Julien Gums rushes for 204 yards to power De La Salle past St. Augustine in first prep game at Yulman Stadium

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NEW ORLEANS – The De La Salle Cavaliers knew they would need a tremendous offensive performance to score against the feisty St. Augustine Purple Knights defense.

Senior quarterback Julien Gums provided just such an effort, collecting four touchdowns to lead De La Salle past their former Catholic League rivals, 38-12.

Gums racked up 204 yards on just 20 carries to lead the Cavaliers rushing attack.

“I’m surprised I even scored four touchdowns today,” said Gums. “This defense, they are good, but I give it up to the (Cavaliers) team and the coaching staff.”

The Cavaliers were spotted great field position throughout the contest, the first high school football regular season game in the history of Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.

An errant downed punt and a tipped interception by Robert Lestrick gave De La Salle possession inside St. Augustine territory twice in the first half.  Both times the Cavaliers cashed in on the opportunities, via touchdown runs from Kendall Collins and Gums.

Another turnover by the Purple Knights in the third quarter gave De La Salle the ball at the St. Aug 31.  Again, Gums made the most of the field possession, breaking free for an 18 yard touchdown run.

Five days removed from shutting out one of the favorites to win the Class 4A state championship in McDonogh 35, the Purple Knights simply had no answer for the Cavaliers ground attack.  De La Salle capitalized on mistakes and controlled the line of scrimmage, moving the ball at will against the Purple Knights.

The game marked the first high school football game played on the Tulane campus since 1979, when Chalmette defeated Jesuit at Tulane Stadium.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Gums. “Playing at a college stadium before you’re even going to college as a senior.”

The win also marked the first one for the Cavaliers against the Purple Knights in 20 years, a 31-7 victory in 1997.

“It’s awesome, this is about the kids,” said De La Salle coach Ryan Manale about restarting the rivalry with St. Augustine. “Hats off to (St. Augustine), so much respect for the job they do. They put us on the schedule and we played and look at the environment and look at the crowd you get when the kids compete at the highest level…it was a great night for De La Salle High School.”

For St. Augustine, the ability to move the ball against the Cavaliers appeared to be easy, as they took their opening possession and fashioned a 9-play, 45 yard drive capped off by a two yard touchdown run from Garland LaFrance to give the Knights an early 6-0 edge with 7:01 to play in the opening quarter.

Fynn LaBreche’s 30-yard field goal cut the lead to 6-3 at the 3:37 mark of the first before the Purple Knights quickly saw their offensive success come to an abrupt end in the first half.  The Cavaliers held them to a 3-and-out deep in their own territory, forcing a punt which inadvertently hit a Purple Knights player moments after leaving the foot of the punter and dying at the St. Aug 30 yard line. Gums and company grabbed ahold of the great opportunity to swing all the momentum to the Cavaliers.

Seven plays later, Kendall Collins ran in the go ahead score to put De La Salle up 10-6 at the 10:19 mark of the second quarter.

Lestrick’s interception gave the Cavs another short field at the St. Aug 35.  After a 30 yard run from Collins put the ball at the 5, Gums took in on the next play, extending the lead to 17-6 at the 8:11 mark in the 2nd quarter.

De La Salle put one more score on the board before the half on their next possession.  Starting at their own 9, the Cavaliers marched down the field on 10 plays, scoring from 16 yards out on Gums’ second touchdown to push the lead to 24-6 heading in the locker room.

The Purple Knights again started the second half much like they did in the first.  St. Augustine took possession at their 20 and quickly raced down field, scoring on a 30 yard pass from junior quarterback Michael Mims to LaFrance.  However, those would prove to be the final points of the night for the Purple Knights.

The Cavaliers did the remainder of the scoring in the second half, scoring on an 18 yard run by Gums in the 3rd quarter and again on a 29 yard pass from Gums to Aaron Marquez early in the final period.

“He is the most underrated running back in this state,” said Manale of Gums. “We play him by quarterback as need, but man if somebody saw him, Nicholls State is getting one hell of a football player.”

Notes: Even with the De La Salle victory, St. Augustine leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers, 33-4.

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