As Catholic High begins life after star running back Derrius Guice, Bears fans should go into the season feeling confident that they should still have production at Guice’s old spot.
And not just in the running game.
Junior running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ben Miles both impressed in Catholic’s 21-0 rout of St. Michael the Archangel at the St. Michael Jamboree on Friday at Louisiana Leadership Institute’s Doug Williams Stadium. And both made plays in the running and passing game.
Edwards-Helaire caught a touchdown pass of 31 yards while Miles, the youngest son of LSU coach Les Miles, had receptions of 25 and 19 yards to go with a 20-yard touchdown run.
Their contributions to the passing game were a big reason quarterback Ian Brian completed 9 of 13 passes for 150 yards to lead an offense that promises, with its two versatile backs, to create matchup problems for defenses.
Brian also threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-5receiver Alex Bertrand, showing that Catholic has a lot of weapons it can go to.
“I like that it was diverse,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said of the Bears’ offensive performance. “If you notice, there were a lot of people touching the football, and a lot of guys made plays. It’s one thing to just get a chance to get a handoff or whatever, but we had some guys make some plays. I was pleased to see that.”
The biggest play was Edwards-Helaire’s nifty touchdown snag, a leaping grab while sandwiched between a pair of Warriors defenders in the end zone, giving the Bears a 14-0 lead just before halftime of the 24-minute exhibition.
It was an otherwise quiet day for Edwards-Helaire, a highly touted 190-pounder who rushed for 25 yards on three carries. For Miles, a 215-pound fullback prospect, the first-half touchdown run was probably his least impressive play; he charged through a large hole for an easy score.
On both of his receptions, Miles took short passes from Brian and showed soft hands, quick moves and surprising speed for a big back, moving the chains at pivotal moments.
“They got the better hand on some plays,” St. Michael coach Eric Varnado said. “But I can’t take away from the defense. I thought they played hard.”
But Catholic made plays at key moments that St. Michael did not. Miles’ touchdown run was on third-and-8. Edwards-Helaire’s touchdown came with 12 seconds left in the first half, turning what could have been a one-score game at halftime to a commanding Bears lead.
On the other side, St. Michael quarterback Treylan Sibley, a Broadmoor transfer who sat out last season, looked promising while completing 4 of 6 passes for 32 yards while also moving the chains on a pair of first-down runs.
But where the Bears converted on big plays with Miles and Helaire-Edwards, St. Michael could not, perhaps a sign of youth at key spots.
“(St. Michael) has another scrappy team,” Weiner said. “That team is going to get better and better. I know they are young.”