Flashes claim District 3-AAA crown

Published 1:31 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

This is a season to remember for the St. Aloysius football team. The Flashes unexpectedly moved to a new association, lost a plethora of players due to injuries and dropped their first four games of the season.

In spite of all the mishaps, the Flashes won the District 3-AAA championship Friday night by coming out with an intense, back-and-forth, 40-39 win over Riverfield Academy.

St. Al (4-6, 4-0 District 3-AAA) secured an automatic berth in the Class AAA playoffs and will host a first-round game next week.

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The Flashes are the No. 5 seed in the 16-team bracket and are tentatively scheduled to play No. 12 seed Bayou Academy in the first round.

Riverfield (6-3, 3-1), despite having a better overall record than St. Al, is the No. 15 seed under the MAIS power point formula and will go on the road to play Indianola Academy. The playoff seedings of St. Al and Riverfield likely would have flipped if Riverfield had won Friday.

“It feels great to make the playoffs for the first time in a new conference. It feels great to come out of it on top. It’s something to be proud of,” St. Al coach BJ Smithhart said.

Scoring for the Flashes came from all sides of the ball. DeMichael Harris scored four touchdowns and had one called back due to a holding penalty. Harris had 235 rushing yards, his third consecutive game with at least 200.

Deontay Carson recorded a safety in the first quarter and Connor Bottin returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown. Casey Griffith also booted a 39-yard field goal for the Flashes’ final three points.

Riverfield had a chance to win in the final 1:09 of the game, when Zach Carnegie scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to cut it to 40-39.

After an illegal procedure penalty backed the ball up to the Flashes’ 10-yard line, the Raiders still tried to take the lead on a two-point conversion. However, a pass fell incomplete, then St. Al recovered the ensuing onside kick and was able to run out the clock.

“We knew they couldn’t stop us. We turned the ball over twice in the second half and that shot us in the foot,” said Riverfield coach Boyd Cole. “We run a different kind of offense than most people, the split back veer, and it makes you play assignment football.”

For Smithhart, the final minute of the game felt like 10.

“It took forever. It’s just one of those things. It was a really good high school football game. I’m just proud of our kids,” Smithhart said.

Emotions from the players and coaches were high as the Flashes recorded 16 penalties for 150 yards. They were called for everything from holding, to unsportsmanlike conduct and intentional grounding.

The Raiders were also called for six penalties for 50 yards.

Carnegie rushed for two touchdowns and caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.

“We talked to them and got them to calm down. I think we had two or three penalties in the first three minutes of the game,” Smithhart said. “Just when you thought we settled in we just couldn’t quite put them away. Tip your hats to them, they’re a good ball club.”

Up next

MAIS Class AAA playoffs

Bayou Academy at St. Aloysius

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 101.3 FM