Comets wrap up spring with scrimmage
Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 23, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — While St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica acknowledged that he and his staff have thrown “a whole lot” at his players in a short amount of time over the 10 allotted days of spring practice, he delivered a clear message to his Comets after its intrasquad spring game Thursday.
Execution, he said, was simply not good enough. It must improve — and fast.
“It was sloppy,” Monica said. “By far, we had too many dropped footballs by our receivers and backs. We had six drops. We can’t afford one. Our margin for error is too slim. The skill players on this team, I felt, were our strength. It didn’t feel that way today.”
St. Charles’ first team scored one touchdown while its second team scored twice in the scrimmage, which broke the team’s usual tradition of playing an outside opponent for its annual spring game.
Austin Weber threw a touchdown pass to Dane Authement to account for the first team score while Patrick Ratliff and Justin Ory each connected with Geoffrey Wagner for touchdowns.
Monica scaled back the number of touches for tailback Erron Lewis and had Weber don the red “no contact” practice jersey, the coach noting that he and his staff already have a strong grasp on what the two returning starters can do.
Weber, a converted running back who competed and won the starting quarterback job in each of the last two seasons, enters this season with his position cemented.
“We’re set at quarterback,” Monica said. “Hopefully that stands up from a health standpoint. Austin can scare you enough with his arm, but his forte is he’s so dangerous as a runner. We had the red jersey on him today, but normally he brings that added element.”
The Comet secondary is being revamped, with only sophomore safety Eric Lewis a returning starter. That group, Monica said, has looked extremely promising this spring, with sophomore cornerback Jacoby Johnson, junior safety Cameron Torres and junior cornerback Jordan Snowdy all having strong springs.
“We’re athletic and physical in the secondary,” Monica said. “That looks like a big plus for us.”
Eric Lewis said his new role as a defensive leader is somewhat jarring as he’s in a rare position of being his defense’s most experienced player entering his junior season. Lewis is one of just two returning starters. He said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I know I have to get on ‘em, the younger guys,” said Lewis. “As a leader, I have to keep on pushing them. I thought we did a good job today but we still have a lot of work to do.
“We want to be known for how physical we are. We want to be known for our great defensive backs corps and for how our ends and rushers get at it up front.
“When (the line) is making plays, it lets me take my mind of the run a little and focus on the pass.”
Snowdy twice came away with near interceptions, one on a fourth down pass breakup that left a first-team drive stalled in the red zone. And Johnson, Monica said, has been among the team’s surprise stars this spring after seeing no varsity action last season.
“He’s played really, really well for us this spring,” said Monica.
One offensive highlight came on the final scoring drive, as Ratliff completed passes to six different receivers to bring SCC down to the 1. On a fourth-and-one play, freshman Justin Ory came on at quarterback, mishandled the snap but recovered to fire a touchdown pass to Wagner, who came back for the ball. Wagner, Brady Becker and Nick Scioneaux each made key gains on the drive.