Photos: St. Thomas More no match for Catholic, Notre Dame run strong against Opelousas _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Opelousas Catholic's Aaron Whipp (39) tries to avoid Notre Dame defender Shea Zaunbrecher (3) on Friday in Crowley.

CROWLEY — The Notre Dame and Opelousas Catholic game had mismatch written all over it from the opening drive.

The Pioneers — led by senior quarterback Joe Faulk — drove 65 yards in just five plays on the opening series, capped with a 31-yard touchdown from Faulk to Boedy Borill. After OC went three-and-out, Notre Dame blocked the punt and Trey Vautrot returned it 5 yards for the second Pios touchdown.

The Pios scored in the passing game, the running game, defensively and on special teams — all in the first half. OC never found an offensive rhythm and the Pios won 40–7.

“I was little concerned we would come out flat for this one,” Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook said. “We played such an emotional game last week (against Teurlings), and we have had five weeks from the scrimmage to last week that have been big games.

“You knew OC would play hard, and they’re physical. They ran to the ball real well and hit us. I knew if we got sloppy, they’d get us, but overall, we played well and that defense is still pretty dominant.”

The Pios defense allowed just 52 yards. OC’s David Labbe never got comfortable in the pocket, and the Notre Dame secondary, led by Jack Veillion and Mike Bourgeois, blanketed the OC receivers. Bourgeois picked off Labbe with 2:36 to go in the second quarter and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown.

“When you can play ‘D’ like that, it allows you to make a mistake here and there on the other side of the ball,” Cook said. “The secondary is playing really well, and they have a good chemistry back there. They’re going after the receivers and not laying back and letting them catch it.”

The Pios’ dominance continued in the second half when, after an OC three-and-out, Faulk led an eight-play, 64-yard drive that took nearly four minutes off the clock, ending in a 1-yard touchdown run from Justin Guidry. Faulk’s night ended after that drive as he went 7-for-10 for 107 yards and one interception.

“I see Joe getting a little better every week,” Cook said. “He just has to develop his confidence. Everything is happening for the first time for him, but he’s getting confidence and is a huge threat running. I like where he’s at right now.”

The short night for Cook allowed backup Bryant Thevis to get some snaps under center, something Cook said he has been looking to make happen all season. Thevis led an 11-play, 66-yard touchdown drive, and Cook said he was happy to see a lot of young guys get on the field.

“They practice just as hard as everyone else,” Cook said. “Those guys getting the field in front of a full crowd was great, and the defense made some stops. It wasn’t like they just went out there to bump people around. They got after it and that was good to see.”