In a game mired by penalties and turnovers, the Catholic Bears lived to see another day after Friday’s 35-28 win over the St. Augustine Purple Knights.

The teams did the majority of their damage in the first half before the offenses struggled with a series of turnovers — including a grand total of four interceptions — to slow down the pace of the game. But the Bears managed a one-score lead at the beginning of the fourth and turned to their most reliable yardage producers in Tae Nicholas and Corey Singleton to eat up the clock and run them into the semifinals.

For the Knights, the loss ended a three-game winning streak and capped a roller coaster of a season that saw a pair of cancellations and four losses in the first six games before righting the ship against Archbishop Shaw and Holy Cross in the regular season.

How it was won

Neither team had any interest in hiding its offensive strategy: For the Knights, deep streaks fueled by a hurry-up offense kept the Bears’ secondary off balance and with hands on their hips. For the Bears, a running back-by-committee of Tae Nicholas and Corey Singleton controlled the ground game until St. Augustine left five-star wide receiver Shelton Sampson with one-on-one coverage on the outside.

But what kept the Knights on top was the pressure their defensive line put on Catholic quarterback Daniel Beale in the interim, forcing a pair of interceptions including one deep in Bears' territory that ultimately lead to a Carl Singleton touchdown. Knights quarterback Dylan Devezin dissected the Bears’ coverage with help from receivers Javen Nicholas and Karaaz Johnson, who combined for 200 yards through the air and two touchdowns in the first half.

Player of the Game

Tae Nicholas, Catholic

The senior racked up four of the Bears’ six touchdowns and eclipsed the 200-yard mark on the ground. It was Nicholas’ yard-churning that ran down the clock midway through the fourth quarter and kept St. Augustine’s potent offense sidelined with no chance of a comeback. Nicholas nearly made it five touchdowns after breaking runs of 42 and 11 yards down to the Knights’ 1 with less than a minute left before coach David Simoneaux opted to take a knee and run the clock down.


• The win marks the Knights’ second over Catholic in the five times the two teams have met: St. Augustine beat Catholic in 2010, 53-43.

• Nicholas became the Bears’ second rusher this season to eclipse the 200-yard mark, after Corey Singleton gathered 203 against Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD). The last Bear to tally 200 yards on the ground was Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2015.

• Karaaz Johnson managed 192 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns from 71 and 80 yards out.