Catholic High’s climb to the top of District 5-5A this season has been a methodical ascent, fending off worthy challengers along the way.
Why should the regular-season finale be any different, even with the league’s championship decided before kickoff?
Sixth-ranked Catholic High put on an offensive display Friday that resulted in a season-high points and more than 500 yards to turn back a determined effort from East Ascension, 58-28, at Olympia Stadium.
The Bears (9-1) completed a perfect 6-0 run through the district and await their seeding in the Division I Select playoffs Sunday.
“I was on the team a little before the game, reminding them they were getting ready to play a very good football team,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “They’ve got great athletes and they’ve won some big games this year. I knew they would be ready to go and when they came out on the opening drive and parked it in the end zone we said, ‘It’s a game.’ ”
Catholic, which finished with 528 total yards, scored on all four of its second-half possessions to account for the final score with 5:58 remaining on Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 67-yard dash up the middle.
Edwards-Helaire wound up leading Catholic’s 270-yard rushing attack with 5 carries for 132 yards, while LSU commitment Derrius Guice had 17 attempts for 108 yards and three touchdowns and accounted for four touchdowns and 224 all-purpose yards.
Sophomore quarterback Ian Brian enjoyed a career-best evening, completing 17 of 19 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns, with Edwards-Helaire catching three passes for 71 yards and a pair of scores, while Landon Flowers added a 51-yard score.
East Ascension, which played without injured starting quarterback Kryan Irvin and running back Joshua Walker, piled up 437 yards.
Running back Joshua Bates pacing the Spartans (5-5, 2-3) with a career-high 20 carries for 202 yards and three touchdowns.
Brian’s third touchdown pass of the first half — a 54-yarder to Edwards-Helaire with 50 seconds to go — capped a frenetic second quarter and provided the Bears a 34-22 halftime lead.
Catholic extended its 13-8 first-quarter lead to 20-8 at the 10:42 mark of the second quarter on consecutive touchdowns from Guice, who scored on a 30-yard swing pass from Brian, and a 43-yard run after Trevell Johnson’s interception.
The two teams, who combined for 496 yards of offense, traded touchdowns over the final eight minutes of the quarter with Bates scoring on runs of 22 and 7 yards to pull the Spartans to within 27-22 with 1:53 remaining.
“Very proud of our offense for really executing well and our special teams and has been solid all year,” Weiner said. “I’m just proud of our players and coaches. That’s a hard earned district title.”