After early struggles, the St. Louis defense held Crowley scoreless late to help the Saints escape with a 41-38 season-opening win Friday night.

Jadon Johnson scored the winning touchdown on a 34-yard run in the fourth quarter, capping a 27-8 second half run for the Saints (1-0), who trailed by 16 at halftime. St. Louis held Crowley scoreless on its final two drives to hold on for the win.

The Gents (0-1) controlled the game early, racing to a 30-14 halftime lead. Chris Moore scored on touchdown runs of 4 and 38 yards, Kendall Harmon scored on a 2-yard run and Obadiah Butler scored on an 18-yard pass from Marquis Garrett to put the Gents ahead.

Evan Joubert, who ran for 204 yards, scored on a 5-yard run and Ju’an Seymore on a 16-yard run to keep the Saints in striking distance.

The Saints scored 20 unanswered points to take a 34-30 lead, with Seymore scoring from a yard out and Jobert scoring on runs of 2 and 82 yards.

Crowley responded, retaking the lead on a 25-yard scramble by Garrett, who also scored the 2-point conversion to give the Gents the lead again at 38-34.

It didn’t hold up as Johnson took a handoff on a counter play and raced 34 yards with the game’s final points.

Johnson finished with 56 rushing yards and 21 yards on a pair of receptions. Quarterback Cooper Miller completed 8 of 16 passes for 169 yards.

Moore ran for 80 yards on 11 carries. Garrett threw for 167 and ran for 72.

Josh Orsot had an interception for St. Louis.

The win was the 100th in the career of Saints head coach Chad Lavergne, who previously coached Lake Arthur and Grand Lake.

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