Comets’ Monica wins 200th in statement win over Patterson

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2011



LAPLACE — St. Charles silenced its doubters Friday night, even if the postgame scene at Thomas Dupuy Stadium spoke loudly.

The second-seeded Comets did not have Lazedrick Thompson or Marcus Hall in the backfield, but thanks to a power points qwirk, did have a date with Patterson, which was ranked No. 2 all season long in the state polls behind the top-ranked Comets in Class 3A.

None of it mattered. This game was the same as all that came before for SCC: a dominating effort, this time ending in a 31-6 blowout win to advance to the quarterfinals.

“We came to win tonight. We weren’t settling for less than this,” said Jeffrey Hall, who played extensively on offense, defense and special teams. “We weren’t going to play around.”

St. Charles (12-0) will travel to face Rayne next week.

It was a fitting way for St. Charles coach Frank Monica to win his 200th career game as a prep coach. Monica said that before Thursday night, he was unaware that the milestone was at hand. The SCC community was quite aware, though, and Monica received a commemorative plaque after the victory.

In a game televised by Cox Sports Television and on a night that 870 AM made SCC its home base for its prep football roundup show, all eyes were on the Comets. And they made a statement.

The game pitted an irresistible force against an immovable object: a Lumberjack offense averaging 50 points a game facing a Comets defense that allowed just 31 points over its first 11 games. It was a clear win for SCC. Patterson rarely drove deep into Comet territory.

“All week, these kids have been challenged,” said St. Charles coach Frank Monica. “They’ve been told they couldn’t stop this high-flying offense. We were worried about their speed, their quickness. But our defense was incredible tonight.”

Monica said the gameplan was to keep Patterson in front of them and limit the big play. In fact, Patterson (11-1) would not generate a play of 40 yards or more all night, instead settling for short passes and runs.

The teams each traded mistakes early. Patterson saw its first drive end with a punt after a bad snap set the offense back. SCC, meanwhile, drove to the Patterson 1 thanks to a big connection from Donnie Savoie to Jeffrey Hall, but Patterson pushed SCC back and forced an apparent field goal attempt from the 7; but SCC faked unsuccessfully, Savoie flushed and his pass batted down behind the line. The teams ended the first quarter in a scoreless tie.

The Comets struck first with 7:44 left in the second quarter. After a 30-yard run by Austin Weber set the Comets up at first and goal from the 10, SCC’s Sammy Miller drew a pass interference flag in the endzone. On the next play, Savoie ran the option with Weber, pitching it to him off left tackle for a 5-yard score. That made it 7-0.

Nick Montagut came up with another big play in a season of many on Patterson’s next drive, the senior linebacker intercepting Justice Jones on third and 15 and setting SCC up on the Lumberjack 11. On the Comets’ second play, Savoie found Matt Torres open over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown pass, making it 14-0.

Disaster nearly struck for SCC with less than a minute left in the half, threatening to swing momentum to the other side. An apparent long touchdown run by Hall on a delay was negated by a block in the back penalty, and SCC had to punt. After the SCC defense halted another Patterson drive, Hall tried to field a punt but misjudged it; he fumbled and Patterson recovered at the SCC 25.

But another Hall covered for his teammate. Marcus Hall couldn’t play at running back due to his broken wrist, but with a soft cast he was able to play defensive back. He intercepted Jones in the endzone to halt the Lumberjacks; a potential highlight was thwarted due to an inadvertent whistle, but SCC led 14-0 at halftime.

“I was upset, but our defense told us, ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got it. We’ll stop them.’ And they did that,” said Monica.

The Comets opened the second half with scores on each of their first two possessions. The first saw Jeffrey Hall get his rushing touchdown on a play similar to the one called back; draw left became draw right, and Hall raced to the finish for a 34-yard touchdown to cap an eight-play, 68-yard drive.

Jeffrey Hall has been asked to carry part of the rushing and the kick return load for SCC with Thompson and Marcus Hall sidelined, in addition to his duties as cornerback.

“I do it for my team. Anything to help us reach our goal,” he said. “Any way I can help us, and I’ll do it.”

The Lumberjacks fumbled on their next series, and Jordan Favorite recovered for SCC. In five plays, the Comets marched 39 yards, capping it with a 15-yard Savoie touchdown pass to Sammy Miller to make it 28-0.

Patterson scored early in the fourth quarter on Jones’ 25-yard pass to Jadrick DeClouette — a blown coverage, one of few SCC mistakes on the night. The point after attempt was no good.

Patrick Juneau capped off the night’s scoring with a 26-yard field goal for SCC.

And the Comet faithful capped off their night by celebrating a monumental victory and a major milestone for its popular coach.

“I just thank God for giving me this profession, for my health, and for allowing me to coach with a great group of coaches and so many players that have a tremendous amount of heart,” said Monica. “It feels pretty good to do this.”