MORGAN CITY — All year long, the Central Catholic High School offense has gone as standout Stefano Guarisco goes.
With the Eagles locked in a close game with the Ascension Episcopal Blue Gators on Friday night, naturally the Eagles turned to their standout running back, and he delivered in his team’s 46-22 victory.
Guarisco rushed for three of the Eagles’ four second-half touchdowns as Central Catholic capitalized on Ascension Episcopal mistakes and turned a 20-14 lead at halftime into a rout.
That left the Blue Gators (9-1, 6-1) with their first loss and meant Central Catholic, Ascension Episcopal and Vermilion Catholic finished tied atop the District 7-1A standings with 6-1 marks in district.
Guarisco finished with 358 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He also threw one to teammate Tanner Wiggins in the second quarter and had a 31-yard reception.
About the only thing the standout running back had trouble with Friday night was two-point conversion attempts; he ran in just 1 of 4 attempts and threw incomplete on another.
Coming out of halftime, the Eagles got touchdowns on their first two drives after Ascension Episcopal mistakes as Guarisco scored on a 38-yard run after Ascension Episcopal’s punter dropped the snap and tried to run for a first down before being stopped well short.
On the Blue Gators’ next drive, quarterback Jack Arceneaux was sacked by Central Catholic’s Greg Leger, and the ball came lose. Central Catholic’s T.J. Ruffin picked it up and ran 23 yards for a touchdown and a 32-14 advantage with 7:53 remaining in the third.
The Eagles added two more touchdowns on a Guarisco 65-yard run with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter and another on a Guarisco 23-yard touchdown run with 8:02 remaining in the ball game.
Central Catholic got possession of the ball on its final score after a bad snap to Arceneaux was recovered by Central Catholic at the Eagles 36.
Ascension Episcopal added a touchdown with 5:44 remaining in the game on a Ja’Ceiry Linzer 2-yard run but could get no closer.
Linzer rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns, scoring another with 10:30 remaining in the second quarter to give the Blue Gators a 7-6 lead.
Arceneaux finished 10 of 32 for 128 yards. He also had a 6-yard touchdown run in the first half that gave the Blue Gators a 14-12 lead.
It was short-lived, however, as Guarisco responded with a 3-yard touchdown run 33 seconds later that was set up by a Guarisco 31-yard pass from Byrne to the 3-yard line.
For Ascension Episcopal, Zach Ronquillo caught three passes for 60 yards.