Catholic High controlled the line of scrimmage against St. Amant on Friday night and subsequently maintained control of its own destiny in the District 5-5A race.
The Bears celebrated homecoming with a 28-7 victory at Olympia Stadium on Friday night to set up a showdown against Dutchtown next week for a share of the district championship.
Quarterback Nick Coomes passed for 139 yards, rushed for 78 more and scored two 1-yard touchdown runs for Catholic (3-6 overall, 3-1 district). Andrew Fournet added a 51-yard interception return for a score.
“I am so proud of our guys,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “From the moment we got into district play, they understood that we controlled our own destiny. Doesn’t matter how predistrict went, it’s (now) district and we have been so focused every week.”
The Bears rushed for 199 yards and gained 338 yards total offense. And Catholic’s defense and special teams set the tone with big plays in the first quarter.
A failed fake punt by St. Amant (5-4, 1-3) set up Khalil Thomas’ 2-yard touchdown run to cap a 29-yard drive and give the Bears a 6-0 edge midway through the first quarter.
St. Amant’s Tyler Guillory passed for 96 yards and rushed for 51. Forty-seven of the rushing yards came on a bootleg from his own 2-yard line that flipped field position.
But Catholic’s Fournet stopped the Gators’ momentum with his interception return. Guy Hymel added the extra point to give the Bears a 13-0 cushion with five seconds to go in the first quarter.
Catholic pushed its lead to 19-0 on its first possession of the second quarter. D.J. Woodard’s 26-yard run led to Coomes’ 1-yard keeper across the goal line with 8:07 to play.
St. Amant responded with its lone score. Guillory’s 49-yard pass to Madison Nickens helped set up Cameron Morris’ 1-yard TD run to cut Catholic’s lead to 19-7 with 4:11 left in the second quarter.
But the Bears closed the half with a 75-yard scoring drive. Hymel’s 22-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter gave Catholic a 22-7 halftime cushion.
St. Amant’s defense forced one three-and-out series and another turnover on downs in the third quarter after Catholic moved inside the Gators 20.
And St. Amant’s offense showed signs of life by chewing up the last 4-1/2 minutes of the third quarter and moving inside the Catholic 15 to start the fourth quarter.
But the Gators couldn’t finish the drive, and Catholic’s offense subsequently ate up almost eight minutes. Coomes’ second 1-yard TD run with 4:22 to go finished the scoring.
“You have to give Catholic a lot of credit,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “They were able to control the tempo of the game. They got a short field to start and converted it to points. And then they got a defensive touchdown.
“You just can’t spot a team like Catholic High a couple early scores. After that, they really did a good job of controlling the clock, making some key plays on third down and controlling the tempo.”