Football Wrap-Up: Rollercoaster Season Ends In Dramatic Fashion

St. Paul's senior members of the football team prepare to embark on their final season.

The senior members of the football team grew and provided leadership to the Wolves throughout the year. (photo credit: Joey Michel)

(COVINGTON, La.) — The LHSAA High School Football Season is officially over. After a 17-14 victory over John Curtis, the Jesuit Blue Jays won the Division I State Championship. While the Wolves didn’t make the final game, they enjoyed a magical season, finishing with a 7-3 regular season record.

Their final game, an overtime loss at Evangel Christian in Shreveport, eliminated them from the playoffs in the first round.

“(The season) had its peaks and valleys,” Head Coach Ken Sears said. “For having to replace a lot of guys and having a lot of inexperience in a lot of areas, I really thought we came a long way as a team. I thought our senior class grew and handled adversity well, and I’m really proud of the effort our guys put forth this year.”

With wins over several talented teams, Sears struggled to pick a single highlight.

“There were a lot of great moments,” Sears said. “From the opening game against Karr where we won in the final seconds, to winning the (Little Brown) Jug back against Covington, to an exciting victory against Fontainebleau to end the regular season, there were a lot of (highlights). I don’t think I can encapsulate one particular moment.”

Wide Receiver Jalen McCleskey attempts a catch on a crucial drive against now-State Champion Jesuit, but is thwarted by a defender who tackles him mid-air, prior to the catch, with no flags thrown. (Photo Credit: Chase Whittington)

Wide Receiver Jalen McCleskey attempts a catch on a crucial drive against now-State Champion Jesuit, but is thwarted by a defender who tackles him mid-air, prior to the catch, with no flags thrown. (Photo Credit: Chase Whittington)

Unfortunately, the Wolves did suffer some losses. They lost to Jesuit at home, then Mandeville, Ponchatoula, and ultimately Evangel on the road.

“I’d say the lowest point of the season was probably the Ponchatoula game,” Offensive Line coach Joe Dickens said. “It was a Murphy’s Law kind of game and we had some guys that just didn’t battle as hard as we expected them to throughout the game. But, they showed a lot of resolve and character by fighting the following week to get a W against Fontainebleau.”

St. Paul’s Grant Gallaspy (81) celebrates a caught “Hail Mary” reception by teammate Matt Meyers (11) in the final seconds of their game against Evangel, which went to overtime. St. Paul’s went on to lose 43-42. (Photo by: Douglas Collier/The Times)

The final game against Evangel proved to be a thriller, as the Wolves mounted a 23-point comeback to tie up the game at 30-30. After a late touchdown by Evangel that many fans thought put the Wolves down, a Matt Meyers “Hail Mary” reception as time expired sent the game to overtime. There, they lost on a failed two-point conversion.

“We were getting blown out in the beginning,” senior wide receiver Jalen McCleskey said. “When we came back everyone got pumped up. When we didn’t get the two-point conversion, everyone was sad, but we didn’t give up. I was proud of the team.”

Though the season ended in a loss, tons of positive memories will last from the 2014 Football season.

“My favorite memory was the Covington High game,” senior defensive lineman Tre’Maine Chapman said. “That was the game when we really played together as a team and not for selfish reasons. The feeling after the game was indescribable. The only way to truly understand what it was like is to have played. It definitely goes down as one of the best moments I’ve ever had in a football uniform.”

While this season might be over, the St. Paul’s community has great things to look forward to next year.

“I think we have an opportunity to be a good football team,” Sears said. “Our season is going to be determined by the hard work and dedication we put in during the offseason. We’ll see if our guys are up to the challenge. If they do that, then I think we have an opportunity to build on what we did this year.”

The final Varsity Football Scoreboard can be found here.

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