In its previous three wins, it has been Andrew Hicks and the Belle Chasse offense carrying the load. On Friday night, it was the defense’s turn.
Belle Chasse used a stiff defense to blank Chalmette 27-0 before a homecoming crowd.
“Coach preaches to us about being physical every day, and we brought it tonight,” senior linebacker Peyton Cooper said. “That was our best defensive performance as a team.”
Cooper couldn’t recall ever having recorded a shutout since he has being playing for the Cardinals, who improved to 4-1 and rebounded from last week’s 44-21 loss to South Terrebonne.
Neither could first-year coach Stephen Meyers, who spent the previous two seasons as defensive coordinator.
“We played tough and we played physical up front, but the main thing is we didn’t give up the big play,” Meyers said. “The defense did a good job. By far that was their best performance. Chalmette is a good team.”
The defense set up two touchdowns and scored another on a 79 yard fumble return by Kazmi Antoine in the final minute that preserved the shutout.
The Belle Chasse offense, which came into the game averaging 38.5 points, wasted little time. The Cardinals scored on their opening possession when quarterback Hicks scampered for a 41-yard gain on fourth-and-2 to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead.
On Chalmette’s ensuing possession, quarterback Dominic Curole completed a pass to Malik Blaise, who fumbled on the play. Belle Chasse linebacker Austin Messa scooped up the fumble and raced to the 2-yard line. Hicks scored a play later on a keeper.
Hicks, who came into the game with 903 yards in four games, finished with 100 on 16 carries to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark already.
“I thought we did well in spurts on offense,” Meyers said. “We were physical the first half but killed ourselves with turnovers and penalties.”
In the second half, it was the defense setting up the next touchdown as well. This time it was Trey Green picking off a pass and racing to the 11-yard line. Hicks then connected with Brett Dingler for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Antoine, the brother of Mississippi State linebacker Quadry Antoine, closed out the scoring with his late fumble return. It was one of five turnovers by the Owls (1-4). They committed two fumbles and two interceptions (one by Green, one by Cooper).
It was the first time the Owls had been shut out since losing 38-0 to Northshore in the second week of the 2013 season.
“We have to do a better job offensively puting points on the board,” Chalmette coach Jason Tucker said. “I thought our defense stayed on the field a long time and played as hard as they could. We have to do a better job of helping them out.”
Dominic Curole completed 10 of 24 passes for 60 yards for the Owls. Blaise took over at quarterback late. Masen Mitchell led the Owls with 54 yards on 15 carries.
Belle Chasse now turns its attention to a brutal three-game stretch when it begins District 9-4A play. The Cardinals host Warren Easton on Friday, then have back-to-back road trips to Behrman Stadium to play Landry-Walker and then Karr. All three teams are ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large School Super 10.
“I’m going to need a helluva defensive performance going against that type of talent,” Meyers said.