SCC boys soccer team overcomes tough start to reach quarters

Published 12:02 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

LAPLACE — The St. Charles Catholic soccer team certainly took its lumps last year.

In May, the Comets were knocked out of the playoffs by Catholic High of New Iberia in the second round.

Worse than that, goal keeper Matthew Templet suffered a brutal injury when he took a kick to the face.

It was a devastating end to what had been a great season.

Fast forward to November and December, when the 2016-17 season got underway and things didn’t go much better.

The Comets started the season 1-7.

Worse than that, Templet took yet another hit to the face, giving him yet another scar to boast about (someday).

“The beginning sucked,” said senior Andrew Rodrigue. “After the beginning of the season I didn’t really have hope.”

Things soon turned around, however, as the Comets went on an amazing winning streak that took them to a 13-8 finish. They won the District 6-IV title undefeated, giving them their 12th championship in a row.

They then rode that momentum into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed.

Unfortunately, the Comets ran into a No. 5 Westminster Christian team still holding a grudge from 2015.

The key to the Comets’ success this season was experience, said head coach Sean LeBlanc.

“I had six kids that are graduating this year,” he said. “Those are six kids that started with me. They’ve been in the system and knew the expectations.”

Among those seniors are standouts on the 2017 All-St John Parish Boys Soccer Team.

Templet, the district’s overall Most Valuable Player, is L’OBSERVATEUR’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Rodrigue is the Offensive Player of the Year, and Evan Simoneaux is the Defensive Player of the Year. LeBlanc is the Coach of the Year.

St. Charles Catholic senior midfielder Andrew Rodrigue is the All-St. John Offensive Player of the Year.

The rough start to the season was by design, LeBlanc said.

“Rummel, Holy Cross, E.D. White — we were battle tested,” he said.

Rodrigue said the turning point came in early January when the Comets beat Country Day, 2-1.

“After we started playing the teams in our district it became easier,” said Rodrigue, who plans to attend and hopes to kick for the Southeastern Lions football team.

“We hadn’t played a team that was close to us. It felt good to actually play a team that had talent and we could play off the win.”

The early part of the season was especially difficult for Templet, who had to add a special mouthpiece to his protective facemask.

“I was ready to get to the field immediately after my injury,” Templet said. “Actually, five minutes after my injury I was ready to get back on the field. Then someone’s knee hit my face and my teeth went through my lip. It made me a little more scared on the field. It really affected my playing.”

Templet said he had to do special pre-game drills to get himself psyched up before each game.

“It was tough to overcome,” he said.

The plastic facial mask helped.

“I liked the mask,” he said. “It was something unique and I liked standing out. When you see a person on the field with a mask, that person will always remember them. When people see me on the field it’s always seeing the best thing, seeing the first looks at me.”

For defender Evan Simoneaux, this was a special season for other reasons.

His sister, Eden Simoneaux, was part of the girls team that made a historic run to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

She was named L’OBSERVATEUR’s Offensive Player of the Year on the All-St. John girls soccer team.

“It was amazing,” Evan said of the Lady Comets’ season. “I was happy for them. We both started when we were young and we both just really enjoyed it. We’d go one-on-one in the backyard all the time and we just took it to the field.”

“I’m glad we got as far as we did,” he added. “I was glad to win the district. In the end, it didn’t go the way we wanted.”