Catholic High senior quarterback Cameron Dartez won’t soon forget his first varsity start.
Neither will Bears first-year coach Gabe Fertitta.
Dartez drove Catholic High 66 yards in five plays, utilizing the remaining 36 seconds of the game — connecting with Forrest Roy in the corner of the end zone on an 11-yard touchdown on the final play Friday for a 27-25 victory Friday over Parkview Baptist.
“All game long our coaches were telling us to keep on believing, trust in all of the preparation,” said Dartez, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 235 yards for two TDs. “We were able to persevere and bounce back. Our receivers made plays, everyone protected. We all believed.”
Catholic’s game-winning drive came on the heels of Parkview’s eight-play, 80-yard drive that Parker Kirby capped with a 4-yard run for a 25-21 lead after Mason McKey’s extra point with 44 seconds remaining.
The two teams combined to score 32 points in the final quarter after Catholic led 7-6 at halftime on Cameron Dartez’s 1-yard run and Preston Stafford’s point after.
The lead changed hands four times over the last 6:51 that was triggered by Parkview first-year starter Alexander Aucoin at quarterback. The senior led the Eagles back from a 14-6 deficit with a 27-yard TD pass to Kyle Washington and an electrifying 92-yard run to make it 18-14.
Aucoin led Parkview’s 359 total offensive output, carrying 24 times for 193 yards. He also completed 5 of 9 passes for 76 yards.
“It was a tough game,” Parkview coach Jay Mayet said. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but the effort was there. Everything we could ask for was there. We’ll just learn from this and move on.”
After registering one first down in three second-half drives Dartez helped solve a Parkview defense that was without several key players because of leg cramps.
Catholic answered Aucoin’s long-distance score with a nine-play, 74-yard drive that Dartez, on fourth-and-6, connected with Vernon Langley in stride along the sideline for a 34-yard score and 21-18 lead with 3:29 showing.
The Bears responded to Kirby’s go-ahead score in the final minute , igniting their winning drive with a 48-yard completion from Dartez to Roy on second down to Parkview’s 11-yard line with 16 seconds remaining.
Following a pair of incompletions, and a Parkview timeout with 4 seconds to go, Dartez calmly waited for Roy, who got his left foot down in bounds. He finished with 5 catches for 79 yards.
“You couldn’t ask for a better high school game," Fertitta said. "It’s a shame someone had to lose it because it was a really hard-fought game.”