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Comets conclude season of comebacks

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

LAPLACE – St. Charles Catholic’s bi-district playoff game against Clintonwas a microcosm of the Comets’ 1998 season.

The Comets overcame injuries to hang tough with a higher-ranked team before falling in the end, 26-17. Clinton (10-1) advanced to the regionalplayoffs where it will host Coushatta. St. Charles Catholic completed itsseason at 5-6.

“We played probably the best we could possibly play as a football team,” St. Charles Catholic coach Wayde Keiser said. “I am really proud of theway we played and the efforts they gave. Even after we lost three kids toinjuries, we were still right in there.”St. Charles Catholic rallied to take a 17-12 lead with 11:13 left in thegame on a 43-yard touchdown run by Wayne Stein. But on the first playafter the ensuing kickoff, Clinton’s Rodney Stinson went 63 yards for a score to put the Eagles ahead for good. Stinson would later add a 7-yardtouchdown run. He would finish the game with 38 carries for 226 yardsand four touchdowns.

Stein, who became the first Comet running back since 1993 to gain 1,000 yards in a season, rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

“The kids played with a lot of courage and determination,” Keiser said. “Ihave nothing but admiration and praise for these guys.”The resilience the Comets showed Friday night was typical of their play this season, one in which they played six teams that would eventually make the playoffs (seven if you count Lutcher in the Jamboree). TheComets were crushed by Archbishop Hannan in the opener, 49-13, and lost two close ones to Redemptorist (20-13) and Christian Life (19-16 in overtime) to start the season at 0-3, their worst start since 1993.

The Comets bounced back with a three-game winning streak, routing Redeemer-Seton (45-18), Berwick (52-7) and Pine (49-0) to end non- district play.

St. Charles Catholic would then drop two close ones to Riverside (21-16)and West St. John (32-24) before ending the season with wins against St.Martin’s (38-0) and Ridgewood (41-17) to extend its streak of making the playoffs to 12 straight years.

“The biggest thing you can say about these kids is that they learned from their mistakes, played hard every week and had a chance every week,” Keiser said. “I could not have asked for more from this group of kids. I amproud of them. In retrospect, the season was a success because of what ittaught us and what we accomplished.”

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