ST. PAULS — Malik Livingston’s 15-yard floater to Charles Walters into the back of the end zone with 2:45 left to play ended a series of four lead changes in the fourth quarter, and Dimitri Lane sealed the deal with an acrobatic interception with just less than 90 seconds left to play as St. Pauls held off visiting Southern Lee, 36-31, on Friday evening at Kinlaw Field.
Walters finished the night with 277 all-purpose yards, including hauling in eight catches for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Bulldogs (2-1) to their second-straight win. Aaron Blockmon caught nine passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Cavaliers (1-2), who also got 209 yards of total offense (175 passing, 34 rushing) from quarterback Emond Caldwell.
St. Pauls looked methodical on two of three drives late in the first quarter and early in the second, but their momentum all but died after losing starting center Malcolm Simpson with nearly six minutes to play before halftime. The loss provided a comedy of errors for the Bulldog offense and allowed Southern Lee to forge ahead on Monte McClean’s 3-yard jaunt with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
“The other guys on the offensive line kind of got down after Malcolm went down. The line is a pretty tight-knit group because most of them have played together for four years here,” said St. Pauls head coach Trey Sasser. “We were able to rally behind a sophomore and get our momentum going again. Malik had a gutsy performance tonight. He did what we asked him to do. He just keeps pounding for us and it leads to good things for us.”
St. Pauls took the lead back just seconds into the fourth quarter when Livingston hooked up with Walters on a 90-yard scoring strike, but the Cavaliers grabbed the lead back 32 seconds later when Caldwell capped a 3-play drive following a 58-yard kickoff return with a 17-yard pass to Blockmon. St. Pauls would strike again 19 seconds later on a 46-yard run by Livingston with 10:54 to play.
Clutching a slim 31-30 lead after an Ethan Helmsman field goal nearly three minutes later, Southern Lee shot themselves in the foot when Chad Ellis coughed up the ball with three minutes to play deep in Cavalier territory. St. Pauls would need five plays to gain 12 yards on the ensuing possession but, on a 4th-and-9 situation from the 15-yard line, Livingston would somehow thread a floater between two leaping defenders and into the chest of Walters who was falling backward on the route.