St. Charles-De La Salle rematch has more at stake _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ De La Salle's Victor Gaines scrambles for a first down as he is chased by St. Charles Catholic's Eric Lewis (4) and Justin Ory on Oct. 17 at Pan Am Stadium in New Orleans.

The last time these two teams met, St. Charles Catholic bested District 11-3A rival De La Salle during the final minutes of a 28-21 win during Week 7 of the regular season.

Austin Weber connected with Brady Becker from 41 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown with 6:15 left and the Comets defense halted De La Salle’s final offensive push.

Now third-seeded St. Charles (9-2) and sixth-seeded De La Salle (8-3) are primed for another showdown. They’ll meet Friday in LaPlace in the Division II select quarterfinals.

This time, there’s more at stake than a district title and bragging rights.

The winner of Friday’s game is one win away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic on Dec. 5.

“We’re on a rise, and we want to show that we can compete,” said De La Salle sophomore free safety Raekwon Thomas, who has nine interceptions.

St. Charles is coming off a bye. Last week, De La Salle won its first-round playoff game 34-21 against 11th-seeded Vandebilt Catholic, marking the program’s first playoff victory since 1976.

Don’t expect too many tricks between these two schools. They know each other too well. This matchup, after all, marks their fourth contest in the past two seasons.

“You can only have so many tricks that you can do, especially when you play them three times (about to become four times) in a matter of two years,” De La Salle coach Ryan Manale said. “We know what they do on offense and defense. They know what we do on offense and defense.”

Last season, St. Charles stopped De La Salle in the playoffs, 56-13. But Comets coach Frank Monica said De La Salle is a much better team.

So much better, in fact, that Monica said his St. Charles players were “outplayed” this season, although the Comets won.

“They got our attention,” Monica said. “I hope they got our players’ attention. They’re a team which has gotten better since we played them.”

Running back Cole Lewis tops that list.

Lewis finished with 148 yards and three TDs during the Week 7 matchup and last week added another 156 yards and three scores to his season totals.

Fellow running back Jab White is just as scary for opposing defenses, able to score on the ground or as a receiver. Last week,

White’s numerous big plays included a 65-yard pass reception, helping De La Salle lead 27-7 at halftime. He finished with 75 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards.

The Comets plan to counter with Weber, a dual-threat quarterback who against De La Salle, finished with 98 yards.