Krawczyk nails winning field-goal as Comets score thrilling win over rival Bulldogs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Sports Editor

The Friday night fireworks displayed during the national anthem at St. Charles were nothing – absolutely nothing – compared to the ones showcased soon after on the field between the Comets and visiting Lutcher.

After four quarters of thrilling back and forth play, James Krawczyk’s 34-yard field goal with 6:44 left in the game proved the difference as St. Charles toppled rival Lutcher 28-26 in LaPlace, netting the Comets the upper hand over the defending district champion Bulldogs in the race for District 9-3A.

It was also a measure of payback for St. Charles (4-1, 1-0), after Lutcher ended the Comets’ season in the second round of the playoffs a year ago.

“Last year, I remember watching how hurt the seniors were after the game. The coaches put the burden on our backs,” said St. Charles’ Grant Authement. “They told us to go out and prove something.”

The game was the district opener for each team.

SCC led 10-7 at halftime, but things were about to get wild.

On the third play of the second half, St. Charles’ Marc Picciola was intercepted by Lutcher’s Frederick Thomas at the Comets’ 36. Three plays later, Gavin Webster punched it in from there on a quarterback keeper, making it 13-10 at the 10:42 mark of the third quarter.

But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Bulldogs extra point back 15-yards, and Daniel St. Pierre’s kick attempt hit the crossbar.

The Comets would then turn it over for the second straight drive, as a Courtland Taylor fumble was recovered by Lutcher at the SCC 37.

It only took one play for Webster to find Reginald Jackson over the top for a 37-yard touchdown pass, putting Lutcher (3-2, 1-0) ahead 19-10 with 8:19 left in the third. But the Comets would block the extra point attempt.

Quickly, all seemed lost for St. Charles. Just as quickly, the Comets found themselves right back in it.

On the third play of SCC’s ensuing drive, Marc Picciola answered Webster’s scoring pass directly with one of his own, finding Zach Goodwin, who beat the Lutcher secondary downfield, for a 48-yard touchdown with 7:34 left in the quarter, making it 19-17.

“We knew they’d play man all game, so we thought we could get them over the top,” said Picciola. “I put it up there, and he went and got it.

“(Goodwin’s) a good wide receiver, and I know he’ll make those type of plays for me. And he did.”

Nobody got a chance to catch their breaths. After a holding penalty left Lutcher with a first and 20 situation on the first play of its next drive, Authement intercepted Webster at the Lutcher 36 and returned it to the 2.

“The defense just needed a big play,” Authement said. “Coach (Wayne) Stein told me that the middle of the field was my zone, and to guard it with my life. I was able to break on the ball.”

That set up a 1-yard Picciola sneak to put SCC ahead 23-19. On a two-point attempt, Picciola threw a fade route to Goodwin, who hauled in the catch with one hand and dragged his foot inbounds to make it 25-19 with 6:21 left in the quarter.

For the second straight drive, Lutcher’s first play resulted in a turnover. Jarvis Landry carried on an end around, but was rocked by Matt Murphy. SCC’s Nick Reine recovered the fumble at the Lutcher 34.

“We got the benefit of some breaks,” said SCC Coach Frank Monica. “But you’ve got to create turnovers. You don’t just wait for them to happen. We created some of those breaks for ourselves.”

The third quarter saw four touchdowns and four turnovers in its first 5:40 alone.

But this time, Lutcher held its ground and allowed no points. The offense rewarded the defensive stop with its longest drive of the night – 13 plays, 74 yards, and 6:11 minutes off the clock. Webster capped it off with an 11-yard run on a draw play for a go-ahead touchdown, making it 26-25 Bulldogs.

Stafford Jones’ 47-yard kickoff return set SCC up with great field position. But faced with a fourth-and-three on the Lutcher 35, St. Charles first lined up to punt. Lutcher called a timeout. The Comets offensive team then came out in an effort to go for it, but wouldn’t have to run a play – Picciola went to a hard count, drawing the Bulldogs offsides.

Five plays later, Krawczyk’s field goal put St. Charles ahead with 6:44 remaining.

 The Comet defense forced Lutcher to punt on their next drive, but disaster seemed to strike for SCC at the worst time – Justin Vicknair fumbled the catch, and Lutcher recovered at the SCC 47.

But the Comets defense again held Lutcher to four plays and out, and did so again on Lutcher’s last drive of the game. 

As many big, momentum changing plays occurred in this game, it was two seemingly mundane ones — Lutcher’s failed extra point attempts in the third quarter — that gave Krawczyk all the room he needed to drill a kick for the win.

After a rough game against St. Amant, Krawczyk said he was ready for the situation.

“I pushed myself hard this week, and I was a lot more confident in my kicking,” Krawczyk said.

Just how confident?

“When the kick went up,” he said. “I knew it was good.”