A closer is the baseball pitcher who comes in and slams the door on the other team’s hopes.
Kristian Fulton was high school football’s version of a closer for top-ranked Archbishop Rummel on Friday night.
The junior defensive back had two interceptions, including one with 1:12 remaining that helped clinch the Raiders’ 17-14 victory over No. 5 Catholic High of Baton Rouge at Olympia Stadium.
“I told my players I’d get a pick during the week,” Fulton said. “I just wanted to make a play for my team. I figured they would throw the ball that way because their good running back (Derrius) Guice was lined up there the outside. (Catholic quarterback Ian Brian) overthrew the pass, and I made the play.”
Rummel (4-0) remains unbeaten, thanks to the efforts of Fulton and kicker Justin Mourain, whose 26-yard third-quarter field provided the winning points. It was the first loss for Catholic (3-1).
The game ended with some confusion. Catholic got the ball back with 12 seconds after a Rummel punt and was at the Rummel 36 with 3 seconds left, but the clock expired before the Bears could run a play.
“We were physically outplayed in the first half, I thought,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “We didn’t give up big plays. We bled slowly when we did bleed. We had 11 guys running to the football.”
Maurice Bailey led Rummel with 124 yards on 10 carries, including a 71-yard TD run in the third quarter after Catholic had claimed a 14-7 lead. Chase Fourcade was 9-of-17 for 89 yards.
Rummel’s defense, led by lineman Tyrell Jacobs and Brsiton Guidry, limited Guice to 24 yards on 13 carries. Trevell Johnson led the Bears with 84 yards on three carries, including a 74-yarder that set up the go-ahead score. Brian completed 13 of 20 passes for 108 yards.
Rummel controlled the first quarter. Aided by a muffed punt that was recovered by Corey Harris, the Raiders held the ball for 13 plays and the first 6:43 of the game.
Fourcade’s 13-yard completion to Damion Jeanpiere on fourth-and-8 in the red zone set up a 1-yard TD run by Brandon Phillips that put Rummel ahead 7-0.
Catholic ran just six plays from scrimmage in the first quarter and didn’t gain much ground. The Raiders defense bottled up LSU commitment Guice and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The Bears got going early in the second quarter, completing an 87-yard drive that started with 1:05 left in the first. With Rummel intent on bottling things up inside, Brian made a savvy play: He faked a dive play and dumped the ball off to tight end Nick Derange, who raced 38 yards to the end zone to tie it with 7:59 left in the half.
There were a few more big plays but no more points in the opening half. Rummel’s Bailey had a 32-yard run, and Fulton intercepted Brian on the final play of the half.
Johnson’s 74-yard run set up a 17-yard TD pass from Brian to Guice that gave Catholic a 14-7 lead with 10:22 left in the third quarter. Three plays later, Bailey scored on his 71-yard run.
The Raiders then stopped Brian short on fourth-and-1. Mourain’s put Rummel ahead with his field goal on the final play of the third quarter.
“It was as good a game as you could hope for,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “Both teams were going after it, making plays on both sides of the ball.”