Monday, September 26, 2005

ESJ vs EAHS recap

Thiel, East St. John gain redemption, coast past East Ascension

By Tammy Nunez
Staff writer

GONZALES – For quarterback Johnnie Thiel and East St. John, Sunday’s game at East Ascension was an opportunity to make amends for last week’s one-point loss to Hahnville.

“I just felt all we had to do was work hard and get going,” said Thiel, who transferred to East St. John from John Curtis before the start of the school year.

Thiel’s first half was nearly perfect; he was 9-for-9 for 224 yards, pushing the Wildcats to a 49-7 non-district victory.

“It was excruciating the way we lost (to Hahnville)” East St. John coach Larry Dauterive said. “We had the game in our hands and we let it go.”

Sunday there was no point where the Wildcats didn’t have the game in hand. The first series, a five-play, 53-yard drive that Thiel capped with a three-yard run, highlighted a smooth, relentless offense.

Less than a minute later, the Wildcats scored on the first play of their next drive. Thiel threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Louis Lee, who also caught scoring passes of nine and 56 yards.

Thiel rushed for 29 yards and accounted for all five East St. John touchdowns in the half. The Wildcats defense allowed 14 yards rushing and 15 passing in the first half.

The Spartans’ touchdown came on a mistake when center Josh Fleming recovered a fumbled snap in the end zone. The Spartans were given that opportunity when they recovered a bad Thiel pitch on the East St. John 10-yard line.

Ricky Dixon extended the lead three minutes later with a weaving, 79-yard touchdown catch from Thiel, giving the Wildcats a 35-7 halftime edge.

Dixon played most of the second half at quarterback, and accounted for the two East St. John second-half touchdowns. He scored on a one-yard run with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter and threw to Lee on a 56-yard play.

Dauterive said the difference in last week’s heartbreak and this week’s victory was preparation.

“We were game-ready this week,” Dauterive said.

Thiel’s performance sealed the game, Dauterive said.

“He’s a guy that’s not real fast, but he’s shifty,” Dauterive said. “He was well-coached in the two years (at Curtis) before I got him.”