Missed Opportunities Cost LCA as STM Wins District Title
Two trips inside the red zone and a wide open drop in the end zone. Three potential scoring possessions netting zero points.
That was the story in the First Half for the Lafayette Christian Academy Knights as they passed on field goal opportunities and turned the ball over on downs on those first three drives of the game.
St. Thomas More, meanwhile, kicked a field goal when one of their early drives stalled as they ended the First Quarter with a 3-0 lead. Quarterback Sam Altman then ran in a touchdown on a broken play during which he just decided to tuck and run with the football.
The LCA offense failed to score a point in the First Half as the STM defense turned them away over and over again.
But things changed in the Second Half.
What was a defensive battle turned into an offensive shootout as the Knights started off the scoring with a 49-yard touchdown pass from JuJuan Johnson to Dudley Jackson III to narrow the STM lead to 10-7. Then, the Cougars responded with a drive that ended with a Gabe Mocek touchdown run. To push their lead back up to 10.
It only took the Knights a little over a minute to respond with a 5-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 2-yd touchdown run by Jalen Noel. But the Cougars responded with a 14-point run to push their lead from 3 points up to 17 and take a 31-14 lead into the 4th Quarter.
But LCA came back to get it within 7 points as Johnson ran one in from 14 yards out and threw the first of two touchdowns to Trae Grogan - sandwiched around an STM field goal - and the Knights found themselves within a touchdown with just under 5 minutes to go.
A Hunter Swilley 37-yard touchdown run pushed the Cougars back up by double digits with just over 2 minutes to go. The Knights still would not quit, though, as Johnson hit Grogan for another touchdown pass to cut the lead to 41-34 with 44 seconds.
Here’s where a little controversy came into play.
The Knights executed an onside kick and, going by the signaling of most of the players, they seemed to recover the kick. An STM player, however, came out of the pile holding the ball in celebration. When the referees conferenced, their decision was to have LCA re-kick. When they did, STM recovered and knelt the ball to end the contest.
With the win, STM takes the District 4-4A title outright and cements themselves as a Top 3 seed with a First Round bye in the playoffs. For LCA - who came into the game #5 in the power rankings - it’s wait and see if they will get a First Round bye as a Top 8 seed.
LCA finishes the regular season with a 7-3 overall record, 3-2 in district play. STM finishes with a 9-1 overall record, 5-0 in district play.
The LHSAA Playoff Brackets will be revealed on Sunday.