Holy Cross takes over in fourth quarter to edge St. Augustine, 24-20

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NEW ORLEANS – With a potential first round playoff host seed on the line, Holy Cross and St. Augustine squared off in a game that figured to be close Thursday night.

In a game of momentum which included a slew of mistakes on both sides, Holy Cross persevered and prevailed 24-20 over St. Augustine at Tad Gormley Stadium in a game aired live on WGSO 990 AM.

After committing three turnovers in the first three quarters, Holy Cross came up with three St. Augustine turnovers in the fourth quarter to erase a 10-point deficit in the final stanza.

The Tigers needed a spark and they got one.

“It’s definitely a momentum builder,” Holy Cross head coach Guy Lecompte said. “The kids showed a lot of character to be able to come back and hold strong in the end. I’m proud of them.”

The ball landed the Purple Knights way in the first half, recovering two fumbles by Holy Cross en route to building a 14-3 by halftime.

However, the second half would be far different.

Holy Cross (6-3, 3-3) put together a 16-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard Jaden Handy run for their first touchdown. Handy rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

“I just trusted my o-linemen and I knew we were going to get the job done,” Handy said. “It feels amazing to get the playoff seed. The home game is what we’re headed for and that’s what we’re going to get,” said Handy.

St. Augustine (5-4, 1-4) did respond with a 63-yard touchdown catch by Khi Mathieu thrown by quarterback Trevon Woodson and the score was 20-10, but they would score no more.

A couple possessions later, Tyler Grubb recovered a fumble, putting the Tigers in the their redzone. After a short pass to Tyler Kirkwood, Jaden Handy ran a 15-yard touchdown to make it a 3-point game.

“We told the offense we had their backs,” Grubb explained. “They believed in us and we came up with two fumbles for them that helped us get the victory.”

On the Purple Knights next possession, Trevon Woodson fumbled and Chase Rouzano recovered it, setting up the eventual 15-yard go-ahead touchdown to Jalen Johnson thrown by John Dada Wooton with 6:30 left in the game.

Colby Brown came up with the interception to close out the win for the Tigers.

Both teams were sloppy throughout as St. Augustine was penalized 13 times for 109 yards while Holy Cross incurred 10 penalties for 104 yards.

St. Augustine head coach Nathaniel Jones wasn’t happy with the mistakes in the second half.

“It was a tale of two halves. We made them turn the ball over in the first half,” Jones said. “They made us turn the ball over in the second half in our territory. We can’t turn the ball over. When you look at the turnover ratio, that’s indicative of ball games.”

The win was the fifth in the last six meetings for the Tigers over the Purple Knights.

Holy Cross closes out the regular season next Thursday night against Live Oak at Tad Gormley Stadium while St. Augustine finishes its regular season a week from Saturday at 2 p.m. against Archbishop Rummel, also at Tad Gormley. Both games set for broadcast on WGSO 990 AM.

HC 3 0 7 14 24
SA 7 7 6 0 20

1st Qtr.
HC—Nolan Heitmeier, 30 yard FG 3-0 HC @ 9:03-1st
SA—Mahmoud Bailey, 4 yard run (Jaron Marks kick) 7-3 SA @ :47-1st

2nd Qtr.
SA—Trevon Woodson, 2 yard run (Jaron Marks kick) 14-3 SA @ 6:19-2nd

3rd Qtr.
HC—Jaden Handy, 1 yard run (Nolan Heitmeier kick) 14-10 SA @ 5:53-3rd
SA—Khi Mathieu, 63-yard pass from Trevon Woodson (kick failed) 20-10 SA @ 2:43-3rd

4th Qtr.
HC—Jaden Handy, 15-yard run (Nolan Heitmeier kick) 20-17 SA @ 9:01-4th
HC—Jalen Johnson, 15-yard pass from John Dada Wooton (Nolan Heitmeier kick) 24-20 HC @ 6:40-4th

First Downs:
HC 15
SA 13

HC 3
SA 3

HC 0
SA 4

HC 10 for 104
SA 13 for 109

Rushing Yards
HC 91
SA 141

Passing Yards
HC 218
SA 175

Total Yards
HC 309
SA 316

Individual Statistics
HC Rushing
Jaden Handy 23 carries, 109 yards, 2 TD’s
Jordan Hurwitz 2 carries, 11 yards
John Dade Wooton 10 carries, -30 yards

HC Passing
John Dada Wooton 13-of-24 for 217 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

HC Receiving
Tyler Kirkwood 5 catches for 65 yards
Merlin Seminary 3 catches for 37 yards
Jalen Johnson 3 catches for 32 yards, 1 TD
Alondre Wells 1 catch for 24 yards
Jaden Handy 1 catch for 54 yards

SA Rushing
Trevon Woodson 18 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD
Albert Quest 4 carries, 22 yards
Justin Doyle 5 carries, 21 yards
Mahmoud Bailey 6 carries, 12 yards, 1 TD
Devin Coatney 1 carry, 4 yards

SA Passing
Trevon Woodson 16-of-26 for 175 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

SA Receiving
Khi Mathieu 2 catches for 79 yards, 1 TD
De’Andre Cooper 8 catches for 42 yards
Josh White 2 catches for 20 yards
Broderick Martin 2 catches, 19 yards
Mahmoud Bailey 2 catches, 15 yards

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Jordan Liuzza

WGMB-TV Producer

Born at East Jefferson Hospital, Jordan Liuzza is a Louisiana native who grew up in Metairie, before moving to Destrehan after Hurricane Katrina. Jordan graduated Destrehan High School, class of 2012, and thereafter graduated from LSU, class of 2017, with a B.A. in Communications. Growing up in Metairie, Jordan played park ball at Johnny Bright Playground. At Destrehan High School,…

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