by Dan McDonald (Special To Acadiana Postgame)

ERATH – Elijah Mitchell did his thing once again Friday night. Unfortunately for Erath’s Bobcats, Patterson’s offense matched the state’s most productive running back all evening, and at the end the visiting Lumberjacks had too many offensive weapons.

The Lumberjacks, who started the season 0-6, got a stellar performance from senior quarterback Hector Tolento and 100-yard efforts from running back Dontre Nicholas and receiver Dajon Richard, and scored on six of its 10 possessions in taking a surprising 45-35 win over the host Bobcats.

Patterson (2-6, 2-2) rolled up 444 offensive yards in handing Erath (6-2, 4-1) its first District 8-3A loss and ending the Bobcats’ five-game win streak.

“It’s been tough on us,” said Patterson coach Marvin Dantzler, whose team played a rugged non-district schedule and didn’t break out with a win until last week’s 38-14 win over E. D. White. “We just kept telling the kids about sticking with the process. They knew that 0-6 isn’t what Patterson football is all about.”

The Lumberjacks didn’t play like a six-loss team Friday, thanks to a handful of big individual offensive performances. Tolento hit 16-of-23 passes for 293 yards and two scores, including a 79-yard strike to Richard midway through the third quarter that helped preserve a two-score lead.

Richard finished with six grabs for 117 yards and Nicholas rushed for 110 yards and a clinching nine-yard touchdown run with 1:46 left. Dillan Giandelone, who came in at quarterback in goal-line situations for Patterson, had a pair of touchdown runs.

“All we needed was one stop, but that was tough to get,” said Erath coach David Comeaux. “But give Patterson all the credit … they played an incredible football game.”

Incredible could also be used to describe Mitchell, the Bobcats’ talented running back. The senior and UL commitment entered the game as the state’s leading rusher and added to that statewide lead with a 245-yard rushing effort that included touchdown runs of 42, 39, 14 and seven yards. He also had a 40-yard touchdown run called back by a procedure penalty.

“That number five (Mitchell), he’s as fine a high school football player as you’re ever going to see,” said Dantzler. “We knew we had to get something out of just about every time we had the ball, and I’m really proud of our offense.”

The two biggest possessions for the Lumberjacks came after halftime and after Patterson held a 28-14 halftime lead. Mitchell’s third score of the night capped a 72-yard Erath drive midway through the third period and made it a one-score game, but three plays later Tolento found Richard open over the middle and Richard outran the Bobcat defense to boost the margin to 35-21.

After another Bobcat drive and Mitchell’s seven-yard score with 1:28 left in the third period, the Lumberjacks went on an impressive, 59-yard, 13-play drive that took 7:45 off the clock. Christian Soria capped that march with a 26-yard field goal to give Patterson a 38-28 lead with 5:40 left.

“We had to get something out of that one, because we knew he (Mitchell) was going to answer,” Dantzler said. “We needed to keep that two-score advantage.”

Erath fought back again, with quarterback Damon Granger finding tight end Jared Broussard with a 28-yard strike inside the Patterson 10 and then scoring himself on a 3-yard keeper to cut it to 38-35 with 3:11 showing. But Lumberjack receiver Brandon Ramagos, who scored the game’s first touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Tolento 75 seconds into play, recovered the following onside kick. Four plays later, Nicholas burst up the middle for the 19-yard clinching score.

“We knew we could run on them and we knew we could throw it on their man-to-man some,” said Comeaux. “I’m really pleased with our offense tonight, but for us to go forward, we have to start matching up with teams that spread us out.”

Mitchell cut the early deficit to 7-6 with his 42-yard run on Erath’s third offensive play, and his 39-yard burst midway through the second quarter tied the game at 14. But the Lumberjacks scored twice in the final 2:41 of the half, with Giandelone going 10 yards for a score and tight end Tyric Garrett lining up in the backfield and scoring from two yards out 15 seconds before halftime.

Patterson 45, Erath 35
PHS 14   14   7   10 -- 45
EHS  6     8   14   7  -- 35
First Quarter
PHS – Brandon Ramagos 16 pass from Hector Tolento (Christian Soria kick)
EHS – Elijah Mitchell 42 run (kick failed)
PHS – Dillan Giandelone 9 run (Soria kick)
Second Quarter
EHS – Mitchell 39 run (Mitchell run)
PHS – Giandelone 10 run (Soria kick)
PHS – Tyric Garrett 2 run (Soria kick)
Third Quarter
EHS – Mitchell 14 run (Dylan Floris kick)
PHS – Dajon Richard 79 pass from Tolento (Soria kick)
EHS – Mitchell 7 run (Floris kick)
Fourth Quarter
PHS – Soria 26 field goal
EHS – Mason Granger 3 run (Floris kick)
PHS – Dontre Nicholas 9 run (Soria kick)

PHS          EHS
First downs          19            17
Rushing Yards    151          261
Passing Yards    293          121
Total Yards         444          382
Comp-Att-Int   16-23-0     5-13-0
Punts               1-30.0      1-19.0
Fumbles-lost      1-0           3-0
Penalties-yards  6-35        6-30

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING – PHS: Dontre Nicholas 20-110 1 TD, Dillan Giandelone 3-23 2 TD, Dajon Richard 7-22, Tyric Garrett 1-2 1 TD, Hector Tolento 4-minus 6. EHS – Elijah Mitchell 32-245 4 TD, Mason Granger 8-29 1 TD, Caleb Jagneaux 1-5, team 1-minus 18.
PASSING – PHS: Tolento 16-23-0, 293 yds., 2 TD. EHS – Granger 5-13-0, 121 yds.
RECEIVING – PHS: Richard 6-117 1 TD, Khyri Harris 4-64, Brandon Ramagos 3-52 1 TD, Jordan Butler 2-38, Nicholas 1-22. EHS: Mitchell 2-51, Bren Faulk 2-42, Jared Broussard 1-28.