run game.
Freshman Casey Artigues and junior Zach Gore combine for 269 yards rushing and three interceptions. QUICK GAME GALLERY.
HAMMOND—The JV Falcons used an impressive ground game to run past the visiting Pope John Paul II Jaguars Wednesday night as Saint Thomas collected 292 yards rushing to score a 28-8 win.
The Falcons and Jaquars traded a pair of three-and-outs and interceptions to start the contest but with 6:40 left in the second quarter Saint Thomas got their ground game going marching 60 yards in just four plays to take an early 6-0 lead as junior Zach Gore did the honors from one yard out.
Pope John Paul II returned the favor two possessions later converting a third and fifteen into a 47-yard touchdown and then added a two-point conversion to take an 8-6 advantage at halftime.
Saint Thomas retook command of the contest to start the second half marching 65 yards in 11 plays to regain the lead 14-8. Freshman Casey Artigues capped off the march with an 11-yard score and Gore scampered three yards for the two-point conversion.
The Falcon defense pitched a three-and-out on the Jaguars next possession and the Saint Thomas offense cashed in another 11-play drive to pad their lead as Artigues again found the end zone on a 12-yard jaunt. The try for two failed but Saint Thomas had a 20-8 advantage with 6:17 left.
Artigues finished off the Jaguars on the Falcons next possessions reversing field on a run that covered 43 yards and set up a three-yard touchdown run by freshman Mason Dominick. Artigues found freshman Mikel Coston open for two to close out the scoring.
Knights hand Falcons 24-14 setback.
Saint Thomas comes up short in game of field position and miscues.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons dropped a 24-14 loss to the visiting Episcopal Knights in a non-district contest played at Pete Valenti Field in a contest of field position.
“Field position was huge tonight,” said STA head coach Hutch Gonzales. “We started on our twenty or less nearly every possession—they did not. One, because of our turnovers and two, we weren’t able to run move the ball in the second half.”
The Knights (2-0) used a balanced offensive attack in distributing the football mixing the run and pass with their Wing-T offense.
Episcopal got on the scoreboard first on their first offensive possession. The Knight put together a no-huddle 13-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Caden Dickinson. Russ St. Romain kicked the PAT to make it 7-0 with 7:40 left in the period. Highlighting the drive was a pair of runs by Chris Hatzis of 10 and 12 yards and quarterback Kaden Edenfield completed three of four passes for 47 yards.
Saint Thomas Aquinas answered scoring on their first possession. The Falcons marched 75 yards in 13 plays on a drive was capped when quarterback Kade Bleakley rolled out to the right side scoring on a six yard touchdown run. Adam Hetzinger added the PAT tying the contest at 7-7 with 3:06 left in the quarter. The Falcons had three third-down conversions to keep the drive going which included a roughing the passer penalty against the Knights on a third-and-13 situation.
The Falcons mounted another drive crossing midfield however, running back Devon Wilson coughed up the ball on a 15-yard gain that resulted with Episcopal recovering it to end a scoring threat.
The Knights capitalized on the turnover mounting a 60-yard drive in 10 plays scoring on 17-yard touchdown run on by running back Cole Carmouche. Russ St. Romain kicked the PAT to give Epsicopal a 14-7 edge with 6:03 remaining in the first half. Running back Chris Hatzis sparked the drive rushing for 37 yards on six carries for the Knights.
Saint Thomas committed another turnover on its next possession. Episcopal's Brandon Garrido intercepted a Bleakley pass attempt at the Falcon 45 and returned the ball down to the 27.
Episcopal took advantage of the miscue scoring on a eight-play drive that ended with a 26-yard field goal by Russ St. Romain to make it 17-7 with 1:46 left to play in the half.
Saint Thomas responded by executing its two-minute offense to perfection. The Falcons marched 80 yards in 10 plays down to the Episcopal 18. Two plays later, Bleakley found Will Hetzinger wide open in the end zone for a 18-yard touchdown pass play. Adam Hetzinger added the PAT and Saint Thomas trailed 17-14 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Falcons punted on their first possession. Episcopal threw a pass interception on its next series as Ryan Dawsey picked off a pass attempt at the Falcon 45. But a roughing the passer penalty negated the play giving Episcopal a automatic first down at the Saint Thomas 39. The Knights would have to punt three plays later as the Saint Thomas defense stiffened.
Saint Thomas benefitted from a roughing-the-punter penalty on Episcopal giving STA possession at their own 40. The Knights were flagged for a face-mask and a pass interference penalties moving the ball down to the Episcopal 33.
But Episcopal's defense held forcing the Falcons to turn the ball over on downs after Bleakley was sacked on a fourth-and 11 situation.
STA punted on the first play of scrimmage in the fourth quarter. The Knights took possession at their own 42 and mounted a drive that reached the Falcon 23. STA's defense stiffened and Episcopal was forced into a field goal attempt. A bad snap from center saw Edenfield throw a desperation pass into the end zone where the ball was tipped and caught in the air by Howell Eglin for a touchdown leaving the score 24-14 with 7:42 left to play in the game.
The Falcons mounted a 10-play drive reaching the Episcopal 10 yard line. Highlighting the drive was a 35-yard gain by Wilson. But a 15-yard loss by Bleakley on a quarterback sack followed by a holding penalty pushed Saint Thomas back to its own 37 facing a fourth-and-goal situation.
Episcopal intercepted a pass attempt by Bleakley at the Falcon 10 ended the scoring threat with 3:07 remaining to play.
“We had some big miscues that we are going to have to get corrected and we'll go from there."
continued Gonzales. “We knew they (Episcopal) were a disciplined football team. Our defense made a lot of big plays. We just have to take advantage of opportunities when we get them and we didn’t always do that tonight.”
”Give credit to Episcopal’s defense as they capitalized on our mistakes, but were going to learn from it and bounce back and come back be ready to play next week,” continued STA defensive coordinator Boomer Nunez. “We didn’t stop their offense to help our offense so we got to get better.”
Saint Thomas (1-1) will travel to play Catholic-New Iberia next Friday night.
Falcons impress in opener with 63-14 win over The Church Academy.
New head coach Hutch Gonzales get his first win on opening day.
HAMMOND—The Hutch Gonzales era kicked off in impressive fashion Friday nigth as the Saint Thomas Falcons opened their season under their new head coach with a 63-14 romp over the visiting Crusaders of The Church Academy..
“We scrimmaged some bigger, established teams before the start of the season that were just better than us, but when we compete with teams on our level physically we can be pretty darn good,” said Falcon head coach Hutch Gonzales. “The guys continue to improve each week and it is always special as a new head coach to get your first win at home.”
The Falcons wasted no time taking charge of the contest. After handing the Crusaders a quick three and out, Saint Thomas marched 60 yards in just three plays as senior Kade Bleakley tossed the first of six touchdown passes to sophomore Dustin Dyson for 31-yards. The point after was missed but the Falcons led 6-0.
The Falcon defense delivered another three and out and Bleakley went to the air again for another score completing a five-play drive with a 28-yard touchdown strike to senior Will Hetzinger. Brother Adam Hetzinger added the extra point to put Saint Thomas up 13-0.
The defense chipped in two more points on the Crusaders next possession as they forced a safety on a punt. Bleakley followed that up on the Falcons ensuing drive with a third touchdown toss this time to senior Jaylen Jackson. Hetzinger converted and the Falcons we up 21-0 after one quarter.
Jackson continued his heroics setting up the next touchdown with a 31-yard interception return to the Crusader seven. Sophomore Devon Wilson cashed it two plays later with a one-yard plunge. The Falcons were not done yet with their first half scoring spree. Bleakley hit Dyson for 69-yard touchdown and with Hetzinger’s point after Saint Thomas held a commanding 35-0 lead at the half.
Saint Thomas opened the second half much like the first as Bleakley connected with Wilson for an 84-yard touchdown his fifth of the night. The Crusaders were dismissed three plays later and Bleakley went back to work this time with a 28-yard scoring toss to Jackson.
A short punt set up the Falcons next score as Saint Thomas started on the Crusader 25 needing just three plays to cash in as junior Ryan Dawsey scored from three yards out.
The Church Academy got on the board on their next possession when sophomore Caleb Kibodi collected a pass and ran for a score. The Falcons answered on the ensuing kickoff as Dyson rumbled 73 yard for the Falcons final touchdown. Kibodi added another score for the Crusaders on their final possession with a 58-yard run after catching a short pass to close it out.
The Falcons will continue their homestand next friday when they host Episcopal.
Falcons scrimmage Newman in pre-season workout.
Saint Thomas will have one more tune-up next Friday in the Jamboree as they take on Saint Charles-Catholic on the road.
NEW ORLEANS—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football team began preparations for the 2017 season with a scrimmage against Isidore Newman played at Michael Lupin Field in New Orleans.
The field is the same turf where NFL Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Eli Manning had played on when they attended Newman in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The scrimmage included a controlled portion and a live 12-minute period with no coaches on the field.
“We had some guys that were confused,” said Saint Thomas head coach Hutch Gonzales. “We had some guys on defense that left wide open receivers in space out there especially on key third-down situations. There just some stuff right now that we have to look back at the film and see who was in the wrong place and get it fixed.”
“That’s good group of football players (Newman) over there,” continued Gonzales. “That’s what this Newman team does in throwing the ball down field a lot. During the timed quarter we were tough up front as they struggled to run the ball, but were gonna have to figure it out in the back end of our defense.”
Saint Thomas was not able to find the end zone in both the controlled and live segments of the scrimmage, but did have opportunites to score.
Meanwhile Newman found the end zone several times in the scrimmage which pitted first and second units of both schools against each other.
Newman's first unit scored on its first initial drive from their own 30-yard line. The Greenies marched 70 yards in 14 plays culminating the drive with a one yard touchdown run.
The Falcons saw its first unit drive come to a halt on a pass attempt that was batted up in the air and picked off. The Falcons had several passes either tipped or batted down at the line of scrimmage. Another drive by the Falcon first unit was stopped by a interception at midfield.
The Falcons’ second unit reached the Newman 43 on solid runs by Zach Gore. However, quarterback Casey Artigues was sacked and then had a pass batted down to end the drive.
Later Artiques was sacked for a loss and threw a interception to end another drive. Saint Thomas returned the favor when Newman’s first unit mounted a drive to the Falcon 45 where Falcon linebacker Terrance Jackson intercepted a tipped pass to stop the drive.
In the game condition segment, Newman put together a 10-play, 70-yard drive that was climaxed by a four yard touchdown run.
The Falcons could not answer as Newman’s defense intercepted a Ryan Dawsey pass attempt three plays later. The other two Falcon possessions during timed play saw Saint Thomas punt and then a Dawsey pass attempt was intercepted in the end zone on the final play of the scrimmage. The latter possession was setup by a pair of Newman personal foul penalties that moved the football down to the 36 yard line.
Saint Thomas will prepare this week for its Jamboree contest against Saint Charles-Catholic slated for Friday in Laplace.
“We gotta another tough one next week against Saint Charles,” said Gonzales. “Our guys will have to respond. Offensively, we need to be more consistent. A couple of our drives we just didn’t finish, and we had too many dropped passes. The focus this week is to finish our drives and make progress. We’re working to get better every single day, and I expect we will.”
Falcons ready to start a “new” season.
With a double-digit class of freshmen, a new coach, a new approach, and a new District, Saint Thomas Aquinas Football will have a lot of "new" this season.
HAMMOND—Saint Thomas Aquinas Football will have a lot “new” this season as the Falcons welcomed a new coach with a new approach, a pair of new teams in the District, and 13 freshmen along with some upperclassmen returning to play on the gridiron.
Hutch Gonzales was named the new head mentor of the Falcon football program replacing John White. Gonzales, who inherits a team that finished with a 3-7 mark last season, was an assistant coach at Lakeshore and Fountainbleau for several years. He played at SLU when football was reinstated at the University at wide receiver.
Gonzales welcomed 45 players to this year's squad and will have 15 seniors dotting the roster. He also will have several new faces coming out for football.
“Our senior leadership is awesome and it’s great to have,” said Gonzales. “We actually have some guys that came out late when they found out that I was coach and wanted to play. It is also encouraging to see a big freshmen class come out because that’s the future of the program. We need to work on the numbers in the junior and sophomore classes but overall our numbers are up.”
The Falcons return seven players on the offensive side of the ball. Gonzales will have a new signal caller directing multiple spread alignment that will feature four wide receivers. Senior Kade Bleakley and junior Ryan Dawsey will be competing for the quarterback position.
Joining them in the backfield will be junior Zach Gore and Devin Wilson at running back. Bleakley and Dawsey will have an abundance of experienced receivers to throw as well. Senior Will Hetzinger returns at the slot position and sophomore Jacob Becerra, senior Jaylin Jackson and sophomore Dustin Dyson all are returning starters at the other receiver spots.
Up front, the Falcons return junior right guard Trystan Gulotta, senior left guard Patrick Davis and senior right tackle Jake Richardson. New starters will include senior Cameron Perrin at center, freshman Kylen Smith at left tackle.
Defensively, the Falcons return 10 starters and Gonzales will employ the 3-4 alignment that features three down lineman and four linebackers. Along the line, the Falcons will have all three returning starters in senior Tyler Edwards at nose guard and senior Zach Gras and junior Justin Deliberto at the end positions.
Seniors Terrance Jackson, Luke Beneditto and junior Tyler Tillman return at the linebacker spots. The lone newcomer will be sophomore Thomas Wiseman.
The secondary will have four players returning with seniors Craivon Lewis and Tyrice Edwards holding down the corners. Junior Adam Hetzinger is the free safety and is joined by older brother Will Hetzinger at strong safety
The kicking game will feature the Hetzinger brothers as senior Will Hetzinger was named All-State as a punter last year and Adam Hetzinger will continue to handle the punting and placekicking duties.
The schedule will have the Falcons opening at home the first two games hosting The Christian Life Academy in week one followed by and Episcopal in week two. The District 9-2A competition begins early this year as the Falcons take on Pope John Paul in week four. The league has two newcomers in Amite and Independence due to reclassification.
“We have a extremely talented district,” said Gonzales. “When you add a team like Amite along with Saint Helena, who won the District last season and has a lot of talent returning, that is pretty strong. But then there is Northlake that is always tough and well coached, and Independence coming down from 3A making this one of the tougher 2A Disitrcts in the state.”
“I feel like we stack up well athletically, we just have to go out there and play and believe that we can play with those teams and if we do, we can make some noise in our district,” continued Gonzales.
Gonzales pointed out in the limited time he has seen in the team’s preseason conditioning and drills what might be a chief strength for his squad.
“Our skill guys are big and can really run, and we are a lot bigger up front than we have been in previous years,” Gonzales said. “We got some better size on both sides of the ball.”
Hutch takes the helm.
Former Southeastern Lion to lead Falcon Football.
HAMMOND—Saint Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School has selected Covington native Hutch Gonzales as head coach for the Falcon football team. Gonzales is a familiar face in Hammond as he played wide receiver for Coach Hal Mumme’s first Southeastern Louisiana University Lions team after the return of football.
While at Southeastern, Gonzales was an All-Conference Wide Receiver. He signed professional contracts to play wide receiver for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2006 and for the AFL New Orleans VooDoo in 2011. He has been offensive coordinator for both Lakeshore High School and Fontainebleau High School.
“I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to join the STA family and coach the young men of their football program,” said Gonzales. “My family and I are excited to be back in the Hammond area as both my wife and I attended Southeastern. I am very familiar with the many successes that this program has had through the years and can’t wait to help them get back to the top of their game. This is a great football community and there is nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Gonzales and his wife Ashley have two children: Samantha, age seven, and Max, age four.
Falcons collect post season honors.
Saint Thomas puts 11 on All-District Team and junior Will Hetzinger honored with LSWA First Team All-State selection.
HAMMOND—The Falcons earned 11 spots on the 2016 District 7-2A All-District Team including two first team selections with junior Will Hetzinger headlining the list earning First Team selection to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-State Team as the punter.
Senior Jacob Bordok earned first team honors on defense along with Hetzinger who was the first team punter. Second Team All-District honors went to Brad Lewis, running back; Jaylen Jackson, wide receiver, Zach Gras, defensive lineman, Luke DiBenedetto, linebacker; and Cravion Lewis, defensive back.
Seniors Glen Ferrill and Preston Richardson headed up the Honorable Mention All-District selections along with juniors Michael Dickson and TJ Jackson.
Falcons final offensive flurry falls just short.
Saint Thomas rallies from 19 points down to close within two before time ran out.
HAMMOND—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football ended regular season play with a 17-point offensive burst to rally from a 19-point deficit, but it was not enough as the Falcons came up just short
in a 19-17 loss to the Pine Raiders in a District 7-2A contest played at SLU’s Strawberry Stadium.
Saint Thomas was holding onto the last playoff spot in Division III with a No. 16 power rating entering the contest against Pine. The Falcons (3-7 overall, 3-3 in district) will have to await its playoff fate on Sunday when the LHSAA announces the playoff pairings for all select teams. Meanwhile Pine improved to 6-3 on the season and 3-3 in league play and will make the playoffs in the non-select Class 2A playoffs.
“Our offense sputtered tonight,” said STA coach John White. “But we made some big plays late. I’m so proud with the way we competed for 48 minutes. Real proud of our small senior class. They did a great job. There’s a slim shot we can get in the playoffs. We’ll see how everything turns out tonight and wait until Sunday and see what happens.”
Saint Thomas went three-and-out on its opening possession and had to punt deep in their own territory. Pine returned the punt 12 yards into Falcon territory and mounted a nine-play drive reaching the Saint Thomas 15 yard line. The Falcon defense stiffened and the Raiders missed on a 24-yard field goal attempt with 5:56 left to play in the first quarter.
Later the Raiders were forced to punt deep in their own territory and the Falcons began their next possession at the Pine 44. The Saint Thomas offensive unit could take advantage of the field position after going three-and-out again.
The first turnover of the game came in the second quarter when STA quarterback Tyler Finley threw a interception when Pine linebacker Jakob Simmons picked off the pass attempt at the 38 and returned it 37 yards down the Saint Thomas one yard line. On the very next play, Raider quarterback Joey Seal scored on a one yard plunge. Christian Edwards booted the point after to give Pine a 7-0 edge with 4:47 remaining in the half.
Saint Thomas punted for the fourth time in the first half on its next series. Chris Gordon of the Raiders returned the punt 33 yards down to the STA 26 to setup a scoring threat with 1:31 remaining before the break.
Four plays later, the Raiders scored on a one yard sneak by Seal. The point after was missed by Edwards leaving the score 13-0 with :57 seconds remaining. Highlighting the Raider drive was a 26-yard pass completion from Seal to Chris Gordon that moved the football down to the Falcon one.
Following the kickoff, the Falcons moved into Pine territory when Finley scrambled for a 28-yard gain reaching the Raider 31 yard line. But time expired before Saint Thomas was able to get another play off.
In the third quarter, the Raiders took the kickoff and drove down to the STA 20 on a 12-play drive. However, the Falcon defense stiffened and Pine did not convert on a fourth-and-four situation giving the ball up on downs with 7:11 left to play in the period.
Following a Falcon punt, the STA defense registered a quarterback sack of Seal for a 16-yard loss as linebacker Michael Dickson made the tackle. The defensive effort forced Pine to punt out of their end zone giving STA possession at the Raider 43.
Saint Thomas put together a nine-play drive reaching the Raider eight yard line. But the Pine defense held up stopping the Falcons on a fourth-and-goal situation at the five yard line on a incomplete pass.
Saint Thomas coughed up the football on its next series when Finley had the ball jarred loose on a scramble. Pine's Hunter Temples recovered it at midfield. The Raiders used trickery in a punting situation to convert a fourth down when the ball was snapped to Seal who lined up as a wide receiver. Seal then tossed the ball down field to Evan Sinopoli for a 16-yard gain and a first down at the STA 20 yard line.
Two plays later, Seal ran a bootleg play scoring on a 23 yard touchdown run. Edwards missed the point after, but the Raiders increased their lead to 19-0 with 5:20 remaining to play.
Moments later Wil Hetzinger fielded low snap in punt formation for the Falcons and instead of punting he was able to gain 21 yards to give STA a first down near midfield to keep the drive alive. A screen pass play from Finley to Brad Lewis netted another 22 yards moving the ball down to the Pine 38. On the very next play, Finley connected with Hetzinger on a 34-yard pass that put the ball at the Raider eight. Two plays later, Lewis scored on a six yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was successful when Finley found Hetzinger in the end zone to cut the deficit to 19-8 with 3:51 remaining in the game.
An onside kick by Saint Thomas was successful when Chris Gordon of the Raiders scooped up the football, but had it jarred loose and recovered by the Falcons at their own 44.
Saint Thomas reached the Pine 15 yard line on six yard drive, but had to give the ball up on downs when Finley threw incomplete to Hetzinger in the end zone with 3:04 left. Highlighting the drive was a 47-yard reception by Hetzinger from Finley that moved the ball down to the Raider 13. Pine intentionally took a two-point safety when Seal was tackled in the end zone to make it 19-10 with 1:14 left.
Saint Thomas received the free kick at the Raider 48. Finley found Dejuan James on a 47-yard seam route up the middle that moved the football down the Raider 12. Finley connected with Hetzinger on the very next play on a 11-yard pass to make it first-and-goal at the Pine one. Finley then sneaked it over the goal from the one line for a touchdown. Adam Hetzinger kicked the point after to make it 19-17 with :48 seconds left to play.
Saint Thomas unsuccessfully tried another onside kick attempt when the the ball went out-of-bounds just out of the reach of a pair of Falcon players at the Raider 42 sealing the Pine victory.
“It was a big win for us,” said Pine head coach Bradley Seal. “We made it harder then it should have been at the end there, but we move on to the playoffs and we will play at home next week. Credit them, they kept taking shots at our defense all night. They (STA) played well.”
Football Top Story
All-State Hall of Fame
District 9-2A 2019
FALCONS 0-0, 0-0
Northlake 0-0, 0-0
PJP II 0-0, 0-0
Springfield 0-0, 0-0
District 8-2A 2018
Amite 10-1, 7-0
St. Helena 9-2, 6-1
Pine 7-4, 4-2
FALCONS 5-6, 4-3
Independence 4-7, 3-4
Springfield 3-8, 1-5
Northlake 2-9, 2-5
PJP II 2-9, 0-7
District 8-2A 2017
Amite 10-1, 5-1
St. Helena 9-2, 6-1
FALCONS 7-5 5-3
Pine 7-5, 4-3
Independence 6-5, 4-3
Northlake 3-8, 2-5
PJP II 2-9, 1-6
Springfield 2-9, 0-7
District Standings 2016
Saint Helena 9-1, 6-0
Northlake 7-3, 3-3
Pine 6-3, 3-3
FALCONS 3-7, 3-3
PJP II 4-6, 3-3
Hannan 4-6, 2-4
Springfield 1-9, 0-6
FALCONS 14-1, 6-0
District 7-2A Champs
Saint Helena 7-5, 4-2
Northlake 7-4, 4-2
Hannan 7-4, 4-2
Pine 2-8, 2-4
PJP II 1-9, 1-5
Springfield 2-9, 0-6
FALCONS 10-2, 6-0
District 7-2A Champs
Northlake 9-3, 4-2
Springfield 9-3, 4-2
Pine 6-5, 3-3
Saint Helena 3-8, 3-3
Hannan 1-10, 1-5
PJP II 1-10, 0-6
Northlake 11-1, 7-0
FALCONS 9-3, 6-1
Hannan 10-2, 5-2
Springfield 6-6, 3-4
PJP II 6-6, 3-4
Pine 4-6, 2-6
Saint Helena 2-8, 2-5
Mt. Herman 0-10, 0-7
2012 District 8-2A
Pope John Paul II 1-4
Saint Helena 0-5
2012 Season Records
Pope John Paul II 3-6
Saint Helena 2-7
2011 Season Records
Pope John Paul II 9-3
Saint Helena 1-9
Daily Star Sports