Ascension Catholic enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and kept Catholic-Pointe Coupee’s spread offense out of sync in their Thursday night matchup. But the advantage meant little in the end.
Catholic-Pointe Coupee senior wide receiver Thomas Camper returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown as the Hornets forced a 6-6 stalemate with the Bulldogs in the All-Catholic Jamboree at Redemptorist’s Majella Field.
But for a coach who hangs his hat on offense, there was no moral victory for Hornets coach Rob Funderburk.
“Even though it’s a tie it feels like a loss,” he said. “But hat’s off to Ascension Catholic. Coach (Rick) Bolotte has done an awesome job and he’s got a good football team.”
Bulldogs senior quarterback Collin Rowland completed five of nine passes for 65 yards and a touchdown and engineered a 16-play, 11-minute opening drive to give Ascension Catholic an early 6-0 advantage.
The Hornets struggled to gain first downs, but sophomore quarterback Andrew Jarreau made the most of time on the field, rushing for 58 yards on nine attempts.
“I’m proud of the way Andrew handled himself out here, but in the end we have to get it done,” Funderburk said.
Penalties and dropped passes were frequent throughout the game as both teams tried to settle into game rhythm. But the Bulldogs held on to their lead with less than one minute remaining in the game.
That’s when Camper fielded a punt at his own 20-yard line and streaked down the right sideline to put the Hornets on the scoreboard. Jarreau failed to connect with wide receiver Cornell Green on the two-point conversion, forcing both teams to settle for a tie.
“We had (Camper) trapped but we just couldn’t make the tackle,” Bolotte said. “It’s just something that happens.”
The Bulldogs defense opened the second half with two tackles for loss to force a Hornets three-and-out. Sophomore safety D.J. Latino blocked the ensuing punt to give the Bulldogs possession at the Hornets’ 40-yard line.
The Hornets defensive line held its ground, however, and junior cornerback Garrett Magruder intercepted Rowland’s third-down pass to give Catholic-Pointe Coupee possession at the Bulldogs’ 12-yard line with six minutes remaining.
The Hornets failed to convert a fourth-and-10, seemingly ending their last chance at points.
The Bulldogs’ opening drive seemed destined for nowhere as well when Rowland was sacked for a 10-yard loss, but a defensive pass interference penalty gave the Bulldogs new life.
The Ascension Catholic running backs combined for 50 yards rushing on the opening drive before Rowland connected with senior wide receiver Paul Callegan on a slant pass for a 23-yard touchdown.
The Hornets blocked the extra point, but the drive forced the Hornets into their two-minute offense on their first possession of the game.
Hornets sophomore quarterback Andrew Jarreau completed a 7-yard pass to Green for a first down and rushed for 35 yards on three attempts to put the Hornets in scoring position.
The drive ended 8 yards short of the goal line before the end of the first half.