There’s only one possible explanation for the connection that St. Thomas More quarterback William Bellamy and wide receiver Tiger Bech displayed in the Cougars’ 56-21 win against visiting Carencro.
Sure, the two spent a ton of time with each other this summer working on their timing at various camps across Louisiana, but there’s something deeper there.
“We’re cousins,” said Bellamy, who completed 14 of 16 passes for 254 yards and three scores. “We share blood, baby.”
The pair connected seven times in the contest for 193 yards and a pair of scores, and most of that damage was done in the first half when things were close.
And they got started early.
After the Cougars (3-0) held the Bears (2-1) to a three and out on their first possession, Bellamy found Bech on a slant for a 56-yard touchdown on the Cougars’ second play from scrimmage. Bech slipped a tackle and outraced the Bears defense to the end zone.
It happened exactly how Bech envisioned after first watching film on a Carencro defense that plays almost strictly man coverage.
“Cover 0 leaves the middle of the field open where we’re able to make it our field,” Bech said. “The middle is our field.”
The Bears and Cougars engaged in a wild back-and-forth first half that featured a load of explosive plays and momentum shifts. It looked like it would be close for a second, but St. Thomas More closed the game on a 35-0 run.
“That first half, we were just trading shots at one another,” said Cougars coach Jim Hightower. “They looked like they had an answer every time.”
The Cougars jumped all over Carencro to start, looking like they were well on their way to crushing Carencro like they did last year when they beat the Bears 31-0.
But after Cougars running back Trevor Begue took his first carry of the game for a 53-yard touchdown to give St. Thomas More a 14-0 lead, the Bears responded with a fury.
Quarterback Tyler Gaspard recognized single coverage on stud wide receiver Donald Stokes and he let it fly deep down the sideline. Stokes easily beat his coverage and ran under the beautifully thrown ball, racing 80 yards for a touchdown.
Gaspard and Stokes connected again later in the first quarter, this time Stokes fooled his man on a double move before Gaspard drilled him for a 35-yard score.
But the Cougars started to pull away thanks to a heads up play from linebacker Brennan Bourgeois.
The Bears were facing a second and one from the Cougars’ 13-yard line, and looked poised to take a 21-14 lead. They ran an option, but rather than pitching the ball to the running back the Bears tried to catch the Cougars sleeping with a shovel pass.
It backfired. Bourgeois came in unseen and intercepted the ball, returning it 50 yards and setting up a touchdown pass from Bellamy to Bech on the next play.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” Bourgeois said. “I thought for sure he was going to shovel it to the running back. I don’t think he saw me at all. … It was definitely a surprise but it was a nice one.”
The Bears tied it up on Tyriek Campbell’s 39-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but the Cougars had rediscovered their early-game magic and ran away with the game. Campbell continued the great start to his season with 181 rushing yards on 23 carries.