St. Martin to navigate 'unchartered waters' after regional-playoff win. What are they? – NOLA.com

Stock prep football photo, Thursday, September 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Stock prep football photo, Thursday, September 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Uncharacteristic as it was, opportunistic St. Martin’s collected a spate of error-induced touchdowns to defeat Delhi Charter 48-12 in Division IV select regional playoff game on Friday night at St. Martin’s and now finds itself “in unchartered waters,” coach Frank Gendusa said.
“We’re going to be practicing on Thanksgiving,” Gendusa said. “We’re playing in the quarterfinals.”
By virtue of the victory, No. 4 seeded St Martin’s (10-1) will play St. Mary’s, which defeated Hanson Memorial 45-0 Friday, next week.
St. Martin’s special teams and defense produced four consecutive touchdowns and the Saints star running back Harlan Berry did not dent the end zone until the third period against DCS. Delhi Charter lost three fumbles, threw an interception and had a punt blocked, each leading to a Saints’ touchdown.
Berry produced his usual gaudy numbers, running for 202 yards on 17 carries against a defense keyed to stop him, but it was quarterback and defensive back Seth Mandella who led the Saints. Mandella scored three times, including once on an interception return.
“We underestimated (Mandela),” Delhi Coach Jeremy Foote said. “He’s an excellent athlete and a darn good football player.”
A special teams play and two defensive touchdowns produced three scores in the final five minutes of the second quarter to give the Saints a 35-6 halftime lead.
The Saints were on top 14-6 with Delhi Charter (10-2) punting from its 14 when St. Martin’s Timothy Roberts blocked a punt that the Saints covered at the 18. Grant Gendusa carried twice, finishing the possession with a 2-yard touchdown with 2:28 remaining until halftime.
The Saints defense scored twice in the final minute of the half and added another score in the first three minutes of the third period.
Near halftime, Daken Baker scooped up a DCS fumble and ran 54 yards for the first TD with 54 seconds left and then Mandella intercepted a pass and sprinted down the sideline untouched for an 87 yards touchdown with 11 seconds remaining.
St. Martin’s led 35-6 after two quarters and then turned a Gators’ fumble into a 32-yard drive in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Berry’s 11-yard run gave the Saints a 41-6 cushion.
Seth Mandella, St. Martin’s: The two-way performer scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 78 yards at quarterback and as a defensive back returned an interception 87 yards for a third TD. Mandella carried nine times for 130 yards.
St. Martin’s Gendusa: “We forced turnovers, and it made a big difference. We had four and had a scoop and score and it made a big difference. From a defensive standpoint we did just what we had to do and that was force them to pitch the ball.”
Delhi’s Foote: “They had a good plan . . . forced us to pitch the ball and we didn’t do that very good.”
• For the season, Berry has 1,912 yards rushing and 35 TDs.
• St. Martin’s has not finished with more than five victories since 2011 when the Saints lost to Block High School in a regional-playoff game after a first-round win over Delhi (14-13).
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