St. Louis edges Notre Dame in overtime

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2005

With a chance to win in overtime against a Notre Dame team St. Louis hadn’t beaten in 21 years, coach Mike Johns knew exactly what to do.

He laid the outcome on the right foot of senior kicker Harrison Flynt.

Flynt came through with the winning field goal from 27 yards away, avenging his miss of a 33-yard potential winning kick he hooked wide right against the Pioneers in Crowley last season, and giving the Saints a 9-6 victory on Friday.

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All smiles after the game, Flynt said he wasn’t nervous when he took the field for the kick. He had accounted for all of St. Louis’ points to that moment, on a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter.

When asked if last year’s missed kick crossed his mind this time around, Flynt answered, “Maybe a little.”

“I’m just glad I finally redeemed myself,” Flynt said. “It’s just an extra point to me. It’s really easy when you get the time to do it.”

For a while it looked like the Saints’ 6-0 lead would evaporate with less than three minutes left in the game. Notre Dame running back Luke Broussard broke through the St. Louis defense for a 15-yard touchdown right after a St. Louis pass interference penalty.

But the Pioneers botched the extra point because of a high snap, sending the St. Louis homecoming crowd into a frenzy as they could smell overtime.

The win was especially sweet for Johns, who picked up career win No. 150. The Saints had not beaten Notre Dame since 1990, when current Sulphur head coach Harold Fusilier led them to a 20-18 win.

“The kids wanted this real bad,” Johns said. “When we won the (overtime coin) toss, we hoped our defense would hold them. They did, and … I want to congratulate Harrison Flynt. That’s a lot of pressure kicking that field goal.”

Notre Dame ran four unsuccessful plays on the first drive of overtime. Broussard was thrown backward for a 1-yard loss on first down, then quarterback Waylon Young threw three consecutive incomplete passes. His third-down throw was barely out of reach of wideout Josef Schmidt in the end zone.

The game was a defensive struggle from the start, as the teams combined for 11 punts in the first half, and St. Louis’ halftime lead was a slim three points. St. Louis punted 10 times, and Notre Dame punted eight times.

Neither offense was able to take advantage of turnovers the defenses forced — Young threw two interceptions and St. Louis quarterback John Paul Crawford threw one. The exception was a Notre Dame fumble on a punt return that resulted in Flynt’s first field goal.

“Our defense did tremendous,” Johns said. “They came up with some big plays when it counted.”

And Flynt couldn’t have been happier to ice the game for the Saints.

“It’s just like practice,” he said.