Comets, Rams set to clash

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010



EDGARD — St. Charles brought back precious few starters when it began the 2010 season, and some saw it as a potential Achilles heel for a program that has been perennially among the best. But the Comets have a knack for defying expectations.

St. Charles (2-0) is off to a furious start, having defeated East St. John (in a jamboree), Woodlawn and Vandebilt Catholic in consecutive weeks. Each of those teams are Class 4A or above, giving St. Charles’ Class 2A brethren something to think about.

“I think some teams don’t expect us to be as good as we are,” said running back Marcus Hall, who rushed for 134 yards and two scores in Friday night’s win over Vandebilt Catholic. “They underestimate us, and we have to show them differently. We use it for motivation.”

St. Charles coach Frank Monica sees West St. John (1-1), his Comets’ opponent this Friday night, on film and understands that the Rams give very little up easily.

“They’re very active defensively,” said Monica. “They blitz a lot, play some various coverages and try to confuse your protection. They play extremely hard and they play at a different level at their place.”

That place is Rudolph Dinvaut Stadium in Edgard, where the Rams have already pulled off one big victory this season. West St. John toppled St. James 20-6 in the season’s first week, but the Rams stumbled on the road at Bonnabel last week.

WSJ played virtually mistake free in its win this season, but the Bruins took advantages of a few miscues by the Rams’ young offense. A penalty nullified a West St. John touchdown late in the first half. The Rams also had a punt blocked and turned the ball over three times in the 14-7 loss.

“You can’t turn the ball over like that,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “It doesn’t matter — 1A, 5A or whatever — when you play, you have to take advantage of the opportunities you’re given. You’re always going to get opportunities, and you have to make them count.”

The Rams featured the running game in the season’s first week but relied on the arm of freshman quarterback Austin Howard in their comeback attempt. Howard completed 12 of 21 pass attempts for 126 yards and one touchdown. Jarius Moll was his top target with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

The defense held firm again, however. Bonnabel scored its second touchdown off of a turnover only moments after scoring its first — the touchdowns came on their first two possessions. The Rams allowed no points the rest of the night.

The Rams’ offense will have to play beyond its years against a St. Charles defensive unit that has scored numerous takeaways over the past few weeks.

Monica said that the Comets’ defense must stand up to the challenge of limiting West St. John’s big play potential, with players like Moll and tailback Blandy Young already boasting big nights this season.

“Everyone that takes the ball for them has a whole lot of ability,” said Monica. “Everyone there has a lot of quickness. Against a team like that you look to bend but don’t break.

“The concern is, for your guys, you could be in a position to make a play and still not make it.”

That happened a few times on Friday night in LaPlace for the Comets, who built a 35-7 halftime lead but saw Vandebilt Catholic make a big push in the second half. The Terriers’ Elijah McGuire broke a handful of big runs on his way to a 194-yard night. Vandebilt closed within 35-20, then 38-26 in the second half before Marcus Hall slammed the door via a touchdown run out of the Wildcat.