Comets flying high into 2A state finals
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2005
23-0 win over top-seeded Panthers advances SCC to face Curtis
By JOHNNY PEPPO
Frank Monica was ice cold for the playoff semi-final game versus Sterlington.
Ice cold, that is, after getting doused with the water cooler in a 23-0 victory celebration on a chilly Friday night.
But Monica was about the only thing that was cold after the clock expired to advance the Comets (11-2) past the 2A top-seeded Panthers. Prior to that, everything about St. Charles was on fire.
“We knew that this was a good team – a team with tradition,” Monica said after the game. “We thought it’d be close at halftime so we just told our guys that we’d have to play a full 48 minutes.”
And they did just that.
Leading 3-0 at halftime on a 20-yard field goal by Ben Benedetto, SCC came out of the break to finish a shutout of a 11-1 team that hadn’t lost a game in more than two months while posting 20 more points.
Led by a defense that forced seven turnovers, and an offense that gashed Sterlington for 215 yards rushing, SCC fed the home crowd with a steady diet of big-time plays and consistent yardage gains to look overpowering against a team that had a significant size advantage. But St. Charles used their speed to contain the Panther running backs from going around the ends while holding their ground to stuff any runs up the middle. Sterlington did manage several significant drives, but the Comet defense came up with a slew of timely turnovers to keep the Panthers off of the scoreboard.
The game opened to a packed house in the Comets stadium with Sterlington receiving the ball. The Panther drive stalled early, and the resulting punt was blocked by Jonathan Cancienne after a high snap. St. Charles took that possession 31 yards in eight plays for a field goal, the first and only score of the half. Sterlington again gave the Comets possession on their next drive when running back Sam Edwards fumbled on the tail end of a 66-yard run which gave SCC the ball at their own 12. The Comets returned the favor with a fumble deep in Panther territory, but regained possession with an interception by defensive back Garrad Lodrigues after the Panthers had reached field goal range. Another interception in the second quarter, this time by junior Alex Vicknair, gave SCC running back Chris Jones a chance to add to his first half yardage as the Comets rode him into Panther territory, but finished just short of another field goal to take it into the half.
The third quarter reinforced the St. Charles dominance as Casey Robottom came alive with a 58-yard kickoff return to set up a 15-yard screen to receiver Chase Fletcher for a 10-0 lead. The defensive effort also remained steady, as Sterlington consistently found themselves in third and long with each possession. SCC iced the Panthers after Robottom intercepted a pass and returned it to the one-yard line where Matthew Walters punched it in. St. Charles’ quarterback Phillip Sutton finished off the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run late in the game, but the outcome had been decided well before that. Sutton finished the game with 7 of 12 completions for 78 yards.
“For the community and the school, this is a rallying cry for everybody,” Monica said.
The win advances St. Charles to the state finals in Shreveport on Friday where they will face 2A powerhouse John Curtis at 1 p.m.
“John Curtis is the best team in the state,” Monica said of the competition this Friday. “It’ll be a monumental task, but we’re gonna strap it on and go to Shreveport and see what we can do…. This is a special team so anything can happen.”