A showdown between two top-25 programs in the state. Two high-powered spread offenses. Definitely a game that has garnered local buzz surrounding it for weeks. This was the first sold-out crowd of the season at Zachary High, and it certainly won’t be the last. “Our guys are excited and ready to go… Should be a great game,” Head Coach David Brewerton said before kickoff. The home supporters didn’t disappoint and brought the energy from the start, creating an electric atmosphere throughout the game.
Defense was the name of the game early on during the first half. The defensive lines from both teams showed out through their run-stopping abilities as well as pass rushing by getting to the quarterback, creating tackles for loss and sacks. Defensive end #98 Elijah Hill seemed to be all over the field for Zachary during the first half, showing off his quick hands and agile speed rushing (even chasing down a St. Augustine RB from behind to save a TD!). Both teams had a tough time feeling each other out as the first half came to a close with a surprising low-scoring affair, 13-6 Zachary up.
The story of the second half: the offensive firepower of both teams finally awoke. The Broncos would score another touchdown to increase their lead at 20-6, but the deficit would vanish quickly as the Purple Nights found their rhythm. They would get within a single point neat the end of the third quarter, 27-26. Both teams showed off their aggressive nature on offense, especially through the air, almost scoring at will. Zachary would make just a few more big key plays to secure the victory, 41-32.
Offensively for Zachary, star WR/KR/PR Chris Hilton, LSU commit and top-50 overall player nationally, showed off his versatility, elite playmaking ability and athleticism with his explosiveness and elusiveness in space and great leaping ability. Sophomore QB #10 Eli Holstein demonstrated fantastic pocket awareness and athleticism with a few solid scrambles up the middle with the pocket collapsing. Coaches raved about his impressive poise and maturity after the game, always making the correct reads and displaying solid accuracy. He finished with two rushing TDs and added a passing TD. Senior RB #23 Connor Wisham was arguably the MVP of the game, showing his outstanding vision to find the gaps and great hands on short passing plays with yards after the catch.
Defensively for St. Augustine, DE/OLB #2 Byron Turner Jr. at 6’3″ 235 lbs. was a force on the defensive line and always seemed to be in the backfield. Offensively the star of the game came in the form of senior QB #5 Kendell Sampson Jr. A true dual-threat who possesses blazing speed and freakish athletic ability, he demonstrated his dynamic playmaking ability by being dangerous on the run, but also showing good touch on the balls and throws to the sideline.