LAFAYETTE — Teurlings Catholic’s Rebels knew they had a weapon in quarterback Cole Kelley.
What they didn’t know is that Kelley became a weapon on the ground in the Rebels’ grudge match against crosstown rival St. Thomas More.
Kelley threw for 369 yards and a touchdown, but it was the running ability of the 6-foot-7 senior that made the difference in the fourth quarter as Teurlings Catholic posted a 42-28 win over the Cougars to take control of the District 4-4A race.
Kelley ran 10 times for 63 yards in that final quarter when the Rebels (6-2, 3-0 4-4A) were looking to run time off the clock, and it was his 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:57 left that provided the two-touchdown margin.
“I wouldn’t want to have to tackle him,” said Rebels coach Sonny Charpentier, whose squad has won the local rivalry game two years in a row. “We knew we had to keep their offense off the field, and I’m proud of the way our guys were able to do that in the second half.”
The visiting Cougars (6-2, 2-1) had rallied back twice in the third quarter, with STM quarterback Will Bellamy hitting Griffin Hebert for their third touchdown hookup on the opening drive of the second half to give the Cougars a 21-20 lead. Then, later in the quarter, Peyton Broussard stepped in front of one of Kelley’s passes and returned it 35 yards for a score that tied the game at 28-28 with 1:14 left in the period.
But Teurlings marched right back, going 80 yards in nine plays and Kelley hitting Jansen Lormand with a 21-yard scoring pass to give the Rebels the lead for good.
After forcing one of only four punts in the game, Kelley carried the ball seven times in a 45-yard, 11-play drive that he capped with the clinching score.
Kelley finished the night 26-of-42 for 369 yards, and led a Rebel offense that totaled 516 yards and an impressive 32 first downs.
“We were able to do some things in the second half,” Charpentier said. “I think (STM) got tired on defense and we were able to take advantage of that. We gave them one back (on the interception return), but I’d proud of the way our guys answered after that.”
Bellamy, who was 19-of-28 for 271 yards, hit Hebert with TDs of 20 and 15 yards for the Cougars’ two first-half scores, but the Rebels took the lead on one of those Bellamy throws when Luke Mahne stepped in front of a cross-field pass and returned his interception 28 yards to give Teurlings a 10-7 lead on the third play of the second quarter.
Kelley ran in from 1 yard out with 2:28 left in the first half to make it 17-7, but the Cougars drove to a touchdown in just over a minute with Bellamy hitting Hebert with 1:10 left in the half.
Brayden Blanchard had the other scoring for the Rebels with a pair of field goals, the last of which gave Teurlings a 20-14 halftime edge.