Alex Blundell blocked and recovered a punt in the end zone late in the second half as Jonesboro-Hodge toppled St. Frederick 12-7 Thursday afternoon in the Bayou Jamb at Malone Stadium.
Despite sputtering offensively the entire game, the Warriors carried a 7-6 lead into halftime.
Gordon Bennett’s fumble recovery on a muffed punt put St. Fred in business at the plus-47. A roughing the passer penalty gave the Warriors a fresh set of downs at the 32.
Two plays later, quarterback Alex Rightsell kept for 15 yards with an additional eight yards stepped off for a late hit. On first-and-goal from the 8, Rightsell found Beau Bennett for the touchdown. Will Ellender knocked the extra point through to give the Warriors a 7-6 lead with 30 seconds left in the half.
Otherwise, it wasn’t a good night offensively for the Warriors, who managed just 59 total yards (33 rushing, 26 passing) and four first downs.
“We are going to have to evaluate what guys are in what positions,” St. Frederick coach Andy Robinson said. “Obviously as the play caller, it was frustrating. I have to do a better job of putting guys in the right position to be successful.”
Starting all four possessions on the positive side of the field, the Tigers had multiple opportunities to reclaim the lead in the second half. St. Fred’s defense responded by holding the Tigers without a first down for the entire 12-minute period.
“Obviously, the defense played well,” Robinson said. “The offense just put them in bad situations all game long, and we had the blocked punt at the end. I’m excited about my defense.”
J-H went three plays and out on its first two second half possessions before Connor Webb’s interception brought up first-and-goal from the 10.
Tremaine Cleveland stopped a first down running play at the nine and two passes fell incomplete in the end zone, leading to a missed 26-yard field goal.
St. Fred’s offense was on the field for just one play as the Tigers pounced on a fumble at the 15.
J-H turned the ball right back over when Ellender picked off a first down pass in the end zone.
Setting up at the 20 on the touchback, the Warriors soon lined up to punt from their own 9-yardline. Blundell batted down the kick and won a scramble for the loose ball in the end zone with 3:25 remaining.
St. Fred was able to generate a pair of first downs on its final series before turning the ball over on downs at the J-H 38 with exactly one minute remaining.
“As you could tell, we have a lot of work to do,” Robinson said. “We have a lot to learn.”
J-H started from its own 30 after receiving the opening kickoff. LaJavion Nichols ran for 10 yards on the first play from scrimmage. St. Fred asserted itself defensively from there as Beau Bennett, Gordon Bennett and Denterrius McHenry made stops for a loss of one, no gain, and negative four.
Jaylen Kendrick’s 51-yard punt backed the Warriors up to the 14.
St. Fred committed the first of its three turnovers on its first offensive play when Kendrick’s fumble recovery gave the Tigers possession at the plus-23.
On third-and-seven, a wide open Acarian Tatum took a pass from Caleb Hassen at the 12, cut to his right and scored easily. Tatum’s 20-yard touchdown reception staked the Tigers to an early 6-0 lead.
St. Fred opens the regular season in Farmerville vs. D’Arbonne Woods on Thursday night.
Notes: Game time temperature was 128 degrees at midfield. … St. Fred tight end/defensive end Beau Bennett and Jonesboro-Hodge fullback/linebacker Alex Blundell were named Players of the Game. … Senior defensive end Denterrius McHenry made his debut for the Warriors. A Bastrop transfer, McHenry missed both preseason scrimmages with an injury. “I thought Denterrius looked good. He was all over the field,” Robinson said. … St. Fred sophomore linebacker James Mayronne was ejected early in the second half.