"Every second counted in this game, and a good effort from both sides," St. John coach Eric Holden said. "Both teams were able to rise at the right times."

The stalemate that kept the St. John-Belaire game scoreless into the second half tested the patience of players – and perhaps spectators – but persistence paid off for the Eagles.

St. John (7-1A), (2-2, 0-0) broke the ice in the third quarter and managed to hold back Belaire (7-4A), (1-3, 0-0) for a 10-8 victory over the Bengals last week at Andrew Canova Stadium.

"Every second counted in this game, and a good effort from both sides," St. John coach Eric Holden said. "Both teams were able to rise at the right times."

Grant Blanchard's 80-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Isaiah Jones ignited the crowd in the third quarter after a frustrating showing for both teams in the first half. A Jacob Schlatre field goal in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles a hint of breathing room against a small but motivated Bengal squad.

The lead did not last long. A Kevin Williams 30-yard touchdown pass to Jakhari Bullock, followed by a two-point conversion pass, put the Bengals ahead 8-7.

The Eagles (2-2) stayed focused despite the deficit and time rapidly expiring. The Schlatre 27-yard field goal gave SJHS the game-winning lead at the 2:20 mark.

"We're in the process of becoming a great program," Holden said. "Both teams were great when they had to be, so it was a great game on both sides of the ball. I'm very proud of how our guys stepped up tonight and did not stop until they knew they had the win."

The field goal set up a frantic two minutes in which the Bengals (1-3) reached midfield in the final seconds of the game before Blanchard's interception sealed the victory.

The momentum both teams showed in the second half paled in comparison to the first half, when neither could covert in the red zone. The St. John defense stuffed Belaire inside the 10 during the first half, while the Eagles came up within the 5-yard mark just before halftime.

Schlatre led the rushing attack with 11 carries for 50 yards, while Jones completed eight of 23 passes for 153 yards. Blanchard chalked 133 yards on three catches.

For Belaire, Bullock carried 14 times for 111 yards. He completed eight of 20 passes for 102 yards.

The Eagles travel to Houma on Friday for action against Covenant Christian Academy, while Belaire entertains Istrouma.