FOOTBALL TOP STORY
The Ironmen return working to compete for a third District title.
Falcons field a smaller roster but still expect to play big.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons enter their four season under the direction of head coach Randell Legette and despite having a smaller roster compared to most Class 2A teams, the Falcons have won back-to-back District 10-2A Championships and collected 17 wins. With a bit of normalcy returning this spring and summer, high school football teams have been able to do the workouts, 7-on-7 and group conditioning that was lost in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Some normalcy has been good for our game being able to do a lot of the spring and summer work in preparation for the season and it makes it more fun for our players and coaches,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Legette. “Of course we stay a little nervous knowing that normalcy could be interrupted again.”
With graduations the 2021 Falcons will field a smaller roster this season but as Coach Legette reminds everyone, two-way starters are not new at STA. “Our guys have been playing both ways for years and they are used to it,” said Legette. “Certainly at the 2A level if you have big numbers it is an advantage giving you some depth, but in our case you have to do what you have to do and make sure that you have the best guys on the field as often as is possible.”
Three-year starting senior quarterback Drew Milton exemplifies the ironman players that make up the 2021 Falcons. Milton, while the leader on offense, seldom leaves the field of play in a game playing quarterback, defensive back, and handling kickoff and extra point duties. “Drew (Milton) is so good at all the things he does we hate to take him off the field,” continued Legette. “He does have a lot on his plate but he accepts and loves the challenge and sets a good example.”
Saint Thomas will have to replace some key lineman that protected Milton last season with two of them, in Peyton Parker and Hunter Bujol, having going onto play college ball. “At the tackle position we still have some size but those guys have not had a lot of experience so we are in the process of trying to develop those guys and make sure they are competing to our standards,” said Legette.
Among the returning guys along the line that would make any coach smile is Nunzio Martello (6-3, 240) The senior earned all-district honors a year ago as a tight end and defensive end. Martello will move to tackle this season on offense and remains at end on defense. The Falcons will also welcome back junior Justin Smith, a returning starter at right guard, sophomore Jax Peterman at left guard, and senior Braden Moore at center.
“With all of our newer guys we are really placing an emphasis on fundamentals and techniques to get them as ready as possible,” continued Legette. “Our experienced guys like Martello and Moore are going to help us in transitioning some younger guys into gaining needed experience.”
Along with Martello and Moore, the defensive front features three new starters, including juniors Dante Dotey and Blaine Schilling, along with sophomore Hunter Gambel.
“Defensively we have got to be able to run to the ball,” explained Legette. “It is about team play. No one assuming someone else has that tackle, but everyone is pursuing and running to the ball. If the first guy misses a bit on the tackle there are guys coming right behind with the proper leverage to finish the job as team. Our defense is going to have to be a huge key for us to win games and make a statement in the playoffs.”
Legette expects the position of linebacker to be a strength with three returning starters, including two-way stars Devaki Williams and Darius Vaughn, along with junior outside linebacker Austin Davis, who can also backup at quarterback. “Williams, Vaughn, and Davis give us experience, and we can rotate in some new guys as well.”
Defending the pass and supporting the run defense should also be a plus as Milton anchors the secondary, along with senior Danik Reed and they will be joined by juniors Blaine Schilling and Bryce Simmoneaux. Also in the mix, working to return from an injury is senior Brayden Thompson who will give the Falcons some more experience. “The back end of our defense has a good combination of experienced players with some younger guys mixed in,” added Legette.
On offense the Falcons welcomed a new offensive coordinator in David Maryland along with six returning starters and some new faces on the field. Of course the offense starts with last season’s District MVP, Milton. “Drew is a solid leader in the classroom and on the field,” Legette said. “We will generally have the same philosophy on offense, but we always want to be balanced,” Legette explained. “I felt like one of the things that hurt us last year is that we were heavy on the run and folks could stack the line, but I also believe that you have to stick with what is working and we did a heck of a job running the ball against most of the teams we played.”
“One of the things Coach Maryland brings to the table is he can help us become more balanced improving the passing game,” continued Legette. “By the time you get to the playoffs teams know what you do so they can stack the box on us to stop the run. We have to be more balanced if we hope to go deeper in the playoffs.”
Backing up Milton at quarterback is a work in progress for the coaches as some younger guys have gotten reps in 7-on-7 drills. “I believe our future is very bright at quarterback going forward,” continued Legette. “Our young guys still have a lot to learn as far as executing the offense and understanding coverages, but we have some young guys that are developing.”
Catching those passes that the Falcons are working to throw more of will be a trio of seniors Chase Daigle, Danik Reed and Lajalen Jackson. With Martello moving to tackle, junior Gaige Truxillo will take over the tight end duties.
Behind Milton, the Falcons will feature a pair of experienced running backs that both had solid seasons last year also playing on defense as well. Williams and Vaughn both return and both were All-District performers. Sophomore Kendrell Perry will also join the mix in the backfield adding quality depth.
Despite not having a lot of numbers on the roster, Coach Legette plans to play a JV schedule. “It is important not only for the fact that young guys doing all the work at practice get a chance to play, the young guys are your future and game experience is essential,” said Legette. “You also hope that some of these young guys can get some varsity playing time when the opportunity presents itself so they can learn to overcome some nerves and gain some confidence playing at a higher level. We have some young players right now that I think will be able to help us at the varsity level and that is why we have put so much emphasis on getting them mentally ready to understand what will be expected.”
“At the 2A level having one or two superstars might win you some games but you will not get very far without everyone playing their role and doing all the little things that help you win,” added Legette. “Continuing to develop younger players is essential.”
Saint Thomas will open their season on the road against Hamilton Christian before a tough home challenge against a very good Episcopal team. Coach Legette sees his first game as a playoff type experience for his players with Hamilton Christian located quite a distance away in Lake Charles, LA. “We will be traveling a pretty good distance but it will give our kids a playoff type experience right off the start. Hamilton will have athletes everywhere and their defensive scheme is unique and will help us going forward having that experience. We have never played them before so it will definitely be something new for us.”
Prior to the start of District play, the Falcons will host Riverside, an always solid program. “Going into District play you always want to be tested and healthy so you are prepared to be your best in District and are ready for the playoffs,” said Legette. “Loranger, Hannan, West Feliciana, and Riverside are all good opponent that will get us ready for District and the playoffs.”
The Falcons 5-2 last season earned a first round home playoff game hosting Dunham, but were unable to advance. “We are working hard to get over the hump in the playoffs and it is something our players are hungry for,” said Legette.
Falcons dominate All-District selections!
Junior Drew Milton name Offensive MVP.
HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Falcons collected their second 10-2A District Championship in a row this season and with success dominated the All-District selections including junior Drew Milton being named Offensive District MVP. Milton proved special on both sides of the ball being selected first team defensive back. Four teammate joined Milton in receiving double selections. Junior Devaki Williams and sophomore Darrius Vaughn both earned first team honors at running back and linebacker. Senior Casey Artigies was named first team athlete on offense and defense, and junior Numzio Martello earned first teams selection a tight end and defensive end. Rounding out the first team honors for Saint Thomas were senior offensive linemen Peyton Parker and Hunter, and defensive lineman Kylen Smith.
First year player and punter sophomore Hayden Aspirion earned second team honors along with repeat second team selections junior Chase Daigle and senior offensive lineman Logan Husser. On defense, three Falcon sophomores earned second team selections including defensive lineman Dante Doty, defensive end Evan Hallmark, and defensive back Austin Davis.
Head coach Randell Legette won his second Coach of Year in District leading his team to a 5-2 mark and earning a home first round playoff game. The Falcons finished 2-0 in league play as one district game was cancelled due to pandemic issues.
Falcons are the District 10-2A Champions!
Falcons clinch second District Championship in a row with 34-0 romp over Pope John Paul II.
HAMMOND, LA— The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon football team ended regular-season play with a convincing 34-0 victory over the Pope John Paul II Jaguars in a District 10-2A contest played at Valenti Field in Hammond.
Saint Thomas (2-0, 5-1) pounded out more than 375 yards of offense and held the visiting Jaguars (0-2, 1-6) down forcing turnovers and keeping them on their side of the field much of the way.
The Falcons have earned a spot in the Division III playoffs, and will wait for the LHSAA will announce the playoff brackets for all Divisions and Classes on Sunday, Nov. 22.
All thirteen teams in Division III are eligible for the postseason. Saint Thomas entered this week's game against Pope John Paul with a power rating of No. 7, which should give the Falcons a home game in the Bi-District round. Winners will advance to the Class 2A regional round. The championship games for all Divisions and Classes are slated for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Dec. 26-28.
Saint Thomas had a balanced attack rushing and passing the football. Head coach Randell Legette wants his team to re-establish its powerful ground attack to get ready for postseason play.
“For the most part we’re with pleased,” said STA coach Randell Legette. “We wanted to set the tempo running the football and our defense played great. We were opportunistic in regards to forcing turnovers and forcing them out of their game plan. We’re happy with the defensive effort and want to continue to work hard.”
The Falcon first touchdown drive was setup by a shanked punt by the Jaguars. Saint Thomas took possession at the Jaguar 35 and needed five plays to score when quarterback Drew Milton snuck in from the one yard line for the touchdown. Milton kicked the PAT to give Saint Thomas a 7-0 lead with 5:21 left to play in the first quarter.
The Jaguars went three-and-out on its next series. Pope John Paul got off just an eight-yard punt that was fielded at the Pope John Paul 37 yard line.
The Falcons took advantage of field position and scored five plays later on a four yard touchdown run by running back Devaki Williams. Milton missed the PAT leaving the score 13-0 with 2:04 left in the period.
Highlighting the drive for the Falcons was Williams, who had runs of 18 and 11 yards that moved the football down to the Pope John Paul four yard line.
Following a Jaguar punt, the Falcons put together a seven-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a two yard touchdown run by running back Casey Artigues. Milton booted the PAT to make it 20-0 with 9:08 left to play in the first half.
Spearheading the drive was a 38-yard run by Milton that moved the ball down to the Jaguar 41. Artigues also had a 18-yard gain to the Pope John Paul six yard line.
Moments later, Artigues intercepted a Jaguar pass attempt and he returned the ball 26 yards to midfield to stop a scoring threat.
The Jaguars fumbled the football on its next possession and the Falcons recovered it at their own 40. Saint Thomas marched down to the Jaguar 10 on a nine-play drive. But Artigues coughed up the football and the Jaguars recovered ending the Falcon scoring threat.
In the third quarter, the Falcons mounted a nine-play drive reaching the Pope John Paul nine yard line. But the drive stalled and Falcons gave the ball up on downs after failing to convert a fourth-and-1 situation.
The Saint Thomas defense forced Pope John Paul into a three-and-out and the Falcons took possession at the Jaguar 41 to start their next drive.
This time Saint Thomas sustained a scoring drive marching 41 yards in ix plays culminating the drive with a one yard touchdown run by running back Darius Vaughn. Milton added the PAT to make it 27-0 with 1:35 left to play in the period.
Highlighting the drive was the running ability of Darius Vaughn. He had runs of 15, 26 and eight yards on the drive.
Pope John Paul had its deepest penetration of the game reaching the Falcon four yard line. But a pair of quarterback sacks by the Saint Thomas defense forced the Jaguars to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Falcon 19. A pass attempt was thrown incomplete and Pope John Paul gave the ball up on downs.
On the very next play, the Falcons scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass play from Milton to Artigues. Milton kicked the PAT to make it 34-0 with 9:40 left to play in the game.
Neither team would threaten the rest of the way.
“It was a great team win, and it was good for our seniors to come out here and have good opportunity to compete for the most part,” said Legette. “The odds are in our favor to host a playoff game. Right now we’ll just wait and find out Sunday and let the chips fall where they may.”
Pope John Paul coach Charlie Cryer indicated that his team would not participate in this year’s playoffs. “We did not do a very good job blocking tonight,” said Cryer. “I thought we competed, but its been a tough year, but we’ve gotten better. We just got to build on this. We are going to opt out and not play in the playoffs. I just feel like we didn’t earn the right to go in one week.”
Falcons move into first place in league play with 43-12 romp over Northlake.
Defense collects four turnovers and a trio of Falcon backs pile up the rushing yards.
COVINGTON, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons took a big step towards defending their District 10-2A Championship Friday as they overcame an early solid defensive effort by the home-standing Northlake Wolverines to roll to a 43-12 win. The victory improved the Falcons season mark to 4-1 and put them in first place in league play.
“You have to give credit to Coach Willis and the Northlake defensive staff they did a good job with their scheme on defense in the first half and they got an early turnover on us but we made some adjustments on offense and our defense was able to create a big turn over with Nunzio’s (Martello) interception that kept them from taking the early lead on us,” explained Falcon head coach Randall Legette. “Drew’s (Milton) scramble and touchdown pass to end the first half to Dane (Watts) gave us great momentum going in at halftime. Drew’s ability to avoid the sack and not have his knee touch the ground and then make a solid throw on the run was one the more spectacular plays that I have seen.”
The Falcons avoided an early first period ambush by a Northlake team that was celebrating Senior Night when a bad snap on a punt gave the Wolverines a first down and five. Junior Nunzio Martello intercepted a pass on Northlake’s first play of the drive ending the early threat. Saint Thomas would right the ship midway through the second quarter when some solid blocking by the Falcon offensive line opened a lane for senior Casey Artigues who sprinted 84 yards for the game’s first score. Junior Brayden Leyrer added the point after and the Falcons owned a 7-0 lead with 5:30 showing before halftime.
Defense, turnovers and miscues dominated most of the first half but with the Falcons nursing a 7-0 lead with five seconds before halftime, junior quarterback Drew Milton delivered some magic scrambling out of what appeared to be a sure sack avoiding his knee touching the ground and tossed a 43-yard strike to fellow junior Dane Watts for a touchdown. The point after was good and the Falcons took a huge momentum lift into intermission.
Saint Thomas quickly reasserted themselves in the second half taking their first chance on offense in for a score as Devaki Williams rumbled three yards for the first of two touchdown runs by the junior. A bad snap voided the extra point try but the Falcons led 20-0 with 9:32 left in the third.
A 54-yard punt by junior Hayden Aspiron and diving effort by freshman Case Reed to down the ball inside the Northlake two yard line set up the Falcons next score as Martello tackled the Northlake running back in the end zone for a safety.
Lightening struck quickly again for the Falcons on the ensuing kickoff when senior Adam Bondurant recovered a fumble on the kickoff. Milton went to work and three plays later hit Artigues for a 36–yard touchdown pass with 2:21 left in the third. Leyrer converted and Saint Thomas owned a 29-0 lead.
The Wolverines got their passing game going in the fourth quarter and collected a pair of scores to close the gap to 29-12. They came close to adding a third score but a fumble recovery by sophomore Darius Vaughn ended one of the three scoring threats. The Falcon defense prevented Northlake from adding four more points as they stopped a pair of two-point tries.
The Falcon offense got back on track late in the final period when Williams got loose and ran 39 yards for a touchdown giving Saint Thomas a 36-12 advantage with 2:54 left. Vaughn all but sealed it just a minute later snatching away the ball from a Northlake receiver and racing 29 yards for another Falcon score giving the visitors a 43-12 lead.
Northlake made one final march close to the red zone but an interception by sophomore Bryce Simmoneaux ended the Wolverines last gasp and set up the Falcon victory formation.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and winning the turnover battle was huge for us,” added Legette. “We still have some things we need to clean up but overall the kids made plays and came away with the win.”
The Falcons district game scheduled for next week against Springfield has been cancelled due to quarantine issues, but Legette hopes to find a team to play as a substitute for the lost game.
Falcons put on an offensive show in final tuneup before league play begins next week.
Defense collects five turnovers to spark 55-33 win over the Frederick A. Douglass Bobcats.
HAMMOND— The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcons made the most of a final tune up before District 7-2A play begins next week defeating visiting Frederick A. Douglass Bobcats 55-33 at Pete Valenti Field. The victory improved STA’s season mark to 3-1 on the season while Douglass remained winless falling to 0-4.
“This definately was a confidence booster especially after last week,” said Saint Thomas coach Randell Legette. “We wanted to establish playing 48 minutes of good football, and I think the guys did that tonight.”
The first Bobcat turnover came when the visitors mishandled snap from the shotgun formation on the game’s first offensive play and Donte Dotey recovered the football for the Falcons at the Frederick Douglass 25.
Saint Thomas took quick advantage of the miscue scoring two plays on a 16-yard touchdown run by quarterback Drew Milton. Branden Leyer booted the point after to make it 7-0 with 10:59 left to play in the first quarter.
The Falcon defense forced Douglass into a punting situation on their next possession and collected a second turnover as the snap from center sailed over the punter’s head and the Falcons took over on downs at the Bobcat 37. The Falcons scored five plays later on a nine yard touchdown pass from Milton to Devaki Williams. Leyer added the PAT to give Saint Thomas a 14-0 lead with 7:43 remaining.
Douglass fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Adam Bondurant recovered the ball for the Falcons at the Douglass 37.
Saint Thomas failed to convert the turnover into points this time when the Bobcats forced the Falcons to punt.
However, moments later Saint Thomas recovered a fumble by the Bobcat quarterback on a rollout pass. Braden Moore recovered it for the Falcons giving St. Thomas possession at the Douglass 24 yard line.
The Falcons took advantage again with the turnover scoring five plays later on a 12-yard touchdown run Darius Vaughn. Leyer kicked the PAT to make it 21-0 with 2:25 left in the period.
The Bobcats crossed midfield for the first time on its next possession. Douglass mounted a six-play, 62-yard drive that was capped by a eight yard touchdown score. The two-point conversion was successful and Douglass trailed 21-8 with 11:52 left to play in the first half.
Saint Thomas was forced to punt on its next series and the Bobcats got a 22-yard return on the return giving Douglass possession at midfield.
The Bobcats marched down to the Falcon five yard line on a 10-play drive and then scored on a five yard touchdown run. The PAT was successful and Douglass pulled to within 21-15 with 5:29 left in the half.
Saint Thomas seemed to have answered on its next possession when Milton broke loose and scampered 62-yards for a touchdown. However, the officials called a face mask penalty on the play nullifying the score.
Saint Thomas would eventually score six plays later with Milton getting into the end zone on a nine yard touchdown run. Leyer booted the PAT to make it 28-15 at the half.
In the second half, Frederick A. Douglass put together a six-play, 81-yard drive that was culminated by a 11-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score 28-21 with 7:46 left in the third.
Following the kickoff, the Falcons would respond with a eight play, 68-yard drive that ended with a si yard touchdown run by Devaki Williams. Leyer added the PAT to make it 35-21 with 2:51 left in the period.
Highlighting the drive was a 27-yard run by Milton that moved the ball down to the Douglass 16 yard line.
Douglass committed its fifth turnover of the game on its next possession when Falcon cornerback Dane Watts intercepted a pass attempt and he returned the ball down to the Bobcat 24. Three plays later, Milton scored his third touchdown of the game on a six yard touchdown run around the left end. The extra-point failed leaving the score 41-21 with 58 seconds left in the quarter.
Douglass came right back scoring on a six-play drive that ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was missed leaving the score 41-27 with 11:06 left to play in the game.
Douglass attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Falcons at midfield. Saint Thomas took advantage of field position scoring seven plays later on a Darius Vaughn six yard touchdown run. Leyer added the PAT to make it 48-27 with 5:37 left to play. The key play on the drive was 25-yard run by Milton on a bootleg play that put the football at the Bobcat eight yard line.
It did not take Douglass to answer as the Bobcats marched 61 yards in six plays for a score. The drive ended with a 32-yard touchdown run to cut the Falcon lead to 48-33 with 3:56 left.
Saint Thomas recovered an onside kick at midfield. Two plays later, the Falcons responded with a 42-yard touchdown run by Williams. Leyer was successful o the PAT to make it 55-33 with 2:59 remaining.
Douglass took its next possession at their own 44. The Bobcats threw four straight incomplete passes forcing the visitors to turn the ball over on downs. Saint Thomas ran out the remaining time off the game clock to seal the 55-33 victory.
The Falcons will now put their focus on a District championship with the first league contest set for Friday against Northlake Christian School in Covington. “You play competitive teams like Newman and that tells you the truth about who you are as a football team,” said Legette. “So we get to look at ourselves at a different manner in regards to getting better each time we step on the playing field. We are looking forward to district and competing.”
Falcons rumble past Tigers 42-18!
Saint Thomas improves to 2-0 with Homecoming win.
HAMMOND— The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon Football team improved to 2-0 on the season after defeating the winless Independence Tigers 42-18 in its annual Homecoming game played at SLU’s Strawberry Stadium. Jade Brumfield was named this year's Homecoming Queen and Casey Artigues was named the King of the Homecoming court.
The Falcons used a punishing ground attack led by quarterback Drew Milton and running back Darius Vaughn as each rushed for over 100 yards and scored a pair or more touchdowns.
“This was a big win for us,” said St. Thomas coach Randell Legette. “We wanted to continue to stay focus. The first half I thought we came out on fire, but we just gotta learn how to put our foot on the pedal and keep going.”
Saint Thomas wasted no time in setting the tone for the contest. The Falcons took their opening possession marching 70 yards in six plays for a touchdown. The drive ended with sophomore Darrius Vaughn breaking a pair of tackles enroute to a 22-yard touchdown run. Brayden Leyrer kicked the PAT to give STA a 7-0 lead with 8:22 remaining in the first quarter. Highlighting the drive was a 27-yard gain by Vaughn and a pair of eight yard runs by junior quarterback Drew Milton.
Following a Tiger punt, the Falcons mounted a second scoring drive. Saint Thomas marched 65-yards in five plays capping the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run by Vaughn. Leyrer added the PAT to make it 14-0 with 4:28 left to play in the period. The key play in this drive was a Milton to Chase Daigle pass of 16 yards putting the football at the Independence 22-yard line.
The Tigers returned the ensuing kickoff as Dunyell Barton ran down the sideline 71 yards before being tripped up at the Falcon nine yard line.
Three plays later, Independence got on the scoreboard with a three yard touchdown run by quarterback Kendel Haywood. The PAT was blocked by Saint Thomas leaving the score 14-6 with 3:27 remaining in the quarter.
A pass interception by Milton setup the Falcon next touchdown score. Drew Milton picked off a Kendel Haywood pass attempt at the Tiger 40 and returned the ball to the Indy 24.
On the very next play, Vaughn scored his third touchdown of the game run on a 24 yard run. Leyrer booted the PAT to give Saint Thomas a 21-6 advantage entering the second period.
Independence committed its second turnover when a Haywood pass attempt was tipped up in the air by junior defensive end Nunzio Martello and junior Braden Moore came down with the ball before it hit the turf giving the Falcons possession at the Indy 43.
However, Saint Thomas gave it right back when Milton’s pass attempt was intercepted by Shandon Vernon of Independence and he returned the ball to the Falcon 18.
Four plays later, Independence capitalized on the turnover when Darionte Ginn scored on a eight yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score 21-12 with 7:00 minutes left to play in the first half.
The Tiger defense forced Saint Thomas to punt the ball for the first time on its next possession. However, the Falcon defense got it right back two plays later on a fumble recovery giving STA the ball at the Tiger 23.
Saint Thomas could not capitalize on the turnover giving the ball up on downs when Milton threw incomplete on a fourth down pass play.
Independence put together a eight-play drive reaching midfield. But the Tigers gave the ball up on downs when Martello tackled Vernon short of first-down yardage.
Saint Thomas took possession at their own 49 with less than a minute remaining. A bad snap from center gave STA a 14-yard loss as time expired ending the first half.
In the third quarter, the Falcons were able to sustain a eight-play, 66-yard drive that was culminated by a eight yard touchdown run by Milton. Leyrer kicked the PAT to give STA a 28-12 lead with 8:34 left to play in the period.
Highlighting the drive was 23-yard run by Vaughn and a 16-yard scamper by Milton that moved the football to the Independence eight-yard line.
Following a Tiger punt, the Falcons mounted another drive. Saint Thomas marched 85 yards in seven plays that resulted into a six yard touchdown run by Milton. Leyrer added the PAT to make it 35-12 with 4:38 remaining in the quarter.
The key plays in the drive were a pair of runs by Vaughn of 26 and 12 yards and Milton had a 17-yard run that moved the ball to the Indy 38. Independence coach Scott Shaffett was flagged twice for arguing a call by the officials stepping on the field of play and was tossed from the contest with 5:05 left in the quarter.
Following a Tiger punt, Saint Thomas marched 68 yards in 11 plays for its final touchdown of the game. The drive ended with Milton scoring his fourth TD of the game on a four-yard touchdown run. Leyrer booted the PAT to make it 42-12 with 8:56 left to play in the game.
“These kids have bought into the program. I’m really proud of them to this point,” said Legette. “We just got to get really prepared for Newman where its going to be a tough challenge. Tonight, we wanted to establish the run. That was our goal and were able to do that throughout the game.”
Independence scored its final touchdown late in the game when running back Fred McDowell rambled down the sideline on a 42-yard score. The two-point conversion failed making the final score 42-18 with 1:31 left to play.
The loss left Independence with an 0-3 record.
“We keep fighting for that "W" and we keep falling short,” said Independence coach Scott Shaffett. “It's going to come together for us. Right now we aren’t getting any breaks our way. We got a big junior class, we got a great, great great freshmen class, we got a really good sophomore class. We just got to keep fighting for these seniors.”
Saint Thomas will travel to New Orleans to take on Isidore Newman School on Friday in a non-district contest.
Falcons impress despite just two days to prepare!
Saint Thomas defeats Pine 34-18.
PINE, LA—Despite having to wait two weeks to get back to practice due to pandemic delays and only two days to prepare, the Falcons delivered a solid performance on the road Wednesday scoring a 34-18 win over the Pine Raiders.
“To have a layoff like we did due to the pandemic restrictions and then go on the road with just two practices I thought the guys did a great job of responding,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas head coach Randell Legette. “You know with some new guys at new positions and being the first time we played against another team since we had no scrimmages, there will be some mistakes. We got bogged down for a while in the third quarter with bad field position and penalties, but our defense did not let them take advantage and kept them out of the end zone.”
The Falcons were certainly sharp early as the defense pitched a three-and-out and the offense took their opening drive in for six as senior Casey Artigues delivered some solid runs to set up a two-yard dive by junior Dre Milton for a touchdown with 7:00 minutes left in the first. Junior Brayden Leyrer booted the extra point and would be perfect on the night except for a bad snap.
The Raiders took advantage of some missed tackles and a Milton interception to quickly regain the lead. The ensuing kickoff was returned for a touchdown and the Falcons next drive was ended with a pick six. “I was pleased with the way we handled some early adversity,” said Legette. “We just focused on playing our game, running the ball effectively, and playing defense and winning the turnover battle.”
Trailing 12-7, the Falcons evened the turnovers to take the lead as sophomore Darius Vaughn stole the ball from the Pine running back and ran 37 yards for six. Leyrer converted and Saint Thomas took the lead 14-12 and would not trail again.
On the ensuing kickoff the Falcons quickly collected a second turnover as junior Dane Watts made a circus grab of a short kick by Leyrer to steal the ball away from the Raiders. Starting at the Pine 25, Saint Thomas got a key fourth day conversion from Milton to junior Chase Daigle to keep the drive alive and Milton did the honors three plays later scoring from four yards out.
Junior Devaki Williams recovered a fumble to set up the Falcons next scoring march and senior Sal Nuzzolillo hauled in a huge 17-yard pass from Milton for a first down to keep the drive alive and setup and two-yard run by Milton for the score.The snap was missed on the point after but Saint Thomas led 27-12 with 2:29 showing in the third.
Pine tightened things up late in the third period converting a 63-yard touchdown pass. The Raiders try for two was stopped for s second time on the night but Pine pulled within nine at 27-18.
The Raiders threatened again on their next drive converting three fourth downs into first down marching inside the Falcon 20 yard line, but Artigues end any hopes of a rally as he intercepted a Pine pass running 99 yards to put the game away with 1:15 left.
The Falcons will be at home next week to host the Independence Tiger for Homecoming. Game is set for Friday.
Football Top Story
All-State Hall of Fame
District 10-2A 2020
FALCONS 5-2, 2-0
Northlake 3-5, 1-1
Springfield 2-3, 0-0
PJP II 1-5, 0-2
District 10-2A 2019
FALCONS 5-6, 3-0
Northlake 5-6, 2-1
Springfield 4-6, 1-2
PJP II -1-8-1, 0-3
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