High School Football: Saints take air out of St. John's in shutout

September 22, 2012|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES — In Saturday’s game rife with missed opportunities from both offenses, the Saint James Saints came away with a 14-0 shutout of St. John’s Catholic Prep.

After a scoreless first half, two key plays in the second set up both of Saint James’ scores. With eight minutes left in the third quarter, Sean Tolton read a screen pass from St. John’s quarterback Bryce Johnson perfectly and picked it off, returning the ball 18 yards to the house to get the Saints (3-1) on the board.

Later, with 6:02 remaining in the game, Saint James running back Justin Pank converted a fourth-and-1 on the Saints’ 29-yard line to set up a four-minute drive for the Saints. Pank ended the drive in the end zone on a 1-yard dive for the Saints’ only offensive touchdown.

“On that fourth-down play I was saying to myself, ‘I’ve got to go with my gut,’” said Saint James coach Juwuane Sandridge. “I had total faith in my offensive line and Justin was running well, I just had to do it.”

Saint James turned to the running game for the majority of the contest. Pank led all runners with 68 yards on the ground, while quarterback Bobby Brennan was right behind him with 56. The Saints earned 166 total rushing yards, compared to only 95 yards through the air.

“(St. John’s) dropped a lot into pass coverage. They did a good job of taking the passing game away from us,” said Sandridge. “We went to our next gameplan and saw some things that we liked. That’s why we ran so much.”

Saint James had other scoring opportunities that it couldn’t convert. Kicker Ryan Abbott’s field goal attempt in the second quarter was blocked by St. John’s defensive back D’Marco Saunders. Later, Nick Hubbard had a 36-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty in the third quarter.

Despite the offense’s struggles, the Saints’ defense kept them in the game with its excellent pass coverage. Saint James intercepted six of Johnson’s passes, none more important than Tolton’s pick-six.

“Defensively, they threw the ball a lot and that has been our weakness so far this season. We’ve been working on the deep pass all week,” said Sandridge. “I’m surprised we had six picks tonight. Wow. Our guys played their hearts out tonight and that’s all you can ask for.”

St. John’s fell to 1-3.

Saint James 14, St. John’s Catholic Prep 0
St. John’s    0    0    0    0    —    0
Saint James    0    0    7    7    —    14
Third Quarter
SJ — Tolton 18 INT return (Abbott kick)
Fourth Quarter
SJ — Pank 1 run (Abbott kick)
    SJCP    SJ
First Downs    11    16
Rushes-yards    15-38    32-166
Passing yards    122    95
Com-Att-Int    14-32-6    11-18-1
Total offense    160    261
Punts-avg.    2-46.5    2-32.5
Fumbles-lost    0-0    3-2
Penalties-yards    8-85    8-80
RUSHING — St. John’s, Washington 13-44, Barnes 1-(minus 7), Johnson 1-1; Saint James, Pank 10-56, Tolton 5-25, Hubbard 2-16, Brennan 14-68, Cisse 1-1.
PASSING — St. John’s, Johnson 14-32-122-0; Saint James, Brennan 11-18-95-0.  
RECEIVING — St. John’s, Wilson 7-61, Ambers 1-23, Washington 1-4, Sewell-Fair 1-5, Lecuona 2-19, Barnes 2-10.
Records: Saint James 3-1; St. John’s 1-3.

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