Juneau’s late field goal guides Comets past Parkview

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LAPLACE — No, it wasn’t a state championship victory, even if the scene after Friday’s final whistle at Thomas Dupuy Stadium suggested such.

But realistically, the Comets are closer than they’ve ever been. And their coaches, players and fans seem to know it.

Patrick Juneau’s 20-yard field goal with four seconds left sailed through the uprights and sent St. Charles to the state championship game, 24-21 victors over defending Class 3A champion Parkview Baptist (10-4).

“I’m ecstatic. I can’t do a back flip, but I want to right now,” said Juneau.

The Comets will face Amite next Saturday in the 3A championship game at the Superdome. Kickoff will be for 3 p.m.

St. Charles (14-0) rallied from an early 14-0 deficit and then a 21-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to earn the win.

The game marked the return to running back duties for stars Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson, each of whom had been unable to carry the ball due to injury this postseason.

The game had a state championship level feel, pitting a perennial 3A power and last year’s champion against the team most have considered the classification’s favorite all season.

It was one to remember — the fourth quarter providing zero dull moments from its very first snap.

After a scoreless third quarter, Parkview Baptist faced a fourth and one at the St. Charles 35 on the first play of the final frame. St. Charles stopped quarterback Brennan Bozeman just short of a conversion and SCC took over on downs.

But St. Charles had a three and out, and that spelled trouble — to that point, the Comets had just one first down on three second half possessions, leaving a weary defense to deal with the Parkview option.

This time, Parkview ripped off yardage in chunks of six, seven and eight yards at a time. The Comets prevented the big play until the drive’s 11th snap, when Conner Hodgeson ran up the middle and broke loose for a 20-yard score, giving Parkview a 21-14 lead with 6:44 left.

For the first time this season, SCC faced a fourth quarter deficit.

That became more alarming to the Comet faithful on a second down play that saw Tom Bove sack Donnie Savoie to set up a third and 17 play from the SCC 33.

Savoie, who had thrown more interceptions in this game (3) than he had all season (2), had also come up big on numerous third and long plays. He did it again here, dialing up Chris Millet over the middle for 20 yards, a play that perhaps saved the SCC season.

On the back of that momentum surge, the Comets went for broke, Savoie throwing deep to Jeffrey Hall up the sideline – Hall got behind the defense and caught a perfect pass in stride for a 47-yard touchdown, and Juneau’s extra point tied the game.

Parkview took over with 4:47 and set up a third and 1 with two runs; a handoff to Hezekiah Randolph was smothered by the SCC defense, led by Nick Montagut. Parkview punted it away and SCC took over on its 40.

“At halftime, we’re tied at 14,” said SCC defensive end LaJaylin Smith.” Coach Monica brought us together and told us that it’s 24 minutes for the rest of our lives. He told us that if we gave all we had for that time, he promised we’d have a memory to keep forever.”

From there, Savoie went to work. First, Sammy Miller drew a pass interference penalty deep. He then caught a 3 yard pass, then a seven yarder from Savoie. Savoie also converted on a key second and eight play, scrambling for 11 yards and a first down.

Monica then turned the keys over to Thompson, who had only rushed one previous time on the night – that went for a 2 yard touchdown in the second quarter. Thompson rumbled for seven yards, then 11 down to the Parkview 4 with nine seconds left.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Thompson. “It’s been real hard to sit and watch, so it feels special to go out there and produce and help us be successful.”

Said Monica, “He came to me and said, ‘I can do it.’ He could really only go north-south. But that’s the direction of the endzone and where we needed to go.”

The coach wouldn’t chance a fumble or clock miscue — he sent Juneau on to finish things. He did just that, and SCC made the play it had to on the ensuing kickoff to send its sideline rushing onto the field in celebration.

“(Juneau) is Mr. Clutch now,” said Smith with a wide smile.

Said Juneau, “I just said to myself, ‘I’m bringing it to the Dome.’”

Parkview scored on its first two possessions, the first on Bozeman’s 1-yard score that capped a 12 play, 75 yard drive. The second came on a Hodgeson 1-yard run that followed a big defensive play, Cole Wilson’s interception of Savoie at the Parkview 10.

SCC fired back, scoring first on Savoie’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Miller, then on Thompson’s 1-yard run with 4:33 left in the first half.

Parkview held the SCC run game in check, but Savoie completed 14 passes for 150 yards and two scores.

Randolph led Parkview with 95 yards rushing.