Comets set for Warriors

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2013


LAPLACE – A balanced, ball control offense based on a strong running and controlled, short passing game. A sound, disciplined defense. Outstanding special teams play.
St. Charles Catholic has long forged its identity based on those elements under coach Frank Monica. And for the Comets to have success this Friday night, his team will likely have to check off every one of those boxes as it visits high-powered Class 4A foe East Jefferson.
The matchup pits a pair of ranked teams against one another, the Comets the seventh ranked team in Class 3A and the Warriors the eighth ranked team in Class 4A as per the Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll.
Both teams scored decisive victories last week. The Comets hosted Class 1A Southern Lab and prevailed 42-14, while East Jefferson went on the road and took down Higgins 38-0.
The latter performance lifted the previously unranked Warriors into the top 10 poll. The Warriors have run the flexbone option offense under coach Nick Saltaformaggio in past seasons, but now he has combined that attack with pistol and zone-read packages and the results have been strong so far. Higgins had no answer for quarterback Eugene Wells and running backs Aaron Jenkins and Ronald Green. The trio accounted for all but one of East Jefferson’s five scores on Friday.
Monica said that his team is in for a monumental challenge, calling the Warriors Superdome-ready. 
“They’re a contender in 4A,” said Monica. “They brought back eight starters on each side of the ball. They’re very experienced and highly explosive. When you look at their schedule, they’re a team that has the potential to run the table.”
The Comets have long been one of the state’s better teams at exposing the weaknesses of an opposing lineup. But if Monica and his staff noted any at all this week, he kept it close to the vest.
“I don’t think they have any weaknesses of note,” said Monica. “I’d like to think we can go out and expose some weaknesses, but we watched the tape and they didn’t have a weak position player to exploit.’
“What it comes down to is we’re going to have to take exactly what they give us. Our objective is to get four yards per play. We have to play as efficiently as possible … stay away from turnovers and force them on our end of things.’
“And we need to really avoid the punt. They’re dangerous in that area as well.”
He said that teams that run a true triple-option, as East Jefferson does, present a unique problem these days. It’s an old-school attack that has become unique in today’s game, with the proliferation of wide-open, spread offensive attacks.
“You see so many teams that give you multiple looks, that want to spread you out and throw these days,” said Monica. “You don’t see (the triple-option) much. So when you do see a true triple-option, it makes things tough. It’s absolutely imperative that we play assignment football. We’ll have to simplify our defense. And we need to tackle better than we did on Friday.”
Though he had his criticisms of last week’s game, he conceded that there was plenty to like about the Comets’ victory. Linebacker Connor Smith, Monica said, was a standout, and the Comet secondary played an outstanding game, Connor Western leading the way by notching two of SCC’s four interceptions on the night. He also praised the efforts of defensive end Justin Jase. All three players are seniors.