There was no other way Catholic High could end its season.
Parker Fontenot booted a 34-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give sixth-seeded Catholic a 31-28 victory over top-seeded Archbishop Rummel on Friday night to close out the first portion of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It was the third straight come-from-behind playoff win for the Bears (10-3), who claimed the first state title in football in school history. Rummel’s quest for a third title in four seasons ended with a fourth-quarter flurry that included 31 fourth-quarter points by the teams. The Raiders finished 11-2.
Aaron Moffitt’s recovery of a fumble by Rummel quarterback Chase Fourcade with 1:46 remaining set up the game-winning drive for the Bears. Fourcade, who completed 10 of 22 passes for 205 yards, including three TDs to David Hensley, was Rummel’s title-game MVP.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was Catholic’s MVP after rushing for 88 yards and catching four passes for 161 yards and a TD. Quarterback Ian Brian completed 25 of 34 passes for 340 yards and three TDs. His passing yards total broke the school record of 330 set in 1988 by Jesse Daigle.
The fourth-quarter sequence started with Fourcade whirling away from the Catholic rush and lofting a 29-yard TD pass to Hensley, who spun away from a defender to score a go-ahead touchdown with 10:34 remaining.
Rummel’s TD followed a scoreless third quarter that left the score tied at 14. Brian, enjoying the best night of his career, had another big play up his sleeve: Blair Bogan found a seam between the Raiders linebackers and defensive backs and took Brian’s pass 54 yards to the end zone tie it again at 21.
The Bears had made defensive stops, but they didn’t have a turnover that flipped the field and momentum. But that came next when Tre Square forced a Fourcade fumble and Denver Denison recovered at the Rummel 12.
Edwards-Helaire saw the opening for Catholic and took it, scoring on the next play to give his team a 28-21 lead with 7:09 left.
Hensley caught his third TD pass of the night — a 64-yarder — to tie the score again at 28. And there was still 5:16 remaining.
The back-and-forth first half was a sign of things to come.
Catholic struggled to move the ball early, and for a while it looked like Rummel might be able to build an early lead. Two of the first three possessions for the Bears started inside their 20.
In the meantime, Rummel got on the scoreboard with a big play. Fourcade hit Hensley in stride with a 48-yard TD strike, and the Raiders led 7-0 with 4:48 to go in the first quarter.
A penalty nullified a 48-yard punt by Catholic’s Daniel Guilbeau. The Raiders capitalized when Aaron Brule’ blocked Guilbeau’s punt and Dwan Trufant recovered at the CHS 19.
But Catholic came up with a key stop: Aaron Moffitt sacked Fourcade to snuff the threat. On the flip side, Rummel’s Larry Major pinned the Bears back at the CHS 1 — their worst field position yet.
Enter Edwards-Helaire, who turned a short pass from Brian into a scintillating 78-yard TD pass play down the sideline. The Bears tied it at 7 with 10:34 to go in the half.
Suddenly Catholic had the momentum. The Bears scored again on their next possession: Edwards-Helaire ran for 28 yards to power a 79-yard drive and scored on a 10-yard run.
A 14-7 lead with 4:04 remaining in the half gave the Bears a leg up, but not a definitive advantage. Rummel took advantage of the Bears’ special teams once again by blocking another punt. This time Derrick Munson blocked it, and Jermie Walker recovered at the Catholic 19.
Maurice Bailey scored on an 8-yard run to it again at 14 with 1:24 remaining. Catholic had one more scoring chance in the half. A 47-yard pass from Brian to Edwards-Helaire helped the Bears move all the way to the Rummel 5.
Out of timeouts, it looked like Catholic might attempt a field goal before the clock ran out. Following a penalty, the Bears opted to throw the ball, and Brian’s pass to the end zone was intercepted by Kristian Fulton to end the half.
A crowd of 25,054 attended the four-game session.