The loudspeakers were streaming Kool and the Gang’s classic “Celebration” as the University High players finished shaking hands with players from St. Louis Catholic.
While the game won’t be remembered as a classic, the second-seeded Cubs’ 45-10 victory over St. Louis was a classic example of how dynamic running back Nick Brossette and his teammates can be.
The LSU commitment ran for 238 yards on 10 carries and scored four touchdowns, including runs of 85 and 80 yards as the Cubs (11-0) opened the playoffs with a regional-round victory in select Division II.
“I wanted to help my team in a big moment,” Brossette said. “I’ve got to give it to my o-line — they were blocking for me and the coaches were calling tremendous plays.”
With the victory, the Cubs advance to host seventh-seeded Teurlings Catholic (7-3) in next week’s quarterfinal round. The teams met in the season opener with UHS claiming a 41-15 win.
St. Louis finishes 3-8. It was the final game SLHS head coach, Mike Johns, who is retiring after 48 years in coaching. Johns spent the last 12 as head coach of the Saints. Terrell Rodriguez ran for 56 yards on seven carries for the Saints, while Jared Smith added 51 yards on 10 carries and one TD.
“(The Cubs) are an outstanding ballclub,” Johns said. “The running (Brossette) is very good. They have a well-round team with size and speed and they did a good job of executing.”
Brossette ran for 158 yards on nine carries to help power U-High to a 31-3 halftime lead.
The Cub offensive started with a 60-yard, six-play drive that ended predictably — with a Brossette TD on a 1-yard run. Matthew Berg’s point-after kick to make it 7-0 with 6:19 left in the first quarter.
Next, the UHS defense got into the act. Chandler Johnson scooped up a St. Louis fumble and ran 7 yards to score at the 5:02 mark.
“Everybody played their reads and their role,” UHS defensive end John Guidry said. “That (turnover for a TD) was real big. It helped set the tone in the first half.”
Brossette accented an eight-play, 57-yard drive that gave the Cubs a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. He capped the drive with an 18-yard TD.
“We did talk about trying to maximize our offensive possessions,” UHS coach Chad Mahaffey said. “We knew they would they’d do everything they could to keep it close and slow the game down. I thought on defense we were really aggressive and fast. I want to say that it’s a privilege to coach against coach Johns, who’s been doing this for such a long time.”
St. Louis put together the game’s longest drive. The Saints drove 70 yards in 16 plays, taking 8:01 off the clock but settled for a 27-yard field goal by Cullen Richardson to make it 21-3. The Cubs answered 17 seconds later. An 85-yard TD run by Brossette upped UHS’ lead to 28-3. Berg tackled on a 24-yard field goal to make it 31-3.
The Cubs took the second half kickoff and scored 18 seconds later — this time on an 80-yard Brossette run that made it 38-7. It was Brossette’s final carry.
Jordan Davis scored the final U-High touchdown on a 22-yard run that made it 48-3 with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.
St. Louis’ lone TD capped a 69-yard drive in the fourth quarter. Smith scored on a 1-yard at the 8:22 mark of the fourth quarter.