BILOXI — St. Stanislaus (6-1 overall, 2-0 in region) won its fourth consecutive game with a convincing 42-7 performance against St. Patrick (2-6, 0-2) on Friday night.
The Rock-a-chaws got things going early on both sides of the ball and in doing so clinched a Class 4A South State playoff berth.
The Rock-a-chaws’ defense gave up a total of just 9 yards on the Irish’s first two possessions, and their offense rewarded their defense with quick touchdowns.
St. Stanislaus first scored on the sixth snap of its initial possession, converting on fourth-and-2 for a 43-yard pass from Ian Rioz to Ben Brewer to go up 7-0.
The Rocks’ defense gave up only 2 yards to the Irish on their second possession and then multiplied their effectiveness with a blocked punt to set up their offense at the visitors’ 25-yard line. The Rocks’ offense wasted little time on their second score as Rioz connected with Jaxon West for a 24-yard completion to the home team’s
1-yard line. Rioz called his own number on the next play and took it in from 1 yard out.
The Irish would have a little more success on their next possession as they drove the ball 33 yards to the Rocks’ 47, but they would turn the ball over on a fumble recovered by Jacob Bradford, who returned it 50 yards to the Irish 10-yard line.
Rioz called his own number once again, this time slicing through defenders and going untouched into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Rocks a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“We really set the tone by starting off strong tonight, which is what I’m really proud of,” said St. Stanislaus coach Tim Lala. “Our guys are a very physical bunch, and they like stuffing the run. We kind of took to them early, and our guys responded well. I was really proud that we started fast and kept it on ’em.”
Lala commented on Bradford’s fumble recovery and return.
“Jacob Bradford (is) a baller,” Lala said. “He’s committed to Louisiana Tech to play some ball. His older brother played up there. He’s got another brother that’s at Perk right now. They’re awesome, they play the game the right way.”
The first quarter ended with the Rocks appearing well in control, but the Irish’s offense went 70 yards on nine plays, including a 38-yard pass from Jon D’Angelo to Ayden Le and a fourth-and-9 conversion on a 12-yard D’Angelo keeper.
The drive ended with another Irish turnover as the snap was mishandled and recovered by the Rocks. The Rocks would turn the ball over on an interception, their first possession of the game without scoring.
But once again, the Rocks’ defense would step up, denying the Irish a first down and forcing a punt on fourth-and-12.
The Rocks’ offense would start at their own 22. Rioz attempted two passes on four snaps, one for 13 yards to Brewer, and three plays later, a 50-yarder to Ethan Galloway to put the Rocks up 28-0.
On the Irish’s ensuing possession, the Rocks forced a punt after three snaps. Rioz would go to work again, this time keeping for 17 yards before attempting two passes, both completions to Galloway, one for 15 yards and the second for 5 yards in the end zone to close out the first-half scoring at 35-0.
Isaiah Haynes would close out the Rocks’ scoring with a 4-yard carry with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter. That score was set up by Haynes’ runs of 23 and 19 yards and a 23-yard reception by the senior running back. The pass was thrown by sophomore quarterback Sam Grant.
Evan Noel was successful on all six PATs for the Rocks.
St. Patrick got on the scoreboard with just under five minutes remaining in the game as Ayden Le carried from 1 yard out.
St. Stanislaus hosts Perry Central in a region matchup next Friday night. St. Patrick travels to Tylertown.