Iowa's DJuan Rigmaiden runs through a hole in the St. Louis defense Thursday Night in Iowa. (Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 10:31 AM
IOWA — Behind the speed of running back Chaz Key and a stout defense, the Iowa Yellow Jackets were able to pull off a 13-12 victory in their annual preseason jamboree against new District 4-3A rival St. Louis Catholic on Thursday.
“It is always a tough game when you play St. Louis. They are a very well-coached team,” said Iowa head coach Sean Richard. “We are a young football team. We had a lot of juniors out there, but once they got settled in they came back and fought hard. These guys have a lot of heart, and that’s what it takes to be able to win football games on Friday nights.”
Key, who is preparing for his junior season following a breakout year in 2012, rushed for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns on seven carries.
“We ran three tailbacks tonight, and Chaz is still finding his role there,” said Richard. “We hope that he will step up big for us this year, but we are also expecting that from our other backs, Colinje Wilridge and D’Juan Rigmaiden.”
Iowa utilized two quarterbacks, but it was freshman Kendrick LeJeune who stole the show orchestrating the winning touchdown drive when he completed all three of his passes for 39 yards. Two of the completions came after he was forced out of the pocket by pressure from the St. Louis defense.
The Yellow Jackets defense surrendered a touchdown and a pair of field goals, but in large part due to a fumble and a mishandled punt that gave the Saints great field position. They ended the night allowing 67 yards of total offense.
St. Louis was led on offense by junior wingback DeKeinen Francois, who rushed for 28 yards on seven carries, but was hindered by an early exit by quarterback Jack Boyer due to injury.
“This was a learning experience for us,” said St. Louis head coach Mike Johns. “I thought we did a good job overall and it was good to get under the lights in a real game situation, but we will go back and watch film so we can evaluate some things and move forward.”
The Saints opened the game with a quick three-and-out that was mired by penalties and a huge sack by Iowa lineman Terrence January. Key capped off the ensuing Iowa possession with a 30-yard touchdown run.
St. Louis scored a touchdown later in the half on a 2-yard run from Boyer, but Iowa’s Darius Janice was able to block the extra-point attempt that would have tied the score.
Key’s second score was from 21 yards out with 4:09 remaining in the game. The Saints got the ball back but were unable to establish a drive due to penalties and the stingy Iowa defense.