Brother Martin cruises past McKinley in first round for sixth straight win

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NEW ORLEANS – After a less than stellar start to the season, the Brother Martin Crusaders have been unstoppable as of late.

Running back Erick Lassair ran for two touchdowns and wide receiver Davvon Moore caught another pair and the sixth seeded Crusaders picked up their sixth win in a row against the 11th seeded McKinley Panthers in a LHSAA Division I playoff game Friday night at Yulman Stadium.

“I think our kids handled everything well,” said Crusaders coach Mark Bonis. “(McKinley) can really sling it around, they’ve got a lot of weapons, the quarterback can make plays so I think our kids were prepared they came out and did well against a pretty good football team and I’m happy about a lot of things that we did tonight.”

The win sets up a big matchup against third seeded Scotlandville, a state finalist last season on a bye this week. Earning half a dozen wins in a row should give Brother Martin momentum heading into the second round one would think. Just don’t tell that to Bonis.

“I really don’t think about (the winning streak),” said Bonis. “To be perfectly honest I didn’t know how many we’d won in a row; I just knew it was a few. My focus is just correcting all of the mistakes we’ve made and play our best football next week.”

Scotlandville ended the Crusaders season in the playoffs last year, making this matchup all the more meaningful for Brother Martin, according to Lassair.

“We’ve got some bad memories from last year,” said Lassair. “But we’re gonna have a great week of practice, study film, correct mistakes and we’re gonna come out and show them all we’ve got.”

Thankfully for Brother Martin those mistakes only came early on. On their opening possession, when they were moving the ball smoothly quarterback John Paul Pierce tried to force a throw and was intercepted at the Crusaders 30 yard line. It only took 7 plays for the Panthers to get a score when running back Manny Knighten ran it in from the 1 to give the Panthers their first and only lead of the night, 6-0 after a failed extra point.

Brother Martin turned it on in the second quarter, however, when Lassair scampered in to the end zone from 6 yards out to tie the game. Kicker Jack Landry banked in the extra point off the post to give the Crusaders the lead 7-6.

On their next possession, Pierce redeemed himself for his mistake earlier when he tossed a smooth pass to Moore for a 23-yard touchdown.

In the third, Pierce hooked up with Moore again for a 22 yard score and Lassair added a 10-yard touchdown in the fourth to put Brother Martin in command, 28-6.

McKinley quarterback Zachery Johnson had a one-yard touchdown to make the game closer but it wasn’t enough.

“It feels good to get a W,” said Moore. “But right now we have to go out and have a good week of practice, clean up our mistakes and go out next week to try and get another W.”

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