LaPLACE — A slow start turned into a “special” night for St. Charles Catholic on Friday night at Thomas Dupuy Field.

St. Charles, the sixth-ranked team in Class 2A, fell behind early before following the lead of its special teams to a rout of Class 5A’s Central High 56-20.

The Comets (4-0) had 173 yards in kick returns, and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. They also held Central to an average starting position of the CHS 21 following each of their eight touchdowns.

“Thank God, our special teams were pretty special tonight,” said St. Charles coach Frank Monica, who picked up his 232nd career win. “It helped us out an awful lot.”

Central (2-2) led 14-7 early in the second quarter before Eric Lewis’ 79-yard kickoff return sparked the Comets’ avalanche of touchdowns. SCC scored three times before halftime on its way to 49 consecutive points.

“We’re a team that cannot have a lot of critical mistakes. Tonight we played a game on the road where we had a barrel load of them,” Central coach Sid Edwards said.

“I think they beat us in every phase of the game, but certainly (St. Charles) had a huge upper hand with special teams.”

St. Charles benefitted from a short field most of the game, and its offense was outgained by Central 344 yards to 311. The Comets defense held Central without a second half first down until less than a minute remained in the third. By that time St. Charles led 56-14.

Justin Loupe led St. Charles with 103 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also turned a short reception into a 45-yard touchdown.

Central quarterback Gabe Brown completed 13-of-27 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. His third-quarter interception was returned 33 yards for a touchdown.

“Coming out of the locker room I felt like we didn’t have the intensity you need to play a 5A school,” Monica said. “We have to play over our head to compete with these guys. That was evidenced in the first half when they got a couple of quick scores.”

Central took the opening kickoff and scored in three plays. Brown hit with Trenton Guay on a short in pattern, and Guay turned up field to complete a 60-yard score.

Eric Lewis returned the kickoff 49 yards to the CHS 41 setting up a short Comets drive. Quarterback Patrick Ratliff capped it with a 13-yard keeper around right end to tie the score.

Early in the second quarter, Brown and Guay hooked up for a second score as the duo duplicated their first touchdown. Brown hit Guay on the short route, and Guay broke one tackle on his way to a 62-yard score.

Lewis’ 79-yard kickoff return put St. Charles in business at the CHS 11. Tahj Smith ran in from 7 yards out tying the score 14-14.

After forcing a punt, St. Charles put Lloyd Nash in at quarterback, and he led the Comets to their go-ahead score. Justin Loupe turned a short reception from Nash into a 45-yard touchdown.

St. Charles added one more score before the half after forcing a punt deep in Central territory. The Comets blocked Kyle Kennedy’s punt, and Trenton Matus caught it and returned it four yards for the touchdown.