St. John Eagles survive East Iberville fourth-quarter rally for win
A district title was not up for grabs in the battle between St. John and East Iberville, but looming playoff berths kept the intensity hot between the cross-parish district rivals last Friday.
St. John kept the lead through three quarters of action before the Tigers made a solid comeback attempt, but the Eagles staved off East Iberville, 18-16, in District 6-1A action at Andrew Canova Stadium.
For Senior’s Night, upperclassman Andrew Kleinpeter's 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter proved to be the saving grace for the Eagles, who led 12-0 in the final quarter.
Kleinpeter, in his final regular-season home game with the Eagles, scored on a 9-yard scamper in the first quarter, while sophomore quarterback Gage Blanchard reached the end zone on a 1-yard sneak. The point-after attempt failed on the first TD, and the Tigers stopped the Eagles on a two-point conversion attempt on the second.
Kleinpeter finished the night with 29 carries for 144 yards, while teammate Nathan Burleigh carried 10 times for 43 yards.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance by our guys,” St. John head coach Coby Minton said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win.”
The Tigers looked to deliver the Eagles a heartbreaker when Dylan Raven connected with Theo Dunn on a 58-yard touchdown pass.
He found Raven once more, this time for a 12-yard lob that put the Tigers within one score that could have put the damper on the final regular season home game for St. John.
Raven completed 5 of 14 passes for 125 yards. All five passes went to Dunn, who also ran for 30 yards on four carries.
The rivalry showcased the improvement both teams have made during the season, East Iberville head coach Justin Joseph said.
“Like any rivalry game, you definitely want to win it, and it has become a big rivalry in this parish,” he said.
The Tigers showed maturity, but penalties hampered East Iberville, most notably on a holding call that voided a TD.
“Defensively, we had a lot of stops and had them on a fourth-and-short and gave them a long fake punt,” he said. “It’s the penalties that hurt us.”
Both teams remain in the hunt for playoff action.
The Eagles hope to punch their postseason ticket when they travel to Jeanerette for non-district action.
East Iberville takes aim at a playoff berth when the Tigers visit parish rival White Castle. Both games are slated for Friday night.