Rummel survives stunning start, escapes with 16-12 win over St. Augustine

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Corey Smooth safety vs. St. Aug
Rummel senior defensive back Corey Smooth tackles St. Augustine junior quarterback Kendell Sampson for a safety in the third quarter of the Raiders’ 16-12 win over the Purple Knights at Hoss Memtsas Stadium (Photo: Bill Arthurs).

HARVEY – For the entire game, Archbishop Rummel’s defense limited an opposing offense and held them off the scoreboard. That’s nothing new.

Saturday night at Hoss Memtsas Stadium saw the Raiders need every bit of their defensive dominance to overcome a stunning start to defeat St. Augustine, 16-12.

On a third-and-8 in the fourth quarter, Rummel junior running back Logan Diggs dashed off right end untouched for a 38-yard touchdown that gave his team its first lead of the night. As they have done all season, the defense made it stand up.

St. Augustine had a 12-0 lead after just 29 seconds of play. Jaheim Walters returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. On the first play from scrimmage for Rummel (8-0, 4-0 district), Purple Knights defensive back Tahj Adams returned a deflected pass 53 yards for a touchdown.

From that point forward, it was a typical Rummel performance. A smothering defense and just enough offense saved the night in a game that was relocated from Joe Yenni Stadium just hours before kickoff due to a power outage.

Rummel’s offense had a quick response to the early adversity, mounting a touchdown drive capped by senior Jaelen Sturgis four-yard run to make it 12-7. The passing game of the Raiders did little on the night but their first scoring drive was set up by a 44-yard strike from junior Kyle Wickersham to LSU commitment Koy Moore.

St. Augustine (4-4, 0-4) had chances to score again on three separate trips into the red zone but the Rummel defense came up with big plays and key stops. Sacks and penalties pushed the Purple Knights back on one possession while a 17-play drive keyed by the running and passing of junior quarterback Kendell Sampson ended when Jaron Marks missed a 25-yard field goal try at the end of the first half.

Special teams had helped put the Raiders in an hole early in the first half but redemption came early in the second half. Rummel downed a punt inside the St. Augustine one-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, senior Corey Smooth crashed into the backfield to tackle Sampson for a safety to draw Rummel closer as 12-9. Smooth had helped down the punt of senior Patrick Vanderbrook on the previous play to set up the safety.

St. Augustine’s best drive of the second half was fueled by sophomore running back Justin Doyle but Rummel turned away the Purple Knights again. Set up at the Raiders five-yard line, Sampson tried a quick slant over the middle that was tipped by Jordon Williams at the line of scrimmage and intercepted at the goal line on a driving grab by senior Sean Grimes.

“Hats off to our defense, and our offense did enough to get the win,” said Raiders head coach Nick Monica.

Rummel’s win sets up a highly-anticipated showdown next week against fellow unbeaten John Curtis at Joe Yenni Stadium. The game Friday at 7 p.m. will air live on Cox Sports Television and Crescent City Sports.

“We haven’t looked at them yet. We’ll go home and get some rest before going back to work.” said Monica. “We have two tough game left. We have to be disciplined with what (Curtis) are going to throw at you. If nothing else, what this (game tonight) proves is what we tell the guys. There’s no nights off in this league and you better show up ready to play every time.”

The Raiders survived a trap game to give themselves a chance to end the Patriots’ streak of district titles at three while the Purple Knights will wonder what could have been.

St. Augustine takes field again next Saturday in the LHSAA Game of the Week at 2:30 p.m. against Shaw at Tad Gormley Stadium. The game will be streamed live at Crescent City Sports.

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Jude Young

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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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