ST. AMANT —Clyde Edwards-Helaire put on an offensive show, and the Catholic High defense held St. Amant in check most of the night.
The aftermath of Catholic’s 51-14 District 5-5A victory over St. Amant on Friday night at The Pit resonated on a deeper level for Gators coach David Oliver.
“An uneducated fan is going to open up the paper (Saturday) and see that both teams are 6-2,” Oliver said. “But right now they’re really peaking, and I’m not sure where we’re at after the last two weeks.
“They deserve credit tonight. Catholic outplayed us in every phase of the game. They made more plays than we did.”
It was the sixth-straight win for Catholic (6-2, 3-0) and the second loss in a row for St. Amant (6-2, 1-2).
Edwards-Helaire, the Bears’ talented junior running back, was the centerpiece for an offense that exploded for 28 second-quarter points to take control.
Catholic had a balanced attack that included 229 rushing yards and 267 passing yards. Edwards-Helaire finished with 246 total yards. He ran for 116 yards on 11 carries with 3 TDs. He completed a 48-yard pass to Ben Miles and also caught four passes for 130 yards and a TD.
Ian Brian passed for 142 yards and TDs to Miles and Lance Chaisson, along with a 59-yard TD run. Hayden Mallory completed 20 of 31 passes for 151 yards for St. Amant.
“You’re playing a good football team on their home turf, you know they’ll play hard and St. Amant did,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “As the game went on, I felt like we got that momentum going.
“I’m blessed to have three great coordinators and (Friday night) you saw their work. We were solid in all phases of the game.”
The most impressive play was a screen pass from backup quarterback Zach Crawford that Edwards-Helaire turned into a 79-yard scoring play in the third quarter. By that time, the Bears were well on their way to a win, while St. Amant was left to ponder what happened.
Catholic’s opening drive stalled at the St. Amant 9. Parker Fontenot’s 26-yard field goal gave the Bears a 3-0 lead. The Gators didn’t need long to answer. A rapid-fire 80-yard drive ended with Mallory scoring on a 4-yard run that gave St. Amant a 7-3 lead.
Edwards-Helaire completed a Tim Tebow-like jump pass to Miles for 48 yards, then ran 14 yards to score a TD that put Catholic ahead 9-7 with 2:37 left in the first quarter.
That’s when the decisive shift happened. Catholic scored four times in the second quarter to break the game open.
Edwards-Helaire opened the onslaught with a 43-yard TD run with 10:03 left. Next came a 14-yard TD pass from Brian to Chaisson at the 5:04 mark. Brian then scored on a 59-yard run up the middle with 2:25 remaining.
“Clyde is a special player and special players make big plays,” Weiner said. “He’s a guy who wants to be in that moment for his team.”
Another TD by Edwards-Helaire — this one on a 2-yard run — made it 37-7 with 29.5 seconds left in the half. St. Amant managed just one first down during the Catholic surge. The Bears didn’t punt until the fourth quarter.
“In the second quarter, we made some adjustments,” Edwards-Helaire said. “St. Amant has a great defensive line, and they were playing us tough. We had to seal off blocks to open up holes. Once the holes opened, we went through them.”
It was the much the same for the Catholic defense. After limiting the Gators to one first down in the second quarter, Denver Dennison snuffed out St. Amant’s first second-half drive with an interception.
“After that first (St. Amant) series we changed up a lot of things,” linebacker Chase Priest said. “We went back to more of our base defense. The D-line got penetration. Aaron (Moffitt) had a heck of a game, K.J. (Wilson) stopped it up in the middle and our secondary made some big hits.”