Balanced effort powers Edna Karr to convincing win at St. Paul’s

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Karr at St. Paul's 2017
Edna Karr’s defense came up big in a win at St. Paul’s to open the 2017 regular season (Photo: Pat Mashburn).

COVINGTON – Reigning Class 4A champion Edna Karr was on the prowl on both sides of the ball in 42-23 victory at St. Paul’s in the season opener.

Cougar defensive back Devin Bush made Wolves’ quarterback Johntae McDowell pay with three interceptions, including two in the second half for touchdowns while quarterback Skylar Perry threw for 195 yards and three scores.

Next week, St. Paul’s hosts Jesuit and Karr travels for a battle with Algiers rival Landry-Walker, a 27-18 loser against John Curtis in week one.

“On defense, we hunt,” Bush said. “I know we are the defending state champs and people are hunting us, so we have to hunt them back. My teammates tell me that if the ball comes my way, I’d better take it the other way.”

Karr (1-0) fell behind 6-0 early as Robby Ferrante kicked field goals of 27 and 21 yards.

St. Paul’s (0-1) got a key defensive stop on a fourth down attempt by Karr and got the ball at their 15. However, three plays later, Sheldon Celstine intercepted McDowell and it took just one play for the offense to hit pay dirt as Perry threw to Anthony Spurlock for a 68-yard touchdown, tying the score at 6-6 after a missed extra point.

“We were able to figure out our opponent and execute,” said Perry. “Our coaches put us in the best situations to win the game. On defense, we do what we’re told and read our keys.”

Ferrante kicked a 25-yard field goal with five minutes left in the first half to give St. Paul’s their final lead of the game.

With one second remaining and Karr in possession at the Wolves’ six yard line, they were called for a false start as time expired. However, one second was put back on the clock and Perry made the most of it, connecting with Michael Corner for a 10-yard touchdown. That was good enough for a 12-9 half time lead.

Three times in the first half, St. Paul’s got inside the Cougars’ five yard line, but could manage only three field goals.

In the second half, the flood gates opened as Jamier Jackson intercepted McDowell’s first pass of the second half, returning it 45 yards for the touchdown, increasing the lead to 18-9.

Lain Scobel got the ball back for St. Paul’s when he recovered a mishandled quarterback to running back exchange at the Cougar 24. Three plays later, McDowell found the end zone on a six-yard run. An extra point by Ferrante cut the Karr lead to 18-16.

Rather than scored quickly, this time Perry and the Cougars were a bit more methodical, marching 70 yards in 10 plays, capping it off with an 11-yard run by Ronnie Jackson. The lead was extended to 30-16 when Perry found Corner for a 15-yard strike.

Johntae McDowell
Karr forced St. Paul’s quarterback Johntae McDowell into four interceptions, including two pick-sixes (Photo: Pat Mashburn).

It looked as if St. Paul’s might be on the way back when McDowell hit Grant Grosch for a 30-yard touchdown, reducing the deficit to 30-23, but that was short lived as Bush victimized McDowell again, this time for a 55-yard pick six.

“We can’t play any better on defense that we did,” said Karr coach Brice Brown. “We’ve got to clean up some tackling, but that’s going to come with time.”

It was a disappointing start to the season for St. Paul’s as coach Ken Sears lamented the progression of the game.

“Five interceptions, two pick-sixes, every interception led to points,” Sears said. “Four times inside the red zone, and we come away with no points. It’s hard to win ball games that way. Same story as last week, but worse. If you take away those things, we’ve got a shot to win.”

Statistics

Karr
Rushing – Ronnie Jackson, 18-148, TD; Skylar Perry, 11-45, TD; Ahmad Antoine, 3-55, TD; Sheldon Celestine, 1-18
Receiving – Anthony Spurlock, 3-92, TD; Michael Corner, 3-55, 2 TDs; Dylan Hill, 4-33; Khalfani Simmons, 4-28; Quentin Payne, 1-12

Passing – Skylar Perry, 15-23-0-220, 3 TDs

St. Paul’s
Rushing – Corey Williamson, 12-62; Logan Davenport, 10-60; Johntae McDowell, 8-50

Receiving – Grant Grosch, 3-52, TD; Corey Williamson, 2-41; Nick Stanton, 2-25; Cameron Vidal, 2-19; Jack Mashburn, 2-14

Passing – Johntae McDowell, 11-26-4-151, TD; Jack Mashburn, 2-4-1-32

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