Saint Louis survives dangerous Narbonne
No. 1 Saint Louis rallied past California Interscholastic Federation powerhouse Narbonne 56-50 on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
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There’s a reason why Mitchell Quinn is the king of chickenskin.
The clutch playmaker had a quiet first half, then hauled in four touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead 50-yard bomb from Chevan Cordeiro, as No. 1 Saint Louis rallied past California Interscholastic Federation powerhouse Narbonne 56-50 on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
“It was a good spectator game,” longtime coach Cal Lee said after his team improved to 5-0 (2-0 ILH). “We sure didn’t play much pass defense. A win is a win even though it’s ugly. It kind of tells you what you’ve got to do to get better.”
In the final quarter, when the scoreboard lit up like a pinball machine, it came down to Saint Louis’ ability to keep Narbonne’s ground game, led by explosive Jermar Jefferson (245 total yards from scrimmage), under relative control. Jefferson did most of his damage as a pass catcher with eight receptions for 179 yards and two TDs.
“It doesn’t matter when you lose,” said Jefferson, who has 12 FBS scholarship offers.
His quarterback, Jalen Chatman, finished with 517 passing yards (25-for-35) and five TDs, along with a 6-yard TD run for Narbonne, ranked No. 19 in California by MaxPreps.
The anti-hero was Quinn. In all, the unassuming senior caught seven of Cordeiro’s spirals for 232 yards, including TDs of 8, 83, 50 and 7 yards. Cordeiro was 24-for-37 for 393 yards and six TDs with two picks.
“The safety wasn’t coming over, so we all said if we take it up inside release, we’ll take it over the top,” Quinn said.
His clutch catches included a 35-yarder that set up a Saint Louis TD in the first half. In the third quarter, he hauled in a 42-yard bomb to set up his team at the Narbonne 1-yard line. Cordeiro’s 1-yard toss to Kainalu Reyes-Hackney was huge, turning a 17-point deficit into a 37-28 game with 7:31 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cordeiro rifled an 8-yard TD pass to Quinn on a slant route, and the Crusaders were within 37-35.
With Narbonne leading 44-35, Quinn did it again, pulling in a short pass, getting a block toward the sideline, and turning the corner for an 83-yard TD with 10:46 remaining.
Less than four minutes later, Cordeiro patiently chipped away at the Gauchos’ defense before launching deep to Quinn for the 50-yard scoring strike for a 49-44 lead with 6:32 remaining.
Saint Louis overcame two 15-yard penalties to stop Narbonne on downs in the next series.
The Crusaders drove to the Gauchos’ 7-yard line, where Cordeiro forced a pass into tight coverage. The ball caromed off teammate Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe and high into the air above the end zone. Quinn raced in to grab the football for his fourth and final TD. Saint Louis led 56-44 with 2:37 left.
“It was supposed to be a seam route thrown up to Tosh. It was just tip drill and I was there,” Quinn said. “They’re a pretty good team, but we came in with more heart than they did. I told our guys the whole game, ‘It’s our game. We were just losing. It just matters if we want it more or not,’ and we just wanted it more.”
The Gauchos pulled within 56-50 on a 76-yard bomb from Chatman to Steven Jenkins with 3:26 remaining, but Saint Louis ran out the rest of the clock. The key play was a 15-yard scramble for a first down by Cordeiro.
“We led for most of the game,” veteran coach Manuel Douglas said. “We got ’em in a situation where if we stop them on third and long, but he scrambled.”
Narbonne, which lost a close game to Long Beach Poly and took a lopsided loss to Centennial, is now 2-3 in nonconference play. Confidence, however, is building.
“They’re a good team. We challenge ourselves with our schedule,” said Douglas, who originally planned to play Kahuku. “We came 3,000 miles and came up short a little bit.”