E.D. White Catholic avenged last year’s thrilling triple overtime loss to St. James with a classic victory of its own on Friday night.

Tied at 21 with 4:44 remaining, Cardinals quarterback Brandon Legendre returned a punt 30 yards to the 31. Then on the next play, he galloped 69 yards untouched up the middle to give E.D. White the lead.

St. James overcame three penalties on its final drive as Wildcats quarterback Shamar Smith hit Tyshon Williams on a 9-yard touchdown at the 1:03 mark. However, on the tying point after try, the holder muffed the snap and was tackled.

Brandon Boudreaux recovered the onside kick, giving E.D. White the 28-27 nondistrict victory on Yockey Bernard Field at Harvey Peltier Memorial Stadium.

“I’m so proud of my guys. They just kept fighting and fighting,” Cardinals coach Chris Bergeron said. "“We knew in the end somebody was going to have to make a play or make a mistake. Brandon and Thomas (McGoey) made big plays, and we executed the onside kick perfectly.”

“We had a bad snap, couldn’t get the ball down to place it for the hold,” Wildcats coach Robert Valdez said. “We thought we were going to tie it and give ourselves a chance in overtime. But just didn’t get the kick off.”

E.D. White (2-1 overall) methodically went down the field on the opening possession. The Cardinals drove 62 yards in nine plays, capped by a 2-yard McGoey (7 carries, 74 yards, 2 TDs) touchdown run. Miles Loker made the point after for a 7-0 lead.

St. James (2-1 overall) responded with scores on its initial two drives. Dontaz Sterling (9 carries, 59 yards, 2 TDs) ended the first Wildcats drive with a three-yard touchdown plow. Then Sean LeBeouf (12 carries, 156 yards, TD) broke several tackles and sprinted 36 yards along the sidelines for a touchdown. Alec Mahler made both PATs for a 14-7 Wildcats lead.

E.D. White answered in the final second of the first quarter. McGoey broke outside, outmuscled two tacklers and galloped 54 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

Action slowed in the second quarter as both quarterbacks threw interceptions. St. James regained the lead with a Sterling 2-yard touchdown plunge and held a 21-14 edge at halftime.

“We knew we had a chance to get Thomas going. Once we did that, we got Brandon going,” Bergeron said. “Michael Clement had a great game. The offensive line had a great game. St. James is a tremendous team. They’re ranked in the Top 5 in the state (in 3A) for a reason."

“We started out with good rhythm. We just didn’t hold on to it,” Valdez said. “We should have scored that last drive before the half. We made mistakes in crucial situations.”

E.D. White nearly took tied the game early in the third quarter, but a 49-yard Legendre punt return touchdown was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty.

The Cardinals chewed up yards and the clock in the second half. Legendre (18 carries, 91 yards, 2 TDs rushing; 4-of-9, 74 yards, INT passing) capped the ensuing nine-play drive with 10-yard touchdown dash up the gut to tie the game at 21.

St. James next drive got to the Cardinals 12-yard line; however, Smith (8-of-17, 163 yards, TD, 2 INTs passing; 14 carries, 137 yards rushing) was intercepted by E.D. White’s Aaron Santiny at the goal line and returned to the 14.

The Wildcats continuously squandered opportunities with 15 penalties, including a holding call that negated a 53-yard touchdown run by Sterling early in the fourth quarter.

“Our offensive line took over in the second half,” Bergeron said. “We were able to get some push up front, positive yards, stay ahead of the chains and just keep the ball moving. We did a great job flipping the field on punts.”

“We take full ownership of those penalties,” Valdez said. “You can’t play against a good team and have those types of penalties. It was very sloppy on our part. It’s inexcusable. We’re going to fix that as coaches and players.

The victory was special for E.D. White as it debuted its new press box and home side of its stadium and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1968 state championship football team.

Next week St. James host Wossman, while E.D. White opens District 7-4A action traveling to Assumption.

“Our guys got a little confidence now that they can play with anybody in the state,” Bergeron said. “I hope take away what we had to do this week to win. We had to do the small things correctly. Come Monday, St. James doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a win. We got to get back to work."

“We can’t have these penalties and miscues. You have to be able to play a clean game,” Valdez said. “They’re all correctable mistakes we can clean up in practice. We can’t keep giving our opponents opportunities.”