Blocked point after preserves Fontainebleau’s 35-34 win over Hammond
MANDEVILLE – Unbeaten Hammond’s arrived Friday to Fontainebleau with momentum to take on the Bulldogs.
Despite the outstanding efforts of star running back Eli Johnson, the Bulldogs escaped in nail-biting fashion with a 35-34 win in a District 6-5A contest.
The Bulldogs trailed 14-7 before scoring 28 unanswered points going into the fourth quarter.
Down 35-14 with 9:36 to go, Hammond quarterback Terin Jones started the Tornado comeback, connecting with Leon Winsberry Jr. for a 32-yard touchdown pass to draw within two scores.
The Tors special teams chipped in next, blocking a punt that set the offense up on the Bulldogs 19 yard line. Johnson capped the short ensuing drive with a 2-yard touchdown.
With 1:13 remaining in the game, Hammond scored on a 32-yard double pass to draw within one. The Tors opted for a tying extra point attempt but Fontainebleau senior linebacker William Green came up with the game-sealing block.
Hammond was good early and late. Jones drew first blood on a 13-yard scamper for a touchdown in the first quarter.
With 2:20 left in the period, Leon Winsberry, Jr. muffed punt in his own territory did not hurt. A Bulldogs fake field goal attempt was stuffed to end the threat.
After starting on their own 5-yard line, defensive back Semaj Whittine’s interception again set up Fontainebleau. This time, they took advantage via a quick scoring run by running back Jesse Hull.
Hammond (3-1) regained the lead when Johnson scored from two yards out to make it 14-7.
The Bulldogs answered right back on their next drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Drake Dichiara to Sebastian Miller, who finished with six catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns.
With 53 seconds to go in the first half, another Bulldogs interception was followed by a second Miller touchdown catch, an 18-yard reception that gave the hosts a 21-14 halftime lead.
Fontainebleau (3-1) used a successful onside kick to start the second half to add to their momentum and the lead. The Bulldogs marched down the field and scored off a 10 yard Drake Dichiara run to make it 28-14.
A third Fontainebleau interception late third quarter set up yet another touchdown. Dicharia linked up with Miller from 31 yards out to bring the lead to 35-14.
From there, the Bulldogs had to hold on to capture the district opener for both teams.
Eli Johnson led Hammond with 24 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Fontainebleau (3-1) will travel to Covington to take on the Lions next week while Hammond (3-1) will be at home to face the St. Paul’s Wolves.
Quarters 1st 2nd 3rd 4th — Final
Hammond 7 7 0 20 — 34
Fontainebleau 0 21 7 0 — 35
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The Slidell native is an Alumnus of Southeastern Louisiana. He has been a Production Assistant and a contributing reporte, covering the Saints and Pelicans at WLAE-TV since January 2022. Graffia also serves as a New Orleans Breakers reporter for the USFLNEWSROOM.He hosts his own YouTube show “Sports Étouffée” that covers a wide range of Louisiana sports teams and topics.