White Castle pulls past St. John in district battle

Staff Report

A battle of two longtime parish rivals looking to gain a foothold as the postseason playoffs loom had all the makings of a classic on paper.

It lived up to those expectations on the field, as well, when White Castle hosted St. John in a wild battle on a chilly night at Rocky Ourso Jr. Bulldog Stadium.

In the end, the Bulldogs staved off an Eagle comeback attempt for a 32-26 win in District 7-1A action.

White Castle’s Ethen Brown (11) tries to dodge St. John’s Clayton Repp (4) in action last Friday night.

The loss more than likely squashed post-season hopes for the Eagles (3-6, 1-2), who compete in the 16-team Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division IV Select. St. John entertains No. 4-ranked Ascension Catholic in district fare Friday night at Andrew Canova Green Devil Stadium.

White Castle (3-5, 3-1) will have Friday off as the Bulldogs await a bracket in the 32-team Class 1A select playoffs.

The Bulldogs sealed the win off a Hakeem Deggs 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Deggs propelled the Bulldogs with seven touchdowns.

“Hakeem got us through the night,” White Castle head coach Marc Brown said. “He’s been great for us all season.”

WCHS amassed 458 yards on the ground attack while relying very little on the passing game. Meanwhile, quarterback Maddox Bennett went 6-for-22 for 130 yards for the Eagles. St. John finished with 209 yards rushing.

An 18-yard keeper by quarterback Maddox Bennett put St. John within a touchdown of the Bulldogs, but the Eagles came up short on a two-point conversion run.

The two teams traded possessions late in the game, but the Bulldogs regained the ball within the last two minutes and worked the clock down for the win.

The White Castle-St. John game marked the first contest to feature the new replay screen at Rocky Ourso Sr. Memorial Stadium.

St. John took the opening lead when Bennett connected with Joseph Schlatre for a 39-yard touchdown in the first quarter, followed by a Charlie Guidry point-after kick.

The Bulldogs followed with a Deggs 2-yard TD and conversion run. 

St. John stretched its lead off a John Merritt Bueche 15-yard sprint that gave the Eagles a 14-8 advantage at the end of the first stanza.

“How about the defense?” St. John head coach said. “They did a fantastic job, and the offense did well, but we just couldn’t get the points on the last drives.”

Demarcus Favorite broke loose for a 10-yard TD run in the second quarter, but a failed conversion pass left the score tied at intermission.

The Eagles took the lead for the last time in the game when Bennett raced down field for a 59-yard TD, followed by a Guidry kick.

The momentum tilted back in White Castle’s favor off Favorite 7-yard run put the Bulldogs ahead 26-21 going into the final quarter.

Penalties plagued the Bulldogs, who were flagged 13 times for 116 yards. St. John was penalized seven times for 61 yards.

“Nothing against St. John … they did a great job, but this was one of the worst officiating games we’ve seen,” head coach Marc Brown. “The only thing I’m proud of is how we managed to get through it.”