ABBEVILLE — Vermilion Catholic came out strong against Catholic High of New Iberia, taking a 13-0 lead into halftime and possessing a stronghold on the momentum.

Despite how well it was going, VC coach Russell Kuhns said he knew the game wasn’t over.

“(Catholic) is a team that was in the Dome last year,” Kuhns said. “There was time when we got ahead ,and they stormed right back. We knew that was coming.”

The Panthers struggled offensively for the most part, but managed to score three touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 21-20 lead. Kuhns said his team “flinched a bit,” but fired back with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win 35-21.

“We played with a lot of heart,” Kuhns said “We battled back and our big-time players made some plays when they needed to.”

Quarterback Hunter Frith — who’s a linebacker turned quarterback — had an impressive debut in his first outing. Frith completed his first seven passes and finished 19-of-36 for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

“It was all about getting in a rhythm,” Frith said. “They expected the deep ball early. It was all about getting out there, relaxing and finding that rhythm.”

Catholic-NI coach Brent Indest said Frith runs the VC offense to perfection.

“He’s got a lot of guts,” Indest said. “He puts the ball out there where only his receivers can get it. He’s got four really good receivers, and he does just about everything you can ask him to do in that offense.”

Indest said two key fourth downs in the first half hurt his team. One was a fourth-and-29 pass where Frith found Payton Trahan for a first down. The other, a fourth-and-10 on the same drive where VC widout Devren Constantine was double covered, but got open in the end zone for a touchdown.

“As bad as we played offensively, you cant give up those two plays,” Indest said. “We lost three really good safeties from last year’s team. We need to step up and fill those guys’ shoes. I’ve never had to start this many sophomores before, and it’s showing. It’s our job as coaches to get them ready to play, and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”

Kuhns said he was pleased with Frith’s first outing. He said he wasn’t concerned with the stats, only the win.

“Hunter’s only going to get better,” Kuhns said. “I don’t know the numbers, but we got a ‘W.’ It’s always good to get that first win. Coach Indest is a great coach and a great competitor. We both like to get after it. This is a big win.”