Running game fuels Christian Brother (Tenn.) to 35-26 win at St. Paul’s

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Christian Brothers at St. Paul's 2017
Physical Christian Brothers wears down St. Paul’s in the second half (Photo: Pat Mashburn).

COVINGTON, La. – They came. They saw. They conquered.

Tennessee powerhouse Christian Brothers had an easier five-hour trek back home thanks to a victory over St. Paul’s 35-26 in Hunter Stadium.

Five touchdowns by four different players and a punishing second half running game proved to be the difference down the stretch.

“I thought our back up quarterback came in under an adverse situation and did a good job,” Christian Brothers coach Thomas McDaniel said. “In the second half, I think we were stronger as the game went on. There are some things we need to clean up, but I was pleased with our effort.”

Also, late in the third quarter, St. Paul’s starting quarterback Johntae McDowell left the game and did not return after being hit hard on the Wolves’ sidelines, trying to avoid a sack. McDowell was 14 of 23 for 172 yards with a touchdown pass. Back up Jack Mashburn finished the game for the Wolves, completing 14 of 22 for 160 yards and two scores. Mashburn also had five catches for 79 yards before going in at quarterback.

St. Paul’s (1-2) begins play in District 6-5A when the host Northshore on Friday, September 22.

It was the Wolves’ game early as they scored on their first possession, a 67-yard drive culminated by an eight-yard run up the middle by Corey Williamson. A Robby Ferrante extra point gave St. Paul’s a 7-0 lead.

Two minutes into the second quarter, the Wolves fumbled the ball at their 42, but they appeared to have stopped the Purple Wave advance when Christian Brothers starter Connor DeFreece threw an incompletion on fourth down, but a roughing the passer penalty kept the drive alive.

The misfortune didn’t end there as a pair of personal fouls on St. Paul’s extended the Christian Brothers drive, enabling them to finish with a four-yard scoring run by Nick Montesi, who finished the game with 154 yards on 22 carries. An extra point by Logan Payne tied the score at 7-7 with under six minutes left to play in the first half.

In the second half, the gloves came off as Brody, who finished the rest of the game for starter Connor DeFreece, connected with Antonio Lay for a 76-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half, taking a 14-7 lead. Stanton had his best game of the season with eight catches for 65 yards.

The Purple Wave returned the favor from the Wolves’ first half drive-sustaining penalties and kept the Wolves going as McDowell found Nick Stanton open for a 16-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 at the 9:24 mark of the third quarter.

On the next series, McDowell would suffer an undisclosed injury and not return, giving way to Mashburn.

Al Wooten made his mark when he scored on a five-yard run, and found the end zone again four minutes later on a 37-yard run, pushing the Christian Brothers lead to 28-14. Midway through the fourth, Montesi added yet another score, giving the visitors an insurmountable 35-14 advantage.

On his second series, Mashburn completed four of five passes 54 yards, including a six-yard touchdown to William Robinson, cutting the lead to 35-20. The Wolves recovered the on side kick at the Christian Brothers’ 43, and on the second play of the drive, Mashburn threw a 35-yard pass that was tipped into the hands of Gabe Ingram for a 35-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left, cutting the lead to 35-26 after a missed conversion.

“The turnovers in the first half stalled a lot of our momentum,” St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears said. “We had a couple of key injuries and some inexperience in there. The size factor took over towards the end. I was extremely proud of my kids who stepped in.”

Team Statistics
St. Paul’s
Rushing – Corey Williamson, 11-18, TD; Johntae McDowell, 6-13; Logan Davenport, 3-10; Carter Ely, 2-9; Cameron Vidal, 1-1; Jack Mashburn, 3 – (-9)
Receiving – Jack Mashburn, 5-79; Nick Stanton, 8-65, TD; Corey Williamson, 3-36; Cameron Vidal, 6-32; Logan Davenport, 6-31; William Robinson, 3-23; Grant Grosch, 2-15
Passing – Johntae McDowell, 14-23-1-172, TD; Jack Mashburn, 14-22-0-160, 2 TDs

Christian Brothers (Tenn.)
Rushing – Nick Montesi, 22-154; Al Wooten, 3-35; Ryan Whitaker, 3-25; Will Ruth, 5-10
Receiving – Porter Bird, 2-22; Zach Hamlet
Passing – Connor DeFreece, 2-4-0-13; Owen Brady, 2-7-0-96, TD

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