Eric Rebaudo was the Holy Cross defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach last season.
So being a defensive guy, he was more than pleased with the effort of his Tigers on Friday night.
The Holy Cross defense kept St. Augustine in check, and the Tigers won 13-6 in the opening round of the Division I football playoffs at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Holy Cross, the No. 7 seed, advances to the quarterfinals and will travel to face No. 2 seed Evangel Christian next week.
“Senior year, round two and a road trip with my team, you can’t beat that,” Holy Cross linebacker Jacques Boudreaux said.
It was the Tigers’ second win of the season over Catholic League foe St. Aug.
Holy Cross won 23-19 two weeks ago in the regular season.
“It’s hard to win a playoff game, especially when you have just played them two weeks ago,” said Rebaudo. “Some of the things they did two weeks ago, they didn’t do tonight. But our guys adjusted to it well.”
Holy Cross (7-4) scored all of its points in the first half. That was plenty.
The Tigers’ only touchdown came when freshman quarterback Chandler Field somehow escaped a would-be sack and connected with Tyler Lamm for a 14-yard score.
“He’s been doing that all year,” Rebaudo said. “He is a very special player.”
The Tigers also got a pair of field goals (30 and 33 yards) in the first half from Gavin Broussard.
But it was the Holy Cross defense that did the most damage in the first half. The Tigers held the Purple Knights to just 89 yards in the first half.
“I feel like we played one of our best games on defense,” linebacker Kenny Hebert said. “As a team, we are progressing and getting better each week.”
The St. Aug defense wasn’t bad either, limiting the Tigers to 98 yards and holding them to field goals on two trips to the red zone.
The Purple Knights defense tried to give its offense a chance in the fourth quarter.
St. Aug defensive lineman D’Andre Christmas Giles, who is committed to Tennessee, forced a fumble and returned it to the Holy Cross 43. The Purple Knights drove to the Holy Cross 25 but came away empty.
Holy Cross came within 72 seconds of its first shutout since blanking West St. John 23-0 in the fourth game of the 2013 season.
But Justice McCoy threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Darrel Landry with 1:12 left to help St. Aug avoid the shutout.
St. Aug will carry a six-game losing skid into next season. They finished 2-9 in the first season under Al Jones.
“We just never could get over the hump,” Jones said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted it to end, but I’m still proud of them. We fizzled out, but that’s all part of growing up.”
McCoy, who came into the game with 2,004 passing yards, completed 8 of 17 passes for 130 yards.
“We wanted to try to keep the ball from them,” Jones said. “We had a lot of 1,2 3-and-outs. It still comes down to execution. We just didn’t do well enough.”
The Purple Knights will look ahead to next season, while the Tigers will prepare for the trip to Shreveport.
“We’ve had to make that trip before,” Rebaudo said. “We will go back to the drawing board, watch film and get prepared for next week.”