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St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica encourages players before a game against Country Day at Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie on Sept. 21, 2018.

St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica wonders out loud if his Comets football team is about to emerge from its “cocoon’’ for a stretch drive to a District 10-3A football championship and beyond.

There are promising signs as the Comets ride a three-game winning streak into their showdown against reigning league champion De La Salle scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.

St. Charles (5-3, 3-0 in 10-3A) and De La Salle (5-2, 3-0) each are programs undergoing massive overhauls after following 2017 runs to the Class 3A state quarterfinals and final.

“This is a game that’s going to test our DNA,’’ said Monica, whose offense has been slow to recover from the graduation of linchpin quarterback Lloyd Nash. “It’s like who are we? So far we have not stepped up the way we need to and it’s time for us to do so.’’

St. Charles has found life without Nash and three other graduated all-district selections difficult particularly during a 1-3 skid through weeks two through five when the offense scored a total of 15 points in road losses at Destrehan (31-3) and Country Day (11-10) and a home encounter versus East Ascension (21-2).

It also should be noted that all three losses were to state-ranked teams with Destrehan and East Ascension currently holding the No. 4 and 7 positions in the Class 5A poll.

The narrow defeat at Country Day featured a game-winning, two-point conversion in the closing moments by the undefeated and top-ranked team in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 for small schools.

The good news for the Comets is that the offensive production has picked up during the past three weeks with 42, 21 and 44 points being scored in victories against Lusher, Donaldsonville and Haynes.

But will there be enough to adequately cross swords with the Cavaliers, who defeated the Comets, 28-0, last season? And then there is the Nov. 2 season-ending road game at St. James.

Returning all-district running back Joe Chiarella does return after sitting out last week’s victory against Haynes as a precautionary measure because of an ankle injury. But neither Chiarella, backfield mate Phillip Tran nor quarterback Justin Dumas and returning all-district receiver Taylor Miller have emerged as consistent bellwethers.

Chiarella leads the Comets offensively, but with pedestrian numbers by St. Charles Catholic standards that read 405 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

“We’ve got to be perfect in our execution because we don’t have guy (Nash) to hit the home run for us,’’ Monica said. “We’re a field position type of team. Our M.O. has been we have to be efficient in running and throwing. Another big thing for us is we want to be SCC and not beat SCC.

“I think our defense is pretty good. We’ve had some breakdowns at times, but the defense generally as kept it close for our offense. We’ve got two big ones left and both on the road. De La Salle is a formidable opponent. They’re battle-tested. We’re pretty battle-tested, too.

“But we haven’t played to the level that we’re used to playing. It’s time for us to do that.’’

LHSAA sanctions Kennedy

District 10-4A contender John F. Kennedy has been forced to forfeit a football victory for using an ineligible player in five games, according sanctions released by the LHSAA.

Kennedy (1-7 , 1-0 in District 10-4A) had to forfeit a Sept. 21 victory against Woodlawn-Baton Rouge, which reported the Orleans schools to the LHSAA.

The Cougars play Carver (5-3, 2-0 in 10-4A) at 7 p.m. Friday at Joe Brown Stadium with first place in District 10-4A squarely on the line.

Kennedy also was fined the $400 maximum for playing an ineligible player, placed on administrative probation for one year and coach Earl Cager was ordered to successfully complete the LHSAA coaching certification course.

JFK’s ineligible player, who was not identified by the LHSAA, was ruled ineligible for one calendar year after participating in five games, four of which were losses.

Kennedy is appealing the LHSAA ruling, Cager said.

The ineligible player did not participate in last week’s 28-26 District 10-4A victory against Riverdale that has positioned the Cougars to take outright possession of first place with a victory against Carver.

“We’re still working with the LHSAA on this,’’ Cager said. “The LHSAA issued (its) ruling and we’re going through the appeal process. The player attended Woodlawn in the ninth grade and then transferred to Lake Area (now Kennedy) for the 10th and 11th grades.’’

LHSAA sanctions McMain

McMain was forced to forfeit both of its two football victories, been fined $400 and placed on administrative probation because of the use of an ineligible player in six games, the LHSAA announced in concert with the sanctions imposed on Kennedy.

The forfeited victories are non-district games against Lusher on Sept. 14 and KIPP Booker T. Washington on Sept. 21, according to the LHSAA document revealing the violation.

McMain’s ineligible player additionally was ruled ineligible for one calendar year and new Mustangs coach Torri Denis also must successfully complete the LHSAA coaches certification course.

Denis could not be reached for comment.

The forfeits dropped McMain to 0-8 overall. The Mustangs are 0-3 in 9-4A heading into a 3:30 p.m. Thursday game against Belle Chasse at Pan American Stadium.