The last time Newman and Country Day squared off on a football field in 1993 the starting quarterback for the Greenies was Peyton Manning.
Newman quarterback Miles Lapeyre isn’t quite the signal-caller Manning was during his high school days, but he did his best impression of the Uptown legend Friday night.
The junior threw five touchdown passes in three quarters and helped Newman shock Country Day 40-14 in a District 9-2A game at Michael Lupin Field, handing the Cajuns their first loss of the season.
“The funny thing is, I got a text from (Manning) this morning,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. “But (Lapeyre) played unbelievable tonight. He had a ton of poise in the pocket and made really good decisions.”
Newman’s combo of Lapeyre and wide receiver Chris Lane wasted very little time jumping on the Cajuns to start Friday’s game.
Lapeyre put Country Day — the No. 4 small school in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10 — in an early hole, connecting with Lane for three touchdown passes in the first quarter (34, 14 and 4 yards) and helping the No. 6-ranked Greenies (5-2, 1-2 in 9-2A) sprint to a commanding 20-0 lead.
Facing a fourth-and-14, Country Day running back Jase Griffin gave the Cajuns the big play they desperately needed, breaking a tackle on a screen pass and going 23 yards for a touchdown to cut the Newman lead to 20-7 with 7:42 left in the second quarter.
Country Day put together a strong drive at the end of the second, but quarterback Christian Kerut’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Newman cornerback Davis Charbonnet to secure the Greenies’ 13-point lead going into halftime.
Lapeyre finished 20 of 28 for 269 yards and five touchdowns, while Lane had four catches for 71 yards and four scores.
“Me and Miles have been throwing footballs around since we were five years old,” Lane said. “I truly believe he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the city, without a doubt.”
Country Day forced Newman into a three-and-out to open the second half but couldn’t get out its own way to cut into the Greenies’ lead.
The Cajuns lost fumbles on their first two possessions of the second half, and Newman made them pay each time. The Greenies turned Country Day’s first fumble into a 28-yard field goal by Kirk Groome and followed that with a Lapeyre 24-yard touchdown to Lane, their fourth scoring connection of the day.
After forcing a Country Day punt on the next possession, the Greenies marched 79 yards in five plays, highlighted by Lapeyre hitting Elbert Thomas on a 58-yard pass and a 24-yard touchdown to put Newman up 37-7 late in the third.
Thomas finished with eight catches for 139 yards and a touchdown.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my O-line. I had a ton of time back there,” Lapeyre said. “But we wanted this game really badly, and I’m just proud of the way our guys played. This was huge for us.”
Despite Friday’s loss, Country Day moves on to play two more tough games to conclude the regular season, facing No. 1 Riverside (Oct. 30) and then No. 2 St. Charles Catholic. The Rebels and Comets squared off on Friday night, with Riverside coming away with a 35-3 win.
“We played a great team tonight, I give them a ton of credit,” Country Day coach Joe Chango said. “But we have to have a short memory, because it won’t be getting any easier.”