Notre Dame’s Damon Comeaux makes most of opportunity _lowres

Advocate Photo by Brad Kemp Notre Dame High School running back Damon Comeaux runs with the ball during practice in Crowley, La., Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.

CROWLEY — Against E.D. White last Friday in Notre Dame of Crowley’s opening playoff game, the biggest playmaker for the Pioneers wasn’t really big at all.

Standing in at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, senior Damon Comeaux scored early to put the Pios up 7-0. It was the first of Comeaux’s five touchdowns on the night in Notre Dame’s 41-7 win.

“I put so much work into this,” Comeaux said. “Working out at 5:30 in the morning every day. I just wanted to play Notre Dame football so bad and hoped that hard work would pay off. At the end of the day it does.”

Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook said Comeaux’s size, along with major players in the Pios’ depth chart, kept Comeaux from being an every-down back.

“Damon has never been very big,” Cook said. “Lance (Bertrand) came in last year as a sophomore, had a little size, and we had John Michael Besse last year, so Damon was behind those guys. We had a couple injuries (this year), and he got to see some action, and it seemed like when he was in the game he made the best runs. You could tell he was going to be able to help us.”

Comeaux played in every game his junior year and bided his time until he could get an opportunity. Besse’s transfer to Rayne High in the offseason and Bertrand’s nagging injuries this season allowed Comeaux to start three games and rush for more than 100 in every one of them.

“At that point, we knew he would be all right,” Cook said. “(Damon) just wasn’t quite big enough to carry it 20-25 times a game. He is tough, though. He has been real durable for us.”

So durable in fact, that Cook said he didn’t even think Comeaux would play against E.D. White. Cook said he saw Comeaux limping around campus Thursday and was almost certain he’d be on the sideline against the Cardinals.

“He got himself ready to go and had a heck of a game,” Cook said. “It’s been really nice to have him develop and be so productive for us.”

Cook said a lot of the plays against E.D. White were plays they’ve run all year. None were designed specifically for Comeaux, but Cook said Comeaux is the only player who could score on some of them.

“There were certain plays that we thought we could have success with, but not to that extent,” Cook said. “He was in the rotation, and he was the guy in there. A lot of those touchdowns, other guys wouldn’t have scored. He made people miss and accelerated away.”

Cook said it is very satisfying for him to see Comeaux experience success in his senior season after a career where so many times it would have been easy to give up.

“There are probably a lot of times when he was a sophomore and junior where he may have thought he was wasting his time,” Cook said. “We had guys who were biggerand he may have thought he’d never get to start a game.

“That is why I am so happy for him. He never gave up and he has had success. He could have said to heck with it. Now he is a guy we can count on.”