The next time Pope John Paul II coach Daryl Thomas sees Kendall Bussey, Newman’s star running back will be playing on Saturdays.
Which is just fine with Thomas and the rest of the Jaguars.
Bussey and the Greenies made short work of PJP on Friday, scoring four touchdowns before the midpoint of the second quarter in a 47-6 nondistrict victory at Lester Latino Field.
“Great athlete and good guy,” Thomas said of Bussey. “I know the family pretty well, and he’s going to have an outstanding career. There’s only so much you can do to try to contain him. We stopped him a couple of times, and that’s all you can really ask for.”
Bussey, a Nebraska commitment who this week received a offer from Notre Dame — with one expected to come next week from Southern California — scored on runs of 6, 19, 21 and 8 yards as Newman (3-0) rolled to a 34-0 halftime lead.
But, as Thomas pointed out, his other three carries netted minus-3 yards, a stop for a loss by Bobby Delaney drawing the largest cheer from the home crowd until Chanse Caire’s 1-yard run with 4:37 left allowed PJP II (0-3) to avoid the shutout.
That left Bussey with only seven carries for 51 yards, far below the 147.5 he had averaged in the Greenies’ first two games.
But he wasn’t miffed.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Bussey said. “We came to hit ’em early, which is what we did. And then that let a lot of the other guys get to play. They work hard, too.”
Among them was Newman sophomore quarterback Miles Lapeyre, who drew the start because of a hand injury suffered last week by Jay Tyler. Lapeyre came through with 11 completions in 13 attempts for 146 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 39-yard scramble for Newman’s final TD with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
“I was a little bit nervous but not too much,” Lapeyre said. “I was confident because we have a good system and our receivers were getting open. Everybody wants Jay back, and he might play a little bit of receiver next week if he can’t grip the ball. I’ll be ready if that happens.”
Bussey’s low yardage total came in part because the Greenies were usually starting in Jaguars territory — either via a partially blocked punt, a Bussey punt return or a fumble recovery.
The Newman defense, led by linebacker Jack Miller, kept PJP on its own end of the field until the final play of the half, which ended with the visitors leading 34-0.
“Miles came out and really took command of the offense, and Kendall’s so excellent in all parts of his game,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. “We took care of business and wound up with a good, clean win against a program we respect deeply.”