Zachary makes key plays to hold off St. Augustine, 41-32

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ZACHARY, La. – After a slow start Friday night, the offenses heated up for Zachary and St. Augustine in the second half. However, the host Broncos had more answers in a 41-32 in the season opener for both teams.

In fact, one big play on defense made the difference for Zachary in a second half with 54-points scored. Kylin Johnson stripped and recovered a fumble with just over five minutes to play, killing the hopes of the Purple Knights.

The Broncos were up 34-26 at the time of the turnover and wasted no time putting the game on ice as sophomore signal caller Eli Holstein tossed a 40-yard score to Charles Robertson to seal the deal.

“We had some big plays that took place in the second half,” Zachary head coach David Brewerton. “Big time players made plays on both sides and it turned into a shootout but we don’t want to do that too often with teams with athletes like they have over there.”

Junior running back Connor Wisham led Zachary with 189 yards on 20 carries with a pair of touchdowns while the first year starter Holstein completed 16 of 26 passes for 214 yards and a score also added two more touchdowns on the ground.

Zachary took a 13-6 lead into the locker room at halftime after both teams stalled on their opening drives. The Broncos scored first on a 30-yard field goal from Logan Fletcher.

St. Augustine scored the first touchdown of the night after a Keenon Holden interception and a targeting penalty set them up at the Broncos 45. Four plays later, quarterback Kendell Sampson’s five-yard toss to Wendell Newton made it 6-3.

Zachary tied the Knights 6-6 with 4:52 to play in the half with Fletcher’s 37-yard field goal and then recaptured the lead 13-6 at the 2:21 mark on a 17-yard keeper by Holstein to capping a six-play, 58-yard drive.

“We’ve got to be more aggressive in the first half,” said first-year St. Augustine coach Nick Foster. “We actually came out and competed, but we have to be better down the stretch.”

Foster’s quarterback did his part. Sampson completed 22 of 35 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target, Tylie Keasley, grabbed eight passes for 113 yards and a pair of scores including a 48 yarder to pull his team to within 27-26.

“The offense played good and competed but defense has to do a better job of tackling,” said Foster. “We got to get back to the drawing board and clean up some things since we didn’t have much of an offseason.”

Both teams can take many positives to build upon to start a shortened eight-week regular season.

“A lot of chess was being played at halftime,” Brewerton said regarding the feeling out process early in the season opener. “But it was a good hard-fought win and I’ll take that.”

Zachary (1-0) will host live Oak next Friday while St. Augustine (0-1) will have to regroup before taking on John Curtis (1-0) next Saturday in another monster challenge for the Purple Knights.

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