Taylor leads Comets over Pelicans, 28-14
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
It wasn’t exactly the start St. Charles was looking for — not to begin the first half, nor to begin the fourth quarter.
But the finish wasn’t all that bad for the Comets.
Courtland Taylor’s 65-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter helped seal a 28-14 Comet victory over district foe Port Allen, and with it at least a share of the District 9-3A championship.
“I thought ‘Just keep running. Don’t let them catch you,’” Taylor said of his game-breaking dash. “We needed a big play for momentem.”
Taylor rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries to lead St. Charles (7-1, 3-0).
SCC is currently ranked No. 6 in the Class 3A poll. If the Comets defeat Plaquemine on Friday, it will clinch the outright District 9-3A title.
St. Charles took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but Port Allen (5-2, 1-2) scored two touchdowns in a three-minute span to cut their deficit to one touchdown with 7:39 left in the game.
“It was slipping away from us there,” said Monica.
Taylor scored on a third-and-two play after gaining eight yards on his first two carries of the drive.
“At the beginning of the game, he had a couple opportunities on the first drive that got away from him,” said St. Charles Coach Frank Monica. “This time, he refused to be denied.”
It was the first start of the year for sophomore quarterback Henri Faucheux, who takes over for Marc Picciola. Picciola injured his knee in the Comets’ game against Brusly.
“We have to be careful of how much we put on his plate,” said Monica.
Matt Murphy had six tackles, two for loss, and an interception to lead the Comets’ defense.
St. Charles out-gained Port Allen in yardage 222 to 193. Quarterback L.J. Parker led the Pelicans with 84 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Each team turned the ball over three times.
The Comets narrowly avoided disaster on the first drive of the game. St. Charles drove to the Port Allen 13, but penalties and negative plays pushed SCC back to the 25. On a third-and-22, Port Allen’s Marcus Parker intercepted a Faucheux pass over the middle and returned it for what appeared to be a 75-yard touchdown. But Port Allen was called for an illegal block, and the ball came back to the 27.
St. Charles missed a second opportunity to score after the defense forced a three-and-out. After a mishandled snap, Port Allen’s punt attempt only traveled four yards to its own 34. But St. Charles gained only a yard on four downs.
But the Comets settled down. St. Charles appeared to recover a fumble, but it was called back due to a facemask penalty. It would get its first turnover yet, though, when Ethan Rome forced a fumble by Pelicans’ quarterback L.J. Parker.
Rome recovered at the Pelican 33. Nine plays later, Faucheux connected with Tyler Roussel for a four-yard touchdown to put St. Charles ahead 7-0 with 8:44 left in the first half, a lead it took into halftime.
After forcing another three-and-out and a punt, St. Charles took over in fine field position at the Port Allen 37. Four plays later, Faucheux’s 17-yard pass to Taylor set SCC up on the five.
Two plays later, Taylor’s 1-yard score made it 14-0 at the 7:11 mark of the third quarter.
St. Charles added its third touchdown late in the third quarter, after Matt Murphy’s interception gave St. Charles the ball on the PA 26.
Taylor’s 25-yard run set up a 1-yard Michael Brock touchdown with 0:35 seconds left in the third, making it 21-0.
“The coaches got on us at halftime,” Taylor said. “We corrected our mistakes from there.”
Said Monica: “We played a much more inspired game in the second half.”
Port Allen came roaring back early in the fourth quarter. Parker capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:40 left in the game. The extra point was blocked.
The Pelicans got it right back on the ensuing Comet drive. Faucheux and Taylor had a miscommunication on a handoff, and Port Allen’s Ronald Grover recovered at the Comets’ 42. The Pelicans scored in five plays, a 17-yard Parker pass to Jeremy Taylor cutting the lead to 21-12. A Parker run for the two-point conversion drew Port Allen within a touchdown with 7:39 left.
But St. Charles held on for the win, and its piece of the district crown.
“It’s huge,” said Monica. Especially in this district, it’s so competitive. But we’re still a work in progress. We aren’t where we need to be on offense — we still need to be complete.”