FOOTBALL TOP STORY
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 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