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Rondell Mealey's touchdown, strong defense key Patriots win over Eagles in Red Stick Bowl

Rondell Mealey of Lutcher scored on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and his defensive teammates did the rest as Patriots edged the Eagles 15-14 in the Red Stick Bowl all-star game at Olympia Stadium. The Eagles had two possessions after Mealey’s touchdown, but faltered both times. It was a fitting end to a game that was dominated by defense and special teams.

Walker’s B.J. Lockhart, who was named the player of the game, contributed key plays in both areas.

In the first quarter, Lockhart blocked a punt and returned it 10 yards for the Patriots' first score. He came back in the fourth quarter with a drive-killing interception after the Eagles had picked up a first down at the Patriots 42. “Obviously, in an all-star game the defenses probably have an advantage because you don’t have to put too much in. The rules stipulate that,” said Patriots coach Daniel Luquet of Woodlawn. “It was one of the better football games I’ve seen, which is a testament not only to these kids, but also to all of these coaches.”

The Eagles went 53 yards in six plays on their second possession to take a 7-0 lead. The score came on Adam Blanchard’s 20-yard pass to Justin Rivet. The Eagles were unable to pick up a first down on their next series, and Lockhart blocked Rodney Blanchard’s punt. Jacob Barnes’ extra point try was blocked by St. Amant’s Johnny Johnson, who also had 1 ½ sacks and two tackles. Sal Palermo’s 37-yard completion to Jacent Scott helped the Patriots move into the red zone late in the half. They settled for Barnes’ 24-yard field goal and a 9-7 halftime lead. Broadmoor’s Patrick Lee used a fumble return for a touchdown to put the Eagles back on top in the third quarter.

Patriots quarterback Kolby Bourgeois lost the ball on a keeper, and Lee scooped up the fumble at the 30. “I was backpedaling, and I saw the quarterback scrambling out,” Lee said. “The defensive end tackled him and stripped the ball, and I picked it up and ran in for the score.” The Patriots backed up the Eagles inside their own 10 early in the fourth quarter. Zachary’s Caleb Jackson sacked East Ascension’s Jason Wakefield on third down to set up a closing flourish by Mealey. First, Mealey returned an Eagles punt 30 yards to their 10. From there, Mealey took two snaps out of the shotgun, the second a 4-yard run good for the go-ahead touchdown.

“I had to make a few moves to get up in there,” Mealey said of the touchdown, a run where he started to his left before cutting right to get to the end zone. “It was hard because everyone was doing their job, and they’re good at the game.”

Jackson picked up where he left off in the Class 5A championship game, when he had 2½ sacks against West Monroe. On Saturday, Jackson had four sacks, a tackle-for-loss, and forced a fumble. “When I play, I know I’ve just got to play all out. You never know when its going to be your last game,” Jackson said. “This was the best of the best in Baton Rouge. (Zachary) had bragging rights on them, but it was nice to team up with them and become sort of a super team.”

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