In a matchup of No. 1 ranked teams, Catholic High excelled in all three phases of the game for a 38-17 road win over Lafayette Christian on Friday.
The Bears improved to 5-0 after intercepting two passes, recovering two fumbles and blocking a punt.
“The kicking game has been huge for us all year long,” Catholic coach David Simoneaux said. “I thought the blocked punt was huge.”
Daniel Beale completed 13 of 24 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns for Catholic. Wide receiver Shelton Sampson caught four passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Catholic’s running game didn’t get going until the second half, led by Corey Singleton with 64 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.
Catholic High, the No. 1 team in 5A, wasted no time getting on the board with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Sampson for a 7-0 lead.
“The first play to Shelton, the deal was they’ve got great players, but we wanted to challenge them, because we think we’ve got very good football players, too,” Simoneaux said. “We wanted to add that confidence to our guys, and we were able to make that first play.”
Four plays later, the Knights struck on a big pass play of their own. Sophomore quarterback JuJuan Johnson connected with Alonzo Ryes on a 58-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7.
Johnson finished 22-of-32 passing for 330 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
”Defensively, I think the key was containing JuJuan,” Simoneaux said. “He certainly made a lot of plays, but he didn’t have that one 70-yard type run.”
Singleton fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, which led to a 27-yard field goal by Jackson Priest as the Knights, the No. 1 team in 2A, took a 10-7 lead with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
Catholic regained the lead after an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive. A 16-yard touchdown throw to Sampson gave the Bears a 14-10 lead with 2:59 left in the opening period. Sampson had three grabs for 87 yards and two scores in the first half.
Catholic later blocked an LCA punt and recovered it at the Knights' 9. Three plays later, Singleton plunged in from the 1 for a 21-10 cushion with 8:16 left in the first half.
Both defenses shut down the opposing running game. In the first half, Catholic ran for 31 yards, while LCA had only 3 yards.
The next big play for the Bears came early in the third quarter when Arthur Perkins picked off LCA at the Knights' 45 to set up another Catholic scoring drive. On this drive, Singleton finally got the rushing attack going with seven carries for 37 yards, culminating in a 15-yard touchdown run for a 28-10 lead with 7:02 left in the third.
LCA’s next two possessions in the second half ended in fumbles recovered by the Bears. The second one was quickly turned into score — a 44-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd Benson for a 35-10 lead with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.