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Prep Football: Saints pull away to beat Panthers

September 01, 2012|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com
  • Despite the effort by Saint James defender Noah Cisse (22), Hancock's Jesse Wolford (28) caught this pass and ran it in for a touchdown, tying the game at 14 late in the first half Saturday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

ST. JAMES — Saint James football coach Juwuane Sandridge was more than happy to let his team celebrate following a season-opening 40-14 win over Hancock on Saturday.

He just didn’t want there to be too much celebration.

“This is exactly where we were last season, and we all know what happened after that,” Sandridge said. The Saints lost eight straight after an opening win over Hancock in 2011.

Saint James broke open a close game in the fourth quarter when Bobby Brennan completed 4 of 5 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Brennan finished with 182 yards on 10-of-18 passing.

The Saints gained momentum in the third quarter when Oladipo Sadipe capped a 60-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Saints a 20-14 lead.

On Hancock’s next play from scrimmage, quarterback Hunter McKinley fumbled and Sadipe recovered at the Panthers 30-yard line.

But thunder had been rumbling for about 20 minutes and officials cleared the field when lightning was spotted. The delay lasted nearly an hour and Sandridge was concerned about how the break would affect the Saints.

“I was worried how we would come out after the break, so we did some board work in the locker room,” Sandridge said. “We had a tough drive on our first possession back, they stuffed us pretty good and we had to punt. But after that, I thought we settled back in.”

Hancock (0-1) got on the board first in the first quarter following a fumble recovery by Noah Teeter. The Panthers went 48 yards in 10 plays, finished off by a halfback pass from Nate Souders to Jesse Wolford for an 8-yard touchdown. The two-point attempt failed and Hancock led, 6-0.

The Saints came right back to take the lead, needing just two plays to get in the end zone. Brennan completed a 14-yard pass to Sherman Harris and a 64-yard scoring strike to Nick Hubbard, who beat two Hancock defenders on his route. Ryan Abbott added the extra point for a 7-6 lead.

Justin Pank delivered for the Saints defensively to start the second quarter, picking off a McKinley pass in Hancock territory and returning it all the way to the Panthers 4. Pank then extended the Saints’ lead to 14-7 with a 4-yard touchdown run.

After holding the Saint James offense at bay in Panthers territory later in the second, Hancock executed its best sustained drive of the game. Using a hurry-up offense, McKinley moved the Panthers 70 yards in 13 plays. He connected with Wolford on a 21-yard touchdown with 7 seconds remaining in the half to pull Hancock within 14-12. Then Souders hit Wolford for the two-point conversion on the same halfback pass play they ran earlier to tie the score at 14 at the half.

The Saints scored on three of their four possessions in the fourth quarter. Harris broke three tackles on his way to a 37-yard touchdown on a pass from Brennan. After Hubbard picked off McKinley on Hancock’s next drive, he broke free in the Panthers secondary and caught a 34-yard scoring pass from Brennan.

“Bobby throws a really nice ball. Once he calmed down, he was OK,” Sandridge said. “Our no-huddle can make guys go fast. You don’t need to go fast, it’s designed to do that. Once they settled, things went better.”

Kevin Cooper scored the final touchdown for the Saints on a 15-yard run.

Wolford finished with 51 yards on 12 carries for the Panthers. McKinley completed 11 of 19 passes for 66 yards but was picked off three times.

Saint James 40, Hancock 14
Hancock    6    8    0    0    —    14
Saint James    7    7    6    20    —    40
First Quarter
H — Jesse Wolford 8 pass from Nate Souders (pass failed)
SJ — Nick Hubbard 64 pass from Bobby Brennan (Ryan Abbott kick)
Second Quarter
SJ — Justin Pank 4 run (Abbott kick)
H — Wolford 21 pass from Hunter McKinley (Wolford pass from Souders)
Third Quarter
SJ — Oladipo Sadipe 1 run (kick blocked)
Fourth Quarter
SJ — Sherman Harris 37 pass from Brennan (kick blocked)
SJ — Hubbard 34 pass from Brennan (Abbott kick)
SJ — Kevin Cooper 15 run (Abbott kick)
                 Han      SJ
First downs    9    15
Rushes-yards    32-81    30-173
Passing yards    74    182
Comp-Att-Int    12-20-3    10-18-0
Total offense    52-155    48-355
Punts-avg.    3-39.7    2-22.0
Penalties-yards    4-25    9-77
Fumbles-lost    4-2    3-1

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