St. James outlasts St. Charles
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2006
By CALEB FREY
It took more than a full quarter of play Friday night for the St. Charles Catholic Comets to light up the scoreboard for the first time, but it was the St. James Wildcats who scored last, and to the dismay of the dismay of the home crowd, laughed last.
When the fat lady finally sang, it was the Wildcats (8-2, 3-1) who managed to escape the Comets (8-2, 2-2) by a final score of 17-9, but every single point scored on both sides was earned in this low scoring defensive struggle.
It was a clear cold night that set the stage of the final game of the regular season between these two division rivals, and it was well worth the wait for one of the best games either team has played this season.
The Comets were threatening at the end of the first quarter, getting down to the Wildcats 15-yard line before finally having to settle for Chris Ilski field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats would bounce back on the very next possession after a 35-yard scamper by junior Kartemus Heary to put St. James on the Comets’ side of the field. The Wildcats would get into the red zone before the Comets stepped it up defensively and forced the field goal to knot the contest up 3-3.
St. Charles added two more field goals in the third quarter, one coming off of a St. James fumble on the punt return, to put the Comets up 9-3 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Comet faithful, it was all Wildcats from that point on.
St. James chewed up nearly six minutes off the clock to start the fourth quarter on their way to 14 unanswered points. The first touchdown coming courtesy of quarterback Antonio Phillips finding a wide open Jordan Landry in the end zone on fourth and one. The Comets stacked the line to stop the run, but the Wildcats fooled them by opting for the pass deep in the end zone and a 10-9 lead after the extra point.
The Comets took over on offense with about 7 minutes remaining but would not be able to capitalize. After a screen pass to running back Jonathan Cancienne to get a Comet first down near midfield, quarterback Phillip Sutton’s pass was picked off by Demell Dumas who returned the interception 50 yards for a touchdown and a commanding fourth quarter lead.
After a successful Wildcats extra point,
the Comets found themselves trailing 17-9 and badly in need of a score to stay alive. The Comets would fight until the very last play, holding onto the ball until the last minute. St. Charles found themselves in a third down situation with 20 seconds to play when Sutton, facing serious defensive pressure, managed to get a pass off to receiver Matt Ericksen, bringing up first and goal.
With 15 seconds to play, the power went out on the scoreboard unexpectedly, forcing a slight delay and adding to the tension of an already classic match up between the divisional rivals.
With a dark scoreboard and only the time on the play clock remaining, St. James managed to intercept a prayer pass by Sutton on the final play of the game to secure the win.
The Wildcats will face East Beauregard (5-5, 2-4) Friday while the Comets look to bounce back against Sumner (3-7, 2-3) for the start of the 2A playoffs.