Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois had a few eye-rubbing moments during his team’s down-to-the-wire 31-23 nondistrict 2-A loss to Country Day.
To begin with, there was — in Bourgeois’ eyes — the reincarnation of Cam Newton as a prep player.
Country Day quarterback Justin Ibieta, a 6-foot-4, 200-pounder, ran and passed for 425 yards and had a hand in four Cajuns touchdowns, including the final two in the final 5:49 of the game. Ibieta passed for two scores, including a decisive 52-yarder to Price Petagna that gave the Cajuns (2-1) a 31-28 lead with 3:03 remaining.
But Ibieta’s 105 yards running caught the Knights by surprise.
After Episcopal (2-1) had tied the game at 17 with less than eight minutes remaining, Ibieta broke loose on a 40-yard run that set up the Cajuns at the 29. On that run, Ibieta took a low snap from center, stepped around one tackle near the line of scrimmage, then ran over another defender halfway down the field.
“It was just reaction,” Ibieta said. “I just try to help our offense any way I can.”
Four plays later, he scored on a 12-yard, third down run, weaving through several defenders. Country Day led 24-17 with 5:49 remaining.
“On film we hadn’t seem him run the ball one time,” Bourgeois said. “All of a sudden today he is Cam Newton out there, big-time. You’re not going to tackle a big man like that.”
Episcopal answered that score within 50 seconds as quarterback Kade Edenfield connected with receiver Luke Foster on an 89-yard fly route. But the extra point was blocked by the Cajuns’ Kaleb Jenkins to make it 24-23 Cajuns with 3:59 remaining.
Bourgeois elected to try an onside kick, but it went out of bounds without traveling the required 10 yards and Country Day had a first down at the Knights’ 48.
Facing a third-and-14 from his own 48, Ibieta found Price Petagna running free on a deep seam for a 52-yard touchdown with 3:03 remaining.
Trailing 31-23, Episcopal appeared to bolt back in the final 50 seconds.
Edenfield threw a pass to Foster, who had stepped back into backfield along the Knights’ sideline. Foster then threw a perfect pass to Jonah Mayes, who was tackled inside the Cajuns’ 25.
The officials ruled that the pass to Foster was a forward pass, not a lateral.
“It was a judgment call ... and in their eyes it was two forward passes,” Bourgeois said.
Country Day’s game opening drive resulted in a stunning touchdown for Episcopal. Caden Dickinson, who also rushed for 146 yards, stripped the ball loose at the 4-yard line and raced 96 yards for a touchdown.
Episcopal’s defense also produced Country Day’s first score.
Petagna intercepted Edenfield’s short pass near the Cajuns’ 40 and ran down the sideline to the Knights’ 49. When the drive stalled at the 13, Petagna kicked a 29-yard field goal.