Comets look to prevent Sanchez from running wild

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 1998

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 2, 1998

LAPLACE – Coming off a rough performance against Lutcher in the River Parishes Jamboree, St. Charles Catholic has the less than envious task oftrying to contain one of the top running backs in the state as the Comets travel to Archbishop Hannan for the 1998 season opener.

The Comets were held to 20 total yards in offense in their 23-0 loss to the Bulldogs. St. Charles Catholic finished with a negative 26 yards on theground with Wayne Stein the leading rusher with four yards on five attempts. Nick Monica completed 1-of-5 pass attempts for 29 yards andwas intercepted once. The defense allowed over 220 yards, including 150yards passing by Rusty Crosslin.

“It obviously wasn’t one of our better outings,” St. Charles Catholic coachWayde Keiser said. “We have to use it as a learning experience and put itbehind us and move on. I think we will. I feel we can come back and thekids will have a good game against Hannan.”Against Hannan, the Comets will face Jeff Sanchez, whom Keiser called a Division I college prospect. Last year, Sanchez gained 227 yards rushing,including touchdown runs of 85, 72 and five yards, in St. CharlesCatholic’s 40-24 victory.

“He can make you miss in a closet,” Sanchez said. “You can have 20 guysaround him and he would make you miss.”Complementing Sanchez is another prospect, quarterback Allen Cox. Keisersaid that Cox has a strong arm and that he runs the Hawks’ option well. Ondefense, the Hawks run a lot of slants and stunts. The line is especiallyaggressive.

Last year, the Hawks were coming off an emotional victory over Brother Martin in the Hannan Jamboree. This year, the Crusaders evened the scorewith a 14-7 victory Friday night.

“We have to be up for the challenge,” Keiser, whose Comets have won two of the past three meetings between the teams, said. “I know they aregoing to be ready for us.”Keiser said the key to the game offensively is ball control and sustaining drives to keep Sanchez off the field. The Comets have the backfield to dothat with Stein, who just missed gaining 1,000 yards last season, and Julian Ward. Nick Monica will be making his first start in a regular seasongame at quarterback. His main target will be John Price who had a team-record 59 receptions last year and made a leaping catch of a pass in the jamboree.

Defensive, Keiser said that Sanchez is the type of back that is going to get his yards, but that the defense is going to have to keep him from getting it in big chunks.

“We have to contain him,” Keiser said. “He is going to get yards but wehave to make him earn every yard he gets.”The Comets overcame Sanchez’s herculean effort last season to get the season-opening victory at home. Stein scored three touchdowns, includingruns of 44 and 50 yards. Ward added a touchdown run and Price had a 65-yard touchdown reception from Ty Monica.

St. Charles Catholic stays on the road next week at Redemptorist. TheComets home opener is Sept. 18 against Christian Life.Hannan, a member of District 8-4A, is ranked ninth in the preseason LSWA poll.

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