REPLAY: Karr storms back to edge Warren Easton late, 20-18

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NEW ORLEANS – When Edna Karr and Warren Easton meet, you can expect a wild finish.

In fact, the last few meetings between the two have been decided by one possession. And Saturday night’s contest did not disappoint.

Before a packed house at Tad Gormley Stadium, the Cougars trailed most of the game but managed a comeback

With less than two minutes to go in the contest, Karr quarterback AJ Samuel showed his poise on a fourth down and threw a 35-yard contested pass to senior wideout Yarun McMath to the Easton 1-yard line.

A few plays later, Karr capped the drive with 1-yard game winning touchdown.

“I was like, ‘Coach, call my number,” Samuel said. “I want the football.”

Samuel led the Cougars in rushing with 12 carries, 59 yards, Karr coach Brice Brown trusted his junior quarterback in decisive moment.

“In this kind of game, whoever has the hot hand in the moment deserves the ball,” said Brown.

On the very first possession, it looked like Karr would be the team to chase all night. Samuel connected with Aaron Anderson for a 65-yard touchdown for an early 7-0 Cougars lead.

From that point, uncharacteristic penalties by the Cougars and great defensive play by Easton caused the Karr offense to sputter during the first half.

“We have to clean up some pre and post snap penalties and personal foul calls,” said Brown. We anticipated the anxiety of the crowd, we had 10,000 plus tonight for this game. Our guys fought back and found a way to win.”

However, the Eagles would take full advantage of the miscues when quarterback Keddrick Connelly connected with Leon Ellioe for a 47-yard touchdown. Easton’s two-point conversion attempt failed leaving Karr up 7-6.

In the second quarter, Warren Easton running back Jay Gordon ran hard for a 6-yard touchdown run to give Easton a 12-7 lead.

A crucial penalty followed by a turnover by Karr gave Easton good field position, and Gordon cashed in another touchdown on a 3-yard run to make it 18-7.

“I’m proud of my boys tonight,” said Easton head coach Jerry Phillips. “At the end of the game, we have to make our plays. That’s how football is. It’s five or six plays in the game that determine the game. They didn’t go our way.”

Facing its largest deficit of the season, Karr was not phased. The Cougars have faced adversity before and responded.

A different Karr team came out of the locker for the second half, with smothering defense and well-crafted drives.

Christopher Vasquez’s 1-yard run closed the gap to 18-14.

Karr’s defense kept coming up big with three huge stops in a row against a ball-control focused Easton offense to put themselves in position to win the game.

The running game of the Eagles gave them a prime chance for a win, and Phillips was pleased with the way his offense established their identity against one of the state’s best teams.

“That’s going to be our identity of Warren Easton. We’re going to run the football. We’re going to play real physical. It’s not a secret,” said Phillips.

A big crowd at City Park was witness to a great show.

“This is what the city needed. The pandemic last year then the hurricane this year. This is what the city needed. East Bank versus West Bank, two of the best teams in the state of Louisiana. The city really came out. I’m so proud of the city of New Orleans. I’m proud of my team and I’m proud of Edna Karr also.”

Football fans in the city could be treated to an exciting rematch when the Class 4A playoffs come along.

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