Derrius Guice scored three touchdowns, including a 70-yard kickoff return in the second half, sparking Catholic High to a 35-20 Class 5A regional round playoff win over New Iberia on Friday night at Olympia Stadium.
New Iberia (9-3) had pulled to within 21-14 of Catholic early in the fourth quarter when Guice made the game’s biggest play. Fielding a squib kick at the CHS 30, Guice headed to his right, reversed field, and then found daylight to score down the left sideline.
“What can you say about Derrius Guice?” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “That play he made was unbelievable, and it kind of sealed it for us in the second half.”
Following a fumble recovery, Khalil Thomas added a 29-yard run to push the lead to 21 before New Iberia added a late score. It wasn’t enough as Catholic (9-2) moves on to quarterfinal play where it will face Mandeville.
Thomas and Bears quarterback Nick Coomes led Catholic rushing with 76 and 80 yards, respectively. Guice ran eight times for 32 yards and a score, and also caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Coomes in the first quarter.
New Iberia unleashed a barrage of screens and short passes mixed in with longer routes, and racked up yards but not enough points. Yellow Jackets quarterback Jason Jones completed 19 of 31 passes for 199 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
On the ground, Tyler Archon ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
“We had a couple of chances where we had the ball down there in the first half, but we weren’t able to sustain drives after moving the ball,” New Iberia coach Rick Hutson said. “But, two turnovers and a kickoff return in a playoff game, its rare that you win those unless the other team is making similar mistakes.”
For the game, Catholic had just one turnover, an opening drive fumble that stopped a series that had taken the Bears inside the NISH 30.
“We kept plugging away, “ Weiner said. “I felt like on the opening possession we were cruising down for a score. The kids did a real good job picking up blitzes and being disciplined on offense.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Catholic asserted itself with two scores before the half.
Taking over at the CHS 22 following a New Iberia punt, the Bears used eight plays and three minutes of clock for the game’s first scoring drive.
Coomes sparked the drive with a pair of 10-yard completions to Thomas, and a 19-yard run that took the Bears into NISH territory. One play later, Coomes found Derrius Guice behind the Yellow Jackets secondary for a 33-yard touchdown.
Jack Gonsoulin’s extra point made it 7-0, but Catholic wasn’t finished. On the next play from scrimmage, Catholic’s Austin Wilson intercepted Jones at the NISH 21.
Catholic stuck to the ground, and needed five running plays to post its second score in a 2:18 span. Coomes faked a handoff before spinning and scoring untouched from 2 yards out.
New Iberia responded with its best drive of the half, but came away with no points.
Starting at its own 5, New Iberia moved to a first at the CHS 32 behind the arm of Jones, who completed four passes for 52 yards. But, Jones threw incomplete on third down, and Tyler Archon was stopped a yard short on fourth.
Catholic took the opening kickoff at its 34, and quickly began moving the ball. The Bears picked up a first at the NISH 26, but Dre Fusilier recovered Coomes’ fumble at the NIHS 20 to end the threat.