DREAM FINAL: Rebels, Comets battle for state championship glory

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When Riverside Academy and St. Charles Catholic meet Friday it will pit half of St. John the Baptist Parish against the other.

It also will be a battle between two very different teams.

SCC Quarterback Lloyd Nash is quick, smart and elusive. “You’ve got to know where he is at all times,” RA coach Bill Stubbs said.

SCC Quarterback Lloyd Nash is quick, smart and elusive. “You’ve got to know where he is at all times,” RA coach Bill Stubbs said.

Riverside, the No. 1 seed in Division III, comes in with the high-powered offense with a full arsenal of weapons — a 1,600 yard passer, a 1,300 yard rusher and four receivers who have caught more than 400 yards in passes.

St. Charles Catholic, the No. 3 seed, has the no-name offense that finds ways to control the ball and move the chains and a defense that refuses to yield. No offensive juggernaut, the Comets have no 1,000-yard rusher or passer.

This is the second meeting of the season between the teams, so there are no secrets about what each team does.

“The most important thing for us is to give a better effort,” Comets coach Frank Monica said. “We can’t make any mistakes and give them any opportunities. We can’t get behind the chains. We have to give a complete effort.”

Said Rebels coach Bill Stubbs: “We’re not going to change what we do. We can’t worry about who we’re playing. We just have to take care of ourselves.”


• Riverside Academy vs. St. Charles Catholic

• 1:30 p.m. Friday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

• Riverside (11-1) is the No. 1 seed, St. Charles (12-2) is the No. 3 seed.

• This is the 20th meeting of the two schools. Riverside defeated St. Charles 35-14 in the regular season.

• St. Charles Catholic won the Class 3A title in 2011. Riverside has never won an LHSAA title. They were Louisiana Independent Schools Association champions eight times.


RA Quarterback Jordan Loving, Jr.

Loving was just a freshman when he became the Rebels’ starting quarterback after established starter, Deuce Wallace, moved to Tennessee. The youngster passed for more than 2,300 yards and 40 touchdowns.

He missed all of his sophomore season due to a back injury, returning only to play in the championship. After passing for 109 yards, he was named Riverside’s Player of the Game.

Heading into Friday’s game, Loving has completed 132 of 26 passes for 1,636 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has rushed for four touchdowns.

RA Running back Jeremy Gibson, Jr.

The Rebels went into the season with several running weapons. Gibson has emerged as the most lethal.

The speedy Gibson leads the team in rushing with 1,319 yards on 204 carries. That’s an average of 109.9 yards per game, 6.5 yards per carry. He also is the team’s leading scorer with 21 touchdowns. Gibson has scored 20 of the Rebels’ 37 rushing touchdowns. He also has caught 16 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown.

Teams haven’t been able to find ways to stop him either. Gibson has scored three touchdowns in each of the Rebels’ last three games.

RA Outside linebacker Jared Hymel, Jr.

Ask just about anyone about Riverside’s 2015 championship game against Notre Dame and they’ll probably mention the play of Hymel. They should.

The then-sophomore did everything he could to stop the Pios in the Dome, recording seven tackles and forcing a fumble.

Hymel continues to be a force this year. He has recorded 57 solo tackles and four assists, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception on a defense that has recorded 14 sacks and 16 interceptions.

RA Middle linebacker Harrison Heckathorn, Sr.

Together with Hymel, Heckathorn has become half of a hellacious combo on defense. The senior is the leading tackler on the team with 62 solo tackles and eight assists with two sacks. He also has one interception, which came in a win for the Rebels over Country Day. The Rebels forced four turnovers in that game and Heckathorn had seven tackles. His season-high of 10 tackles came in the Rebels’ only loss of the season, the season-opener against Class 5A quarterfinalist John Ehret. He had nine last week against Catholic High of New Iberia.

SCC Quarterback Lloyd Nash, Jr.

Quick, smart and elusive, Nash is the engine that makes the Comets go.

More than just a quarterback, he is a multi-threat multi-purpose threat on offense and defense. As the quarterback, Nash is 55 of 97 for 644 yards and eight touchdowns. He has rushed for 887 yards and eight touchdowns. He also leads the team with four interceptions on defense.

“You’ve got to know where he is at all times,” Stubbs said.

SCC Running back Narquez Jones, Jr.

When Nash does hand off the ball, it’s usually to Jones (although he shares ball-carrying duties with freshman Phillip Tran).

The Comets’ leading rusher, Jones has gained 942 yards on 153 carries for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He has scored 13 touchdowns.

Another dual-threat player, Jones returned a blocked punt for a 22-yard touchdown Friday night against Notre Dame.

SCC Running back Phillip Tran, Fr.

The Rebels would do well to know where Tran is on the field at all times, as well. The youngster has rushed for 544 yards and six touchdowns on 109 carries. He has 14 catches for 63 yards and another score. He has returned 18 punts for 82 yards and three kickoffs for 57 yards.

Together with Jones and Nash, Tran is a solid third element in the Comets’ ground-control offense.

SCC Middle linebacker Dellary Oubre, Jr.

Many have credited the St. Charles defense for the team’s overall success this season. Oubre is at the forefront. He leads the team with 31 solo tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

When the Comets needed a big play to seal last week’s upset of Notre Dame, it was Oubre who came through when he managed to strip a Notre Dame running back of the ball and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown.