St. Charles Catholic found itself in another heavyweight matchup against an 11-3A foe for the second week in a row, but this time they were able to come up with the necessary plays at the end to pull out the win.
The Comets scored a late touchdown and managed to hold on to a 28-21 victory over De La Salle at Pan American Stadium on Friday night.
After being rewarded a short field by a short De La Salle (5-2, 0-1) kickoff, the Comets (5-2, 1-1) only needed three plays before quarterback Austin Weber rolled to the left and floated a pass right over the outreached hands of a De La Salle cornerback to connect with Brady Becker for the 41-yard, game-deciding touchdown with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter.
“That wasn’t even our primary receiver,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said of the play. “You’ve got to give Austin credit for seeing the secondary receiver. Our rule of thumb is always to look deep to short, but he did a really good job of seeing the short guy was covered and immediately going to his second option.”
The Comets — ranked No. 4 in the New Orleans Advocate’s small schools Super 10 — forced a turnover on downs on the Cavaliers’ final possession with a little less than a minute left to ensure the win.
Weber finished the game completing eight of 12 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while also adding 13 carries for 97 yards and another touchdown — including nine carries for 72 yards and a score in the second half.
“That’s what I want. In big games like this, I want the ball,” Weber said. “Me and Erron Lewis always fight over who gets the ball when its clutch time. I told coach that I wanted it, and he kept feeding me. I give a lot of credit to our offensive line. After the first half, they really stepped it up.”
After the teams exchanged turnovers to open the second half, St. Charles stuffed De La Salle on four straight plays inside its own 5-yard line and forced a turnover on downs. The Comets responded by going 96 yards in a 13-play, clock-eating drive that ended with Weber plowing in for a 4-yard touchdown. With nine minutes left in the game, the Comets led 21-14.
The Cavaliers only needed three minutes to counter the St. Charles scoring drive, marching 65 yards in six plays with Lewis scoring his third touchdown of the night on a 7-yard run to even the score at 21.
Lewis finished the game with 28 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
“I went over and told a few of their guys that I never want to have to play them again,” Monica joked.
After the De La Salle offense struggled to get any momentum on the two possessions after their first drive, the Cavaliers used their wildcat quarterback Julien Gums to give their offense a spark. De La Salle gave the ball to Gums on six straight plays — five runs and one 42-yard pass to Christian Booker — before Lewis rammed in a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14. It was his second touchdown of the first half.
In their first possession of the second quarter, the Comets took advantage of a short field and a facemask penalty by De La Salle, only needing four plays to go 42 yards before the drive was capped off by a Justin Loupe 7-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
After forcing a three-and-out on the next possession, Comets’ defensive back Eric Lewis made one man miss, then sprinted down the left sideline for a 55-yard punt return touchdown to give St. Charles their first lead of the game at 14-7.
“(Lewis’ punt return) changed the whole momentum of the game,” Weber said. “We just kept telling our defense to keep us in it and that we would make up for the mistakes. You have to give (De La Salle) credit because they got off to a great start.”
De La Salle opened the game deferring the opening toss then surprising the Comets with an onside kick which was fumbled by St. Charles and recovered by the Cavaliers’ receiver Tarik Luckett.
De La Salle then went 55 yards in 10 plays, concluding with a Lewis touchdown run from 5 yards out to take an early 7-0 lead.