Comets to rematch District 11-3A foe

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013


LAPLACE — St. Charles Catholic has a district rematch on its hands in this Friday night’s postseason opener. And if the Comets win, they’ll have another.
8th seeded SCC will host 9th seeded De La Salle at Thomas Dupuy Stadium in the Division II bracket, which combines the Class 3A and Class 4A “select” teams.
The winner of the game will advance to face top-seeded John Curtis, which draws a first round bye. All three teams competed in District 11-3A, with Curtis, SCC and De La Salle finishing first, second and third respectively.
St. Charles (7-3) defeated De La Salle 30-2 on Oct. 18.
Since then, the Cavaliers have won two out of three in convincing fashion, most recently taking down Lusher, 37-8. Its loss came to Curtis, 41-7.
St. Charles coach Frank Monica said he has cautioned his team to not look back at its first clash with De La Salle as any kind of indicator of future performance. Every game, he said, is its own entity.
“No two games are ever the same,” said Monica. “When you look back at that game, for instance, they turned it over early on a punt and that gave us a big shot of momentum right off the bat. That’s a team that’s done nothing but get better as the season’s gone on. It’s a young team that’s starting to gel, and they’ve really started to do some things with their new quarterback.’
“I like to use the LSU/Alabama scenario from two years ago as an example. You can see two teams play once and then again and see two completely different results. This is a game played by humans, driven through emotion. It’s not X-Box.”
That quarterback, Victor Gaines, took over in Week 4 of the season after moving over from wide receiver and has led the Cavaliers to a 5-2 record over his seven starts. De La Salle averaged 16 points per game in its first three games of the year, prior to Gaines taking the job, but 25.5 points per game since.
De La Salle (6-4) has primarily moved the ball on the ground, doing much of its work running Gaines out of the spread. The Comets defense stifled the Cavalier ground attack in the first meeting, holding DLS to 86 total yards. The SCC defense sacked Gaines three times, including one Sean Alonzo takedown on third-and-goal to negate a potential score.
“Their offense has improved tremendously since then,” said Monica. “They’ve added things to their offense and are using their quarterback in different ways. You’re seeing the Wildcat and some other new wrinkles. This is a different team.”
Gaines accounted for three touchdowns last week in De La Salle’s win over Lusher, passing for two and running for one. The Cavs rushed for 216 yards in the win.
The De La Salle defense is a group that has been strong all season long. Allowing just 13.6 points per game, the Cavaliers focus on loading up the box and making teams beat them through the air.
“We’ll need to do a little of each. We’re not overpowering or dynamic enough to just run or just pass,” said Monica. “They really loaded the box on us and we didn’t run the ball as well as we’re capable. They’re going to dare us to open it up a little, and we’re going to have to be capable of making the plays that present themselves.”