St. Augustine edges Rummel, 20-17, behind Josh White’s three touchdowns

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METAIRIE — Coming off of consecutive losses, St. Aug wanted to put together four quarters of effort.

At the most critical juncture, that effort and execution carried them through.

Facing fourth and goal at the Rummel one-yard line, Purple Knights quarterback Josh White burrowed into the end zone beneath a scrum at the goal line, securing a 20-17 Catholic League victory over Archbishop Rummel at the Shrine on Airline.

“Anytime we can get a win in the Catholic League it’s a big thing,” Jones said.  “We lost two in a row ourselves.  We had to come out here and prove something to ourselves, and I think we did that tonight.”

The decisive play did not come without some controversy.

“They never blew the ball dead,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said of the critical play. “Ten seconds ran off the clock, so the whole time he could have been down, but he worked his way across the goal line.”

Jones described his team’s keys to the dramatic win.

“Determination, hard work, no matter what the situation is to give 100 percent,” Jones said. “We showed some Purple Knight pride tonight.”

The winning drive was the second scoring march of the second half to total at least 14 plays for St. Aug (6-3, 4-2 District 10-5A).

The Purple Knights took over six minutes off the clock in marching 79 yards for a two-yard touchdown dash by White on their opening possession of the third quarter.  White finished with 65 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground.

That early second-half score showed St. Aug rebounding after a sloppy first half.  Penalties and turnovers plagued the Purple Knights, as White threw three picks and key infractions sustained both Rummel scoring drives.  The Knights drew seven flags overall in the first half.

“Once we calmed down and settled in, we started doing very well,” Jones remarked about his team’s turnaround in the second half.  “It’s just a matter of concentration and staying focused.”

The St. Aug defense, in particular the defensive line, frustrated Rummel all night, blowing through the Raiders’ depleted offensive line with three sacks of Rummel’s Chandler Fields.  Although Fields would finish 13 of 28 passing for 162 yards and two touchdowns to Ja’Marr Chase, he had to improvise all night with defenders in his face.

“Our defense has been keeping us in games all year,” Jones said. “Big picture, they’ve done an outstanding job all year.  We finally put everything together tonight.”

The injury woes for Rummel again surfaced, this time as guard Anthony Harrison went down in the first quarter.  Roth attributed the late-game defensive struggles in part to an inability to hold the ball for long drives.  All the Raiders could muster after halftime was a single big play – a 47-yard catch-and-run on a slant from Fields to Chase.

“We’re 5-4 (2-4 in District) and we’ve lost four games by a touchdown or less,” Roth said of Rummel’s late-season slide.  “The key was we couldn’t get anything going offensively. We couldn’t sustain drives.”

The first half was characterized by costly mistakes on both sides.  On the first snap from scrimmage Rummel’s Fields was sacked for a 14 yard loss by St. Aug linebacker Kyle Jackson.  Fields also took two other sacks of over ten yards facing the St. Aug defensive pressure, and the Raiders had three snaps that sailed past Fields for big losses.  A fourth bad snap was nullified by a false start flag.

Meanwhile, Rummel took advantage of the turnovers and short fields to put up two scores in the first half.  Fields connected with receiver Ja’Marr Chase on a 9-yard scoring toss to finish a 40-yard drive, and a penalty-aided 12-yard drive turned an Aaron Brule’ interception into a 29-yard field goal by Chris Freibert.

Both teams await playoff matchups in Division I for next week.


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