Comets focus on containing explosive McMain

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013


LAPLACE – Coming off a shutdown defensive performance against De La Salle and its dual threat quarterback Victor Gaines, the St. Charles Catholic defense has another challenging matchup on tap as it hosts McMain and its own explosive passer, Omari Jones.
The Mustangs are 5-2 this season and have split two District 11-3A contests, falling to De La Salle two weeks ago 14-6 but besting Lusher last week, 22-20.
On the season, McMain has shown it’s capable of bigger scoring outbursts. The Mustangs (5-2, 1-1) average 35.4 points per game.
Jones passed for 218 yards and two touchdowns last week. His favorite wide receiver is Darnell Williams, who totaled 111 yards and scored a touchdown against Lusher.
“(Jones) is the guy we need to stop,” said St. Charles coach Frank Monica. “He scrambles, and he’s equally effective on the run or getting yards through the air. He extends plays, and his off schedule stuff is what we really need to pay mind to.”
Monica noted Jones’ height — the passer stands at 6-foot-3-inches — as a particular concern, especially coupled with the size of Jones’ wide receivers.
“Our matchups in that area won’t be very good,” said Monica.
That said, the Comet defense is playing especially good ball these days, most recently holding the De La Salle offense scoreless in a 30-2 rout. SCC (4-3, 1-1) allowed 46 points to a nationally ranked John Curtis squad, but shut out Ville Platte the week prior.
The secondary has been a big reason why. Monica pointed out two defensive backs in particular in safety Connor Western and cornerback Jordan Favorite as players whose versatility and playmaking ability has made a big difference on Fridays
“Connor Western is playing extremely well. We’ll use him all over the secondary,” said Monica. “The same goes for Jordan Favorite. We’ll swap them out at free safety, strong safety and corner and give teams different looks.”
Up front, Monica said that Justin Jase and Christian Bailey have been putting the pressure on opposing teams.
Jase, in particular, has been causing a lot of matchup problems.
“He’s using his quickness and creating an advantage,” said Monica.
Monica said that when comparing Jones to the mobile passer St. Charles just corralled in Gaines, the latter relied more on power.
“McMain runs a different kind of spread. De La Salle was more about power, running off tackle,” said Monica. “McMain really lives by the pass. You want to play more coverage, but that’s a double-edged sword because (Jones) will run on you.”
Offensively, the Comets have lived by the running game themselves led by the efforts of quarterback Austin Weber and running back Erron Lewis.
But the Comets have been able to generate points through the passing game as well. Jemal Baptiste hauled in a touchdown and more than 50 yards receiving last week, and Monica said that he has been a boon since returning from injuries.
“When he’s healthy, he’s a lift,” said Monica. “He gives us a little bit of height (at receiver). Being a former quarterback helps, too, because he has an edge in terms of understanding the system.”