Although the video game numbers his team has put up this season suggest one thing, Central Catholic-Morgan City coach Tommy Minton said his Eagles have followed a simple blueprint to success this season.
“I feel like the kids have bought into what we’re doing,” Minton said. “We preach that we want to play physical football. We want to have that lunch-bucket mentality and come to work every day. Slowly, but surely, they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do.”
With the return of 16 starters back from a nine-win team a year ago, Central Catholic (8-1) has dealt with the high expectations surrounding this season, rebounding from its lone defeat two weeks ago to reach No. 7 in this week’s Class 1A poll released Tuesday by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association.
After reaching a season’s best No. 6 spot in the rankings, Central Catholic dropped a 48-30 decision to District 7-1A rival Vermilion Catholic.
CCMC, which averages 51 points per game, has outscored Hanson and Gueydan by a combined total of 106-36 the past two weeks, setting the stage for Friday when the Eagles host league-leading and No. 2 Ascension Episcopal (9-0, 6-0) with a share of the district title up for grabs.
“We’d like to have a share rather than not anything at all,” Minton said.
The Acadiana area continued its strong showing in Class 4A with No. 2 Crowley (9-0), No. 4 St. Thomas More (7-2) and No. 6 Teurlings Catholic (6-3) leading the way with Cecilia and Carencro each receiving votes.
District 5-3A champion Eunice (8-1) remained No. 5 in Class 3A with District 8-3A champion Patterson (7-2) sliding one spot to No. 8 with votes going to Church Point and Kaplan.
Notre Dame of Crowley (9-0) remained the area’s lone top-ranked team, getting 8 of 10 first-place votes and 115 points for the No. 1 spot in Class 2A ahead of No. 2 Many (8-1).
CCMC first cracked the Class 1A poll two weeks into the season following consecutive wins over St. John of Plaquemine (54-27) and Opelousas Catholic (32-20).
The Eagles won their first six games until the setback against Vermilion Catholic.
“A prime example of the mentality this year is we’ve lost five starters since the jamboree until now with season-ending injuries,” Minton said. “No one’s made excuses or said what if. Everyone just kept coming to work and doing their job. This is the hand we’ve been dealt. We can play it or we can make excuses and excuses get you nowhere.”
Highland Baptist’s Brontre’ Griffin, the state’s leading rusher, became the Iberia Parish all-time single-season rushing leader with 2,492 yards, breaking the mark of 2,204 yards set by Jeanerette’s Anthony “Amp” Williams in 2009. Griffin reached the mark with a career-high 30 carries for 407 yards and four TDs in a 41-0 victory on Friday over Hanson Memorial.