St. Charles tops Country Day _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- St. Charles' Trace Cortez (11) works to bring down Country Day's Trey Harrell during the second half of Thursday's game at Muss Bertolino Stadium.

To have any hope of capturing a share of the District 12-2A district title, St. Charles Catholic needed a win over Country Day and a loss from Riverside.

At least the Comets did their part.

St. Charles used a solid running game and a stingy defense to take a 28-7 win over Country Day to finish 8-2, 4-1 in the regular season. Country Day, competing for the first time as a Class 2A school, finished 7-3, 2-3 with its third loss in a row.

Led by the tandem running backs of Justin Loupe and Tahj Smith, the Comets rolled up 213 yards rushing. Loupe rushed for 49 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns. Smith rushed 17 times for 91 yards and a score.

The Comets also used a tandem at quarterback, alternating Lloyd Nash and Patrick Ratliff. Together they rushed for 77 yards but finished 6 of 10 passing for 60 yards with one interception. Ratliff ran for a 1-yard score late in the game to cap the scoring.

Country Day stuck with its workhorse, running back Jase Griffin, who had 18 carries for 68 yards. Quarterback Christian Kerut was 13 of 25 for 95 yards with one interception. His 10-yard screen pass to Griffin in the second quarter accounted for the Cajuns’ lone points in the game.

Country Day was a generous host in this game, moved a day ahead of schedule because of the threat of severe weather on Friday. The Cajuns turned the ball over twice, including on its first possession. Country Day appeared to have a nice drive going to open the game and was heading into Comet territory when Kerut was intercepted by Eric Lewis at the Comets’ 20-yard line. Lewis returned the ball to the Country Day 40. From there, the Comets needed six plays to score, with Loupe covering the final 8 yards with 7:32 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cajuns held off St. Charles on their next possession and put together a clock-chewing drive into the second quarter. The drive appeared to be stalled at the Comets’ 10-yard line and Charlie Livaudais lined up for a 28-yard field goal with 10:02 to play in the half. But, after a St. Charles timeout (which prevented a penalty for 12 men on the field), Cajuns’ coach Joe Chango elected to go for it and Kerut threw a 10-yard touchdown to Griffin for the score.

But the rest of the game was all St. Charles. On the next drive, Nash threw an 8-yard touchdown to Nicholas Scioneaux in the end zone to give the Comets a 14-7 lead with 5:10 remaining in the half. Loupe added a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:19 in the third quarter and Ratliff capped with scoring with a 1-yard run with 4:52 remaining in the game.