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East Jeff knocks out Gators, 41-6

South Terrebonne's Jarion Sauceberry returns a kick in Friday's game against East Jefferson. (Photo by Charles Phillips III/Correspondent)

BOURG — South Terrebonne struck the first blow, but East Jefferson landed several more strong punches to knock the Gators out for the count during Friday's nondistrict game.

The Gators went on a long scoring drive on their opening possession of the first quarter to take an early lead, but East Jefferson answered back with six consecutive touchdowns to take a 41-6 win at South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium.

East Jefferson (4-0 overall) capped a strong night offensively with 440 yards (378 rushing, 62 passing, 20 first downs) and held South Terrebonne to 285 yards (215 rushing, 70 passing, 17 first downs). South Terrebonne (1-3) celebrated homecoming on Friday.

Gators coach Richard Curlin said they struggled against East Jefferson's running attack.

"We got out-matched with some of their speed," Curlin said. "They've got a good fullback and quarterback. They run the option well, and we just didn't do a good job of defending it."

On the opening possession of the first quarter, South Terrebonne's offense rode the back of senior fullback Channing Champagne for its first score.

Champagne (15 carries, 57 yards) had nine carries on the drive and capped it with a 3-yard touchdown run up the middle. The drive took nearly 8 minutes off the clock and went 17-plays, 70-yards.

Kicker Matt Benoit's extra point attempt was blocked, and the Gators held an early 6-0 lead.

But East Jeff's offense got cranked up with three touchdowns from fullback Ronald Green (14 carries, 109 yards) in the first half.

Green's first touchdown run was a 4-yard dash that put the Warriors ahead 7-6 with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.

After East Jeff's defense forced a three-and-out, Green added his second big run on a 26-yard score to put the Warriors up 14-6 with 9:26 left in the second quarter.

Right before halftime, East Jeff quarterback Eugene Wells (six carries, 57 yards rushing, 2-for-3 passing with 62 yards) hooked up with receiver Justin Johnson on a 43-yard pass, which set up first-and-goal at the Gators' 3.

Green pounded it in on a 3-yard scamper on the next play, putting the Warriors on top 20-6 with 1:20 left before halftime. The extra point attempt failed.

East Jeff coach Dominic Saltaformaggio said the Warriors did a good job of answering South Terrebonne's opening touchdown.

"That was only the second touchdown our starting defense has given up this year," Saltaformaggio said. "I think they were a little upset about it. We responded well. We settled down a little bit and made a couple of sideline adjustments. It worked out for us."

After getting big yards on its opening drive, the Gators (12 penalties for 75 yards) failed to find the end zone again.

"We knew we had to control the football," Curlin said. "We had to have some drives like the opening one to start the game. We needed at least four more like that during the game. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times with some sacks and penalties. We just couldn't get a good drive going after that."

In the third quarter, East Jeff's offense continued to strike on its opening possession, getting a 18-yard touchdown pass from Wells to a wide-open Quincy Cummings. The point after failed, but the Warriors took a 26-6 lead with 9:36 left.

The Warriors scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter on runs of 24-yards from Sydney Gilbert and 7-yards from Jerome Smith (five carries, 115 yards) to go up 41-6 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.

South Terrebonne quarterback James LeBlanc completed 5-of-12 passes for 45 yards, while running back Dovonte Griffin added 88 rushing yards on nine carries, and Christian Wallis had 77 yards on 19 carries.

The Gators, which open District 8-4A play at Vandebilt Catholic next week, played without the services of starting running back Justin Johnson, sophomore defensive back Tyeson Verdin and sophomore fullback Dylan Authement, who were all suspended due to an altercation at school this week.

Curlin said the players are expected to return against Vandebilt in the team's District 8-4A next week.

"We've got to take this frustration and turn it around next week," Curlin said.