Early deficit too much for Brother Martin in 40-14 loss to Petal

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J.P. Pierce #8

NEW ORLEANS – With a high-powered Petal team coming to New Orleans, Brother Martin could not afford a slow start. But it happened anyway.

A 20-0 first quarter deficit was too much to over come as the Crusaders ran out of gas in the second half of a 40-14 loss Saturday afternoon at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Petal (2-1) took full advantage of their sharper edge from two games under their belts by pouncing on Brother Martin early. On the first possession of the game, the Panthers marched down the field via short passes and run by Nataurean Watts before senior quarterback Jordan Wilson scored on a one-yard run.

Brother Martin (0-1) quickly reached crossed midfield running the football on their first possession, but senior quarterback J.P. Pierce’s first pass attempt was intercepted. The Panthers made them pass for the mistake with other scoring march capped by a 19-yard scoring run by Watts.

It was another Watts who was next to make an impact. Wide receiver Natorian Watts hauled in a third-down throw from Wilson for a 19-yard touchdown with 2:02 left to go in the first quarter. Petal cashed in on a short field set up by a fumbled kickoff by the Crusaders.

Playing their first game against a battle-tested foe, Brother Martin did not fold despite the big early hole. The Crusaders running game behind a big, veteran offensive line began to take over in the second quarter. However, Petal turned away Brother Martin twice in the red zone to force turnovers on downs. Sophomore running back Chris Smith was stopped just short of the goal line on a fourth down carry from the Petal 1.

“Last week in the jamboree against Vandebilt Catholic, it was two drives we didn’t finish. In the scrimmage before that with Covington, same thing. Today, two more drive early we didn’t finish. That’s one of big program principles – finishing. We have to get better there.”

Brother Martin finally hit paydirt thanks to the running ability of Pierce, who coverted a third down scramble for a key first down in Petal territory before taking off again on a 14-yard touchdown run with just 37 second left in the half.

Pierce finished with seven carries for 60 yards with the one score and added 150 yards through the air on 11-for-29 passing with the one interception.

The Crusaders continued to miss out on opportunities to draw closer despite a steady running game. The defense turned back the Panthers on a scoring threat early in the third quarter thanks to senior Ryan Alfonso’s interception on an under-thrown Wilson toss inside the Crusaders five-yard line.

After untimely miscues and misses plays in the passing game slowed Brother Martin, Petal finally struck for the big play to turn the tide back in their favor for good.

On third down and 9, Wilson lofted a jump ball to Natorian Watts down the sideline. Alfonso, who was banged up earlier in the series, lost the battle for the throw in the air as the 6-foot-4 Watts came down with the ball, kept his balance and sprinted down the sideline to the end zone to make it 26-7 with 4:40 left in the third. Watts had six grabs for 146 of Wilson’s 249 yards passing with the pair of touchdowns.

Finishing over the 100-yard mark on the ground for the day, Nataurean Watts matched his brother with his second touchdown as well, a six-yard run on the first play of the final quarter to put Petal up 33-7.

The Crusaders fought back again, responding with a 72-yard touchdown drive fueled by Pierce through the air for all but four yards on the drive. A pair of seniors, Brady Faust and Joe Parenti, made key grabs on the drive, Two-way performer Matthew Alfonso capped the march with a one-yard touchdown with 9:20 left.

“We competed. We’re never gonna have scoreboard mentality. Don’t look at the scoreboard. We’re coaches. We’re teachers of men. In life, you’re going to go through some adversity. Get up and keep competing,” said Brother Martin head coach Mark Bonis.

However, there was no rally in store for Martin as the 90-plus degree heat took a toll on a defense that was kept on the field far too long early and late by the no-huddle Panthers. Semaj Silas broke a pair of tackles on a 36-yard touchdown run to wrap up the scoring with 5:04 left to go.

Petal was a team in midseason form against a Brother Martin squad just starting to find its way.

“From week one from where they are now, they’ve gotten much better,” Bonis said about Petal. “I hope we make the same progression from week one to week two.”

Brother Martin faces another stiff challenge next Saturday night at Gormley against Warren Easton, 40-14 winners Friday night over Jesuit.

1 2 3 4   F
Petal (Miss.) 20 0 6 14 40
Brother Martin 0 7 0 7 14

Louisiana Prep Football results from Sat., Sept. 2
New Orleans Area
Archbishop Hannan 41, Independence 20
Archbishop Rummel 31, Gulfport, MS 0
Escambia, FL 34, Archbishop Shaw 0
Jeanerette 14, Sci Academy-Abramson 6
Petal, MS 40, Brother Martin 14

Around the state:
Abbeville 19, West St. Mary 12
Ascension Catholic 63, Mentorship Academy 16
Ascension Episcopal 46, Erath 14
Caldwell Parish 60, General Trass 42
Evangel Christian 14, East St. Louis, IL 6
Ferriday 37, Alexandria 27
Gueydan 50, North Central 44
Sam Houston 55, St. Louis Catholic 38
Iota 40, Basile 7
Iowa 13, Crowley 12
Jena 46, Winnfield 13
Lake Charles College Prep 16, Pickering 7
Leesville 33, Washington-Marion 12
New Iberia 23, St. Martinville 7
North Vermilion 21, Beau Chene 20
Oberlin 28, Mamou 12
Red River 28, Lincoln Prep 13
Rosepine 35, Merryville 0
St. Edmund 35, Hanson Memorial 6
Vermilion Catholic 41, Loreauville 26

Louisiana Prep Football schedule for Sun., Sept. 3
McDonogh 35 vs. St. Augustine at Tad Gormley—5 p.m.

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Jude Young


As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…

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