ST. JAMES — To put it mildly, things did not air out too well for the Saint James football team on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints used two quarterbacks and they combined to throw five interceptions in a 26-13 loss to Atlantic Shores Christian School.
“We started a little slow,” Saint James coach Juwuane Sandridge said. “Once we relaxed and played good football, it turned out to be a pretty good game. We just had too many interceptions. Our guys did not give up and they kept fighting throughout the entire ballgame.”
Senior quarterback Garfield Christie had 140 passing yards, 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Atlantic Shores (2-2). Donte Cuffee had three of the Seahawks’ five interceptions.
“Those five interceptions were great,” Atlantic Shores coach Wayne Lance said. “I was glad to see our defense catching the ball and hanging onto it. I was just excited with the way that our defense stepped up at big times for us.”
Senior quarterback Kevin Manesh finished with 159 passing yards for Saint James (1-3). Sophomore linebacker Sherman Harris had three interceptions of his own to keep the Saints competitive.
“We have a lot of young players on the team,” Sandridge said. “Right now, we are growing up as a team every week. If we come out and play with the same intensity like we did today, we can be successful for the rest of the season.”
The Seahawks started fast, as freshman Bailey Stevenson intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards to the Saints’ 40-yard line. On the next play, Christie dashed down the right side for the 40-yard score to put the Seahawks on top 6-0 with only 2:44 gone.
Just 3:03 later, Christie fired a 55-yard touchdown pass along the right sideline to Tim Wright, and Jeremy Brooker kicked the extra point to extend the Seahawks’ lead to 13-0.
With 1:50 remaining in the second quarter, Sam Meade ran for a 26-yard touchdown down the right side to increase the Seahawks’ advantage to 19-0.
Manesh fired a 43-yard touchdown pass down the right side to Obi Enechionyia, and Ryan Abbott kicked the extra point with 12 seconds to play in the first half as the Saints reduced the deficit to 19-7 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Saints used a hook-and-ladder pass to go 52 yards for a score with 8:56 left in the fourth to cut the lead to 19-13. Manesh completed a 7-yard pass to Nnamdi Enechionyia, who then threw a lateral pass to Harris — who ran 45 yards along the left sideline to the end zone.
“We needed something big,” Sandridge said. “We were down two touchdowns at the time. We decided to try it and I am glad that it worked.”
But with 1:25 remaining, Cuffee’s 65-yard interception return touchdown up the left sideline sealed the game.
Atlantic Shores 26, Saint James 13
Atlantic Shores 13 6 0 7 — 26
Saint James 0 7 0 6 — 13
AS — Garfield Christie 40 run (kick failed)
AS — Tim Wright 55 pass from Christie (Jeremy Brooker kick)
AS — Sam Meade 26 run (kick blocked)
SJ — Obi Enechionyia 43 pass from Kevin Manesh (Ryan Abbott kick)
SJ — Sherman Harris 52 lateral pass from Nnamdi Enechionyia (kick blocked)
AS — Donte Cuffee 65 interception return (Brooker kick)