Stout Comet defense dominates as SCC beats 4-1 Jaguars, 20-0

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sports Editor

Two 4-1 teams took the field in LaPlace on Friday night, as St. Charles took on visiting Pope John Paul II, and the Comet defense was more than up to the challenge.

St. Charles held the Jaguars to 73 total yards and recorded its first shutout of the season, taking a 20-0 win in a non-district game.

Pope John Paul (4-2) completed only one pass and averaged less than two yards a carry on its 42 runs. The Comets (5-1) also forced two turnovers and blocked two punts, giving the offense fine field position.

But St. Charles Coach Frank Monica wasn’t as pleased with his team’s offensive performance, noting it will have to improve going into the teams final three district games.

“We got a win after a big, emotional game,” said Monica. “I’m pleased with that, but not with some of the mistakes that we made.

“The failure to score in the redzone was the big issue. We only got 14 points out of two turnovers and two blocked punts. On that, we need to go back to the drawing board.”

Monica also lamented the team’s execution on first downs throughout the game. Seven times, the Comets started drives with an incomplete pass, a penalty, or a run for two yards or less.

“We put ourselves in second and long a lot. We need to do a better job of always having a chance at a first down.”

Contrarily, Monica was pleased with a defense that yet again forced multiple turnovers in a game, something that’s become something of a staple of the Comets this year.

(See COMETS, Page 11A)

“We’ve done a nice job pressuring the quarterback, creating turnovers, and putting our offense on a short field,” Monica said. “They play on a long field, we play on a short field. That’s as good as you can ask.”

Stafford Jones led SCC in rushing, carrying 10 times for 52 yards. Courtland Taylor added 49 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Marc Picciola was 5-of-14 for 67 yards and two interceptions, but ran for two touchdowns.

Defensively, Nick Reine shined with nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.

The Comets started the game on offense, and looked strong in doing so. The Comets marched from their own 37-yard line all the way to a Taylor 3-yard touchdown at the 6:33 mark of the first quarter. The score capped a 10-play drive.

But then some of the mistakes Monica spoke of began to add up. After pinning the Jaguar offense deep, a 20-yard punt gave SCC the ball at the PJP 27 to start. But three plays later, the Jaguars intercepted Picciola in the endzone.

SCC forced another punt, and Brady Hitt gave the Comets a shot field again when he blocked it and recovered at the PJP 16.

The Comets again scored no points. Picciola was intercepted for the second time in as many drives.

St. Charles would cash in after Matt Jacques recovered a Jaguar fumble at the PJP 24. Picciola would run it in from 19 yards on the drive’s second play to put SCC ahead 14-0. That would be the halftime score.

The Comets forced another punt to begin the second half, and blocked it again — this time, Grant Authement blocked it, and Justin Vicknair recovered at the PJP 31.

St. Charles came up scoreless once more, as PJP forced a punt after pushing St. Charles backwards.

But for the fourth time in five possessions, Pope John Paul ended a drive with a turnover or blocked kick — this time, D.J. Wesley forced a fumble. This time, it was recovered by Neil Schexnayder at the PJP 16, and SCC would make good.

Stafford Jones ran four times, getting to the Jaguar 1. A Picciola sneak made it 20-0.

For the remainder of the game, the Comet defense held the Jaguars to negative-one yards on three drives.

While the win was non-district, Monica noted its importance due to the power points system of selecting playoff teams.

“In some cases, district wins aren’t as significant as some non-district wins. This team won four games. In some ways, we essentially get those wins,” he said.