SCC set for unbeaten foe

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011



LAPLACE — There are two teams in District 7-3A that can call themselves undefeated. That list will shrink after Friday night.

That’s because Port Allen is set to host top-ranked St. Charles Catholic in a matchup of 6-0 squads.

The Pelicans are fresh off of a come from behind victory at St. James last week, 26-21, and have earned four of their six wins in convincing fashion, by three touchdowns or more; their other close win came over McMain, 13-6.

St. Charles, meanwhile, has no close wins, as the Comets have all but secured victory by the fourth quarter in each of their games this season. The most recent was a 49-8 win in LaPlace over Donaldsonville, a statement victory over a team considered by many to be one of the more talented squads in Class 3A.

“I’m very, very pleased by our start,” said St. Charles coach Frank Monica. “At the same time, it’s important that players understand that this is a game played with humans, against other humans. This isn’t X-Box. What you do one week has no bearing on the next if you don’t maintain your focus and continue to play hard.”

Monica said that 7-3A is something of a minefield, with a slate of teams capable of beating one another on any given Friday night. Port Allen has been chief among those so far this season, especially after overcoming four first half turnovers and a 21-7 deficit to win at St. James last week.

“That got our attention,” said Monica. “To overcome that and come away with a win on the road, you know it’s a resilient team. You look at the talent they have and the way they play, you can see that they aren’t a fluke 6-0 by any stretch.”

Quarterback Darian Claiborne leads the Pelicans’ spread attack. He’s a 6-foot-1-inch, 225-pound quarterback that poses a major threat with his legs; his 29-yard rushing score midway through the fourth quarter provided the winning points against St. James, the last of his four rushing touchdowns.

Monica said Claiborne poses a lot of problems, especially considering he is surrounded by a slew of speedy threats.

“They’ve got speed all around,” he said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, which you’d expect from an undefeated team.”

St. Charles led 21-8 at halftime over Donaldsonville last week, after a first half that was closer than the score would appear; the Tigers got into the SCC redzone four times in the first half, but came away with only a touchdown.

But the Comets continued their run of fast second half starts and wasted no time finishing Donaldsonville off.

First, St. Charles went ahead 28-8 after a five-play drive consisting of only runs, including gains of 33 and 29 by Thompson. He’d score on a 1-yard run to cap things.

Donaldsonville took over at the SCC 36 after the ensuing kickoff, and drove into the Comet redzone for the fifth time after a 23-yard run by Breaux and a 29-yard jump ball connection between he and Leondre James.

The Tigers (2-4) found themselves at a first-and-goal from the 10; two incompletions, then an 8-yarder from Breaux to Tre Brown made it a fourth-and-2. Devon Breaux, one of the state’s leading passers but also a major rushing threat, attempted to run it in and broke to the outside; defensive end LaJaylin Smith cut him off and corralled him for a two-yard loss.

“LaJaylin tried to keep him contained, but he got outside,” said SCC cornerback Jeffrey Hall. “We were in a Cover Four protecting the back of the endzone. We were watching for him to cross the line and once he did, LaJaylin was there to stop him.”

SCC embarked on another five-play drive against a clearly worn down Tiger defense; Thompson had runs of 18 and 21 while Hall added rushed of 16, 10 and finally 31 on a scoring jaunt. The five-play, 96-yard drive completely took the wind out of Donaldsonville’s sails for good, making it 36-8 after SCC tacked on a swinging gate 2-point run by Thompson for good measure.

“At halftime, our coaches really emphasized coming out with more intensity and being able to run the ball,” said Thompson.

Lazedrick Thompson rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries and Marcus Hall rushed 13 times for 97 yards and a score. Jeffrey Hall secured two interceptions. Donnie Savoie provided offensive balance, completing 11 of 16 pass attempts for 134 yards and a touchdown. Sammy Miller was his favorite target, hauling in six receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.