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Season comes down to one game for SCC, Eagles

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 4, 1998

LAPLACE – For St. Charles Catholic and Ridgewood, after nine games and432 minutes of football, it all comes down to one game.

When the Comets and Eagles clash at 7 p.m. Friday night in Thomas DupuyStadium, playoff spots will be on the line. Both teams have struggled attimes this season and will look to extend their seasons for at least one more game.

“Both teams have to look at it as a playoff game,” St. Charles Catholiccoach Wayde Keiser said. “We could be sitting out for the playoffs if wedon’t get it. That would be the first time in 12 years. There is a lot on theline – carrying on traditions and emotions.”St. Charles Catholic goes into the game with a 4-5 overall record and a 1-2 mark in District 9-2A after defeating St. Martin’s, 38-0, last week. TheComets have had losing streaks of three and two this season but have bounced back to stay in the playoff hunt.

Ridgewood opened the season by winning five of its first six games but has lost two straight to Riverside and West St. John, being outscored 80-24 in those games. The Eagles head into Friday with a 5-3 overall recordand a 1-2 record in district play.

The Comets had one of their best outings of the year against the Saints Friday, out-gaining St. Martin’s 447-61. St. Charles Catholic had abalanced attack, gaining 265 yards on the ground and 182 yards through the air. Wayne Stein carried 15 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. NickMonica finished with eight completions in 13 attempts for 164 yards. Thedefense shut down the Saints’ offense, allowing just 29 yards rushing and three first downs.

“The biggest thing Friday night was that after two tough, tough losses, where we played well, we continued to play well,” Keiser said. “We didn’thave a let down. We executed and took care of business. We mixed it upwell and defensively, we did a pretty good job against (Saints running back Danny) Trahant.”On the season, Monica has completed 63 of his 100 passes for 889 yards and five touchdowns. Stein has rushed for 858 yards and 12 touchdownsand has 15 touchdowns overall.

The St. Charles Catholic defense will be facing a Ridgewood offense thatwas held in check in a 32-10 loss to West St. John Friday. The Eagles wentto the run early and often behind Jason Keyes, the leading rusher in Class 2A in the Metro area, who was held to 19 yards in the first half on 14 carries. Keyes finished with 110 yards on 24 carries and now has 894yards through eight games.

The Eagles finished with 102 yards on the ground, the second straight game Ridgewood has struggled with its rushing attack. Keyes was held to4 yards on 10 carries against Riverside.

And for the second straight game, Ridgewood’s offensive line failed to protect quarterback Keith Champagne who was sacked six times by the Rams. Champagne finished with four completions in 14 attempts for 57yards.

The Eagles defense has also struggled over the last two games after excelling for most of the season. Both the Rams and Rebels gained over320 yards against the Eagles which had allowed only 55 points going into the Riverside game but has allowed 80 against the Rebels and Rams.

“They like to run and throw play action passes off of it,” Keiser said of the Eagles. “They are pretty physical offensively and defensively. Theydon’t give you the same looks every time on defense. They like to usemultiple defensive fronts and that could cause problems.”A year ago, the Comets overcame the cold weather, an injury to Stein and one of the craziest plays of the season to defeat Ridgewood on the road, 14-10.

Ryan Zimmerman of the Eagles returned one of his team’s punts that did not cross the line of scrimmage 62 yards for a touchdown to give Ridgewood a 10-0 lead in the first half. But the Comets rallied behind atouchdown reception by John Price and a run by quarterback Ty Monica to pull out the win.

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