Standing over a potential 35-yard game-winning field goal, Catholic’s Cole Casenave thought back to the beginning of his journey in his first year as place-kicker. He sure wasn’t thinking about his last kick.
Casenave booted the ball through the uprights with seven seconds left to lift the Bears to an improbable 13-10 win against Rummel in a select Division I semifinal Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Catholic (11-1) advances to the state championship game Dec. 8 in the Mercedes Benz-Superdome for a rematch with John Curtis, whom the Bears beat in the title game last year.
It was the second field goal in three attempts for Casenave, an all-state soccer forward last season. His first of 48 yards gave the Bears their first points. He said he kicked the second try too low, and it was blocked by Rummel.
“I was obviously trying to think about the good kick I had before,” Casenave said. “I was just thinking about the preparation I’ve had during the season. I had a great coach. I just knew I was going to make it. It felt good coming off my foot. I was just proud for all these guys. It’s a great team. We deserved to win.”
It didn’t look like the Bears, who trailed most of the night, would have a chance. Catholic was faced with a second-and-24 play from its 23-yard line and been stymied by Rummel’s defense. But quarterback Cameron Dartez flipped a screen pass to Braelen Morgan who turned it into a 39-yard gain.
Dartez, who failed to complete a pass in the first half, connected with Forrest Roy for gains of 15 and 10 yards, and then moved the ball to the middle of the field with a 1-yard keeper to set the stage for Casenave’s dramatic kick.
“We’ve definitely been there before, and that gave the guys a lot of comfort on the offensive side, knowing we could come back at any time, trusting each other,” Dartez said. “I love my teammates.”
Dartez completed 9 of 17 passes for 115 yards and was Catholic’s leading rusher with 61 yards on 14 carries. His biggest pass was a 14-yard touchdown throw to Solomon Singleton, who caught the ball at the 1-yard line and powered through a tackle. The TD and Casenave’s extra point tied the game at 10 with 6:57 left.
Rummel (9-3) appeared headed for a possible game-winning score after the Bears tied it. The Raiders went on an 11-play drive that was eventually halted at the Bears 43.
“I thought we were the ones who were going to get the field goal in the end,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “They called a screen pass, we put pressure on them. Great call, it put them in field goal position.
“Both teams held onto the ball. We knew we were playing good defenses. Defenses showed up and played tonight. They got the last three points.”
Rummel opened the game with 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive to go up 7-0. Quarterback Chandler Fields connected with Koy Moore on a 6-yard TD pass on third-and-goal. Fields completed 21 of 26 passes for 143 yards and Moore had 15 catches for 100 yards.