To beat St. Elizabeth, you have to contain Andre Patton.
St. Mark’s was able to shut him down in the first half, and when the Vikings’ star wide receiver got going, the Spartans offense answered just in time.
Junior TJ Brown’s 3-yard rushing touchdown with 59 seconds left was enough for St. Mark’s to hold on for a 35-28 win against St. Elizabeth on Saturday night. Patton had rallied the Vikings from a 28-14 deficit to equalize in the fourth quarter.
“Anytime your back’s against the wall like that, it’s about how you respond,” Spartan head coach John Wilson said.
St. E had one final chance to tie, after coming back from two touchdowns earlier in the half. They began their final drive from their own 30-yard line.
Quarterback Christian Gwynn found Patton on the first play of the drive for 25 yards and got the Vikings into Spartan territory. After an incompletion and a sack, the pair connected again to bring it to the 34. The Spartans ended it when Mike Williams and Mike Adams combined for a sack as time ran out.
“Patton’s a really good player and we just had to play to the best of our abilities,” Adams said.
The Spartans did contain Patton in the first half. The receiver did not have a reception until the third quarter.
He was able to score from on defense with a 13-yard interception return before he erupted in the second half. When St. Mark’s led 28-14, Patton brought the Vikings within a touchdown when he caught a 12-yard pass from Gwynn on a fade route.
After the Vikings’ defense forced a three-and-out, their offense drove 50 yards to tie it with 6:38 left. Patton capped off that scoring drive from the running back position with a 10-yard rushing touchdown.
“We got a little comfortable,” Wilson said of the two-touchdown lead. “Then our defense was in trouble there. It comes back to resiliency, and it was a good test for us to be in that situation. These guys got it down when it mattered.”