The Chalmette Owls learned Friday night what can happen when you pull a Tiger by the tail.
Twelve months after defeating Holy Cross for the first time in six years, the Tigers bit back in convincing fashion in rolling to a 35-7 non-district victory at Chalmette’s Bobby Nuss Stadium in the 49th meeting between these interparish rivals.
Holy Cross, in its first year under Coach Guy LeCompte, increased its series lead to 34-12-3 while moving to 3-0 for the first time since opening 7-0 in 2013.
The Tigers from Orleans Parish also protected a No. 9 ranking in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 poll for large schools after recording their 12th victory in 14 games against the Owls from St. Bernard Parish.
None of which seemed to elicit any real joy from LeCompte or his players, who focused more on three turnovers and 13 penalties rather than the 118-7 margin by which the Tigers have defeated Higgins, Covington and Chalmette.
“We won and a win is a win, but we didn’t want to win like that,’’ Holy Cross quarterback Bryan Broussard said after passing for three touchdowns covering 16, 3 and 6 yards respectively to wide receivers Alondre Wells, Jalen Johnson and Tyler Kirkwood. “We took one step forward and two steps back.
“We beat them, but we didn’t execute at all. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do. People were open. I was missing them. I wasn’t getting the right reads. And we didn’t capitalize.’’
Despite their miscues, the Tigers proved dominant on both sides of the ball in bolting to a 21-0 first-quarter lead that reached 28-0 at halftime following a second-quarter touchdown.
Junior running back Celven Hulbert carried for 18, 15 and 8 yards on consecutive carries to account for a 41-yard possession following a shanked punt that opened the flood gates against a Chalmette team that defeated Holy Cross, 23-21, in 2017 to snap a five-game losing streak against the Tigers.
Broussard followed with the first of his three scoring passes, to Wells, to culminate a 40-yard possession initiated by another short Chalmette punt. The drive was kept alive by a roughing the punter penalty that allowed the Tigers to convert fourth-and-13 one play before the touchdown.
Holy Cross safety Colby Brown then recovered a fumble in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff to increase the lead to 21-0.
Broussard's scoring passes to Johnson and Kirkwood in the second and third periods accounted for the rest of Holy Cross’ scoring that included five successful PAT kicks by Nolan Heitmeier.
Touchdown No. 4, coming on Broussard's scoring pass to Johnson, was set up by defensive lineman Josh Guillory's interception of a Chalmette screen pass returned 7 yards to the Owls' 33 yard line.
“There are a lot of mistakes we made that we need to correct,’’ LeCompte said. “But (defensive coordinator) Adam Giglio has done a phenomenal job of preparing our defense all year and he did a phenomenal job again tonight. Offensively, we need to clean some things up.’’
Chalmette (1-2) escaped being shut out after recovering a fumble by Holy Cross reserves at the Tigers’ 1 yard line near the start of the fourth quarter that set up running back Brendan Hoorman’s scoring run one play later. The touchdown was the first surrendered by the Tigers in 12 quarters this season.
Cornerback Dru Stephens had Holy Cross' other interception to stop an early fourth-quarter scoring threat at the 1 yard line and the Tigers defense forced and recovered two fumbles in limiting Chalmette to 137 yards and 8 first downs.
“The key to our defense is our preparation,’’ said Tigers middle linebacker Tyler Grubbs. “Our coaches really prepare us for these opponents to shut them out. We won. So that was a positive.’’
Hulbert paced Holy Cross’ 224-yard rushing attack with 103 yards on 13 carries while Broussard completed 8 of 16 passes for 62 yards while being intercepted once by defensive back Donte Brady.
“We’re happy about the victory, but not about how we played,’’ Hulbert said. “We had a lot of penalties and we have a lot of things to work on. It's great to win. But we still have a lot of work to do given the competition in the Catholic League. We can't be complacent.’’
HOLY CROSS 35, CHALMETTE 7
Holy Cross 21 7 7 0 -- 35
Chalmette 0 0 0 7 -- 7
First downs 13 8
Rushing 224 130
Passing 62 7
Total offense 286 137
Passes 8-16-1 2-6-2
Penalties 13-82 7-46
Punts 6-31.7 8-29.9
Fumbles/lost 3-2 2-2
HC: Celven Hulbert 8 run (Nolan Heitmeier kick).
HC: Alondre Wells 16 pass from Bryan Brousard (Nolan Heitmeier kick).
HC: Colby Brown fumble recovery in the end zone of a kickoff return (Nolan Heitmeier kick).
HC: Jalen Johnson 3 pass from Bryan Broussard (Nolan Heitmeier kick).
HC: Tyler Kirkwood 6 pass from Bryan Broussard (Nolan Heitmeier kick).
C: Brendan Hoorman 1 run (Kevin Bell kick).