NOTE: This entry will be updated throughout the game. To read chronologically, start at the bottom. The entries are separated by spaces, and the most recent is on top.
Ronnie Alexander can relax now. The season is over for Evangel, and it has ended with the Class 1A state championship, 24-7. I'll be back after the interview session. Congratulations to all Evangel football fans.
St. John mounted a final drive that got to the ECA 27 before it stalled. Evangel takes over on downs with 3:55 to play with a 24-7 lead.
It's now 24-7 after a Deleon Moss TD catch. I've just turned in my MVP ballot, and I voted for Jeremy Little. He's had some big catches, including one for Evangel's first touchdown. Little had some key catches on this latest drive. He was the first guy to figure out how to get open against St. John. St. John is now completely out of the game, and my suspicion that the Plaquemine Eagles would not score in the second half is looking about right.
CerDerrick Tyson just scored on a 37-yard pass play to finish off a 94-yard drive for Evangel. ECA leads, 17-7, with two minutes to play in the third, and I'll be very surprised if this game isn't over. St. John had a chance for the upset but two mistakes hurt its chances. There was a fumble at the Evangel 4 after a 50-yard Spenser Williams run, and the St. John coaches gave ECA a short field with an ill-advised short kickoff to open the second half.
The LHSAA awards one MVP award to each team, and my early vote for Evangel is Jeremy Little. He has made some nice catches - doing a good job simply getting open in the first place - and turned a first-down play into a 25-yard touchdown by escaping two tacklers early in the third. The short kickoff by St. John was indeed a mistake. ECA, 10-7, with nine minutes to play in the third.
As the second half begins, I suspect St. John needs to stop the ECA offense early just as it did in the first half. I also think St. John needs to score quickly. Although ECA is trailing, I think St. John needs at least two more touchdowns to win. I think the high and short kickoff to try to recover the second-half kickoff was a St. John mistake. It gives the ECA Eagles the ball right near midfield.
The teams didn't move the ball much in the second, but an interception by Pat Chitman sets up a 30-yard field goal at the end of a 17-yard drive. Evangel trails, 7-3, at halftime.
By my calculations, Evangel finishes the first quarter with 16 yards of total offense and trailing, 7-0. Dez Duron is in at quarterback, and the ECA Eagles are at the St. John 15 after a fumble recovery.
Evangel is not starting well. It has three false starts and did not get a first down on its first drive. St. John starts right at midfield for its second drive. QB Baco Romero is doing a fine job of running the St. John offense. He gains 5 on his third carry. Evangel's best defensive plays have been when St. John runners have fallen down. Until now, when ECA holds on a fourth-and-3. There is 2:45 left in the first.
Touchdown, St. John, 6:21 left in first. Spenser Williams was almost untouched, and the Plaquemine Eagles have to be full of confidence now. St. John, 7-0.
Here are some early impressions: The St. John offense is doing quite well, thank you. It has moved from its own 25, past the 50, and there has been only one lost yardage play. That play was caused by Charles Cloman, who has been fantastic in the postseason for Evangel. I'm starting to think he might be the best player on the ECA defense.
St. John won the toss. Evangel will defend the South goal. Mike Boyer, the principal of Teurlings Catholic, delivered the invocation. Perhaps that's appropriate. He played an important role in keeping the public and private schools together in the most recent threat of a split. It's my opinion that he would have made a fine commissioner, but I doubt the majority of public school principals would have wanted a private school man in charge.
As the coin toss begins, let me amend my statement about St. John's size. They apparently hid some rather large linemen in the dressing room until now. Ha! Jordan Powell and Lydell Smith are the captains at midfield for the Shreveport Eagles. Both teams sent a second line - likely seniors - for the toss. As for the crowd, although the media is seated nearer the Evangel fans (ECA is the home team and is in all red unis), the St. John contingent is much louder.
If my computer clock is correct, we are about 12 minutes from kickoff, and a small crowd is in the seats of the Superdome ready for St. John vs. Evangel for the 1A football championship of Louisiana.
About 21,000 fans attended Friday night's games according to the guy helping the media here. A concessionaire told me the second game - Lutcher vs. Independence - was the better attended as fans filled the lower arena.
At first glance, I have to give Evangel a big advantage. My first thought upon seeing the St. John players on the turf was, "where is the varsity?" Size is not a strength for the Plaquemine Eagles. Couple that with Evangel's speed, and I don't see how St. John has a chance. If ECA were not so well coached, maybe, but the Shreveport Eagles are always prepared.