Wildcats shut out Saints

Published 10:44 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

Varnado’s defense put together a strong performance Friday, as the Wildcats shut out St. Martin’s Episcopal by the score of 32-0 on homecoming night.

The defense made up for a poor offensive showing, as the Wildcats turned the ball over five times and had frequent penalties. Eight of the team’s points were scored off defensive plays — a safety and an interception return for a touchdown.

“It was a sloppy night for us on offense,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “We had penalties, we fumbled the ball, we threw interceptions — we did just about everything wrong that you could do wrong.

“I thought our defense played outstanding. (St. Martin’s) only had a few first downs all night, and we were very strong on that side of the ball.”

The visiting Saints did not pick up a first down in the game until about four minutes left in the third quarter. That conversion broke a streak of eight straight three-and-outs for the Varnado defense.

The win improved Varnado’s record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in District 8-1A.

The Wildcats broke onto the board Friday night with 9:17 left in the first quarter, when St. Martin’s fumbled the ball out of the back of its end zone for a safety. Varnado’s Desmond Harry then returned the free kick to the Saints’ 15-yard-line on the following possession.

Just three plays later, Harry scored on a 7-yard touchdown run. JaDarrell Magee added a run for a two-point conversion and the Wildcats led 10-0 with 7:48 left in the first quarter.

Varnado’s next three offensive drives all ended after turnovers, but the Wildcats added to their lead in their second possession of the second quarter.

A shanked punt gave Varnado the ball on the St. Martin’s 30, and Harry ripped off a 23-yard run on the first play of the drive. Jacorius Bickham took it down to the 1 and Harry scored on the next play. Harry also added the two-point conversion as Varnado led 16-0 with 8:23 left in the half.

The Wildcats scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Harry had a 23-yard run with 6:23 left and Bickham added the two-point conversion. Varnado also scored on defense, when Armontee Kemp returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown. Harry’s two-point conversion run put Varnado ahead 32-0 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

St. Martin’s had a chance to score a late touchdown, but the Saints turned it over on downs at the Varnado 8 with about four minutes remaining in the game.

Shaffett said that the Wildcats would have to play much better next Friday, as they travel to face West St. John in a district game. West St. John finished 3-7 last year as a Class 2A school, but is 5-2 overall and 2-0 in district. The Rams defeated Covenant Christian on Friday by the score of 53-7.

“We’re the defending district champions, and West St. John wants a piece of that,” he said. “We’re going to have to be ready.”