GONZALES -- With only a single victory combined this season, both teams were desperately itching for a win Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
East Ascension (2-1 overall) got to satisfy that itch with a 17-13 win over Thibodaux, and it was a back and forth dog fight all night.
Thibodaux (0-3) wasted no time trying to notch its first win of the season. Its opening drive went 84 yards with running back Tanner Guillot capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to take the lead.
East Ascension answered back with some stout defense and special teams. After a stalled drive, punter Cade Kernan pinned Thibodaux back at the 10-yard line on a 63-yard punt. Kernan would end the night with eight punts and a 45-yard average.
“Kernan did a great job pinning them back for us tonight,” East Ascension coach Darnell Lee said.
Two plays later, the Spartans capitalized and got on the board with a tackle for a loss and a safety by defensive lineman Standford Knockum.
With East Ascension starting running back Ralph Williams out with an injury, Thibodaux dared the Spartans to run the ball with 5 and 6 men in the box. It mostly paid off until quarterback Jason Wakefield rolled out and hit receiver Shemar Thompson for a 24-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter giving EA’s first lead of the game 9-6.
Just before halftime, Thibodaux was faced with yet another long field to open its drive. Quarterback Demarcus Mitchell wasted no time leading his team down the field finishing off the drive with a 38-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kevon Williams with less than a minute before halftime.
Despite out gaining the Spartans 179-95, the Tigers had only a 13-9 lead at halftime.
“We’re just a turnover machine right now,” Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. “We are an accident waiting to happen on the field. We are a record-setting turnover team, and we are never ever going to win a ballgame doing what we’re doing.”
East Ascension recaptured the lead 15-13 on a 77-yard bomb from Wakefield to receiver Shaivonn Robinson for a touchdown.
Going into the fourth quarter both defenses held strong. With players playing out of position due to injury, East Ascension never truly established a running game and struggled to close out the game. On the night, the Spartans rushed for 67 yards on 28 attempts.
However, on Thibodaux’s final drive East Ascension linebacker Adrian Bowie sacked Thibodaux’s quarterback for another safety, sealing the win for East Ascension.