Comets facing next generation Manning: SCC must gear up to stop undefeated Greenies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LAPLACE – St. Charles Catholic football coach Frank Monica has faced quite a few daunting challenges in his 50 years of coaching.

But this is the first time the River Parishes legend has to figure out how to try to stop a Manning.

The No. 1 ranked Newman Greenies (7-0) are coming to LaPlace Friday night for the District 11-2A opening showdown against the No. 6 Comets (6-1).

And with them comes a player just about everyone has heard of.

Archibald Manning is the 6-foot-2, 170 pound quarterback for the Greenies. The youngster, who goes by Arch, is the grandson of former New Orleans Saint quarterback Archie Manning, the son of former Newman player Cooper Manning and the nephew of Peyton and Eli.

Monica wasn’t around back in the 1990s when Eli and Peyton were earning their spots in Newman lore. Both future NFL stars played against Riverside Academy back in the day, but Monica was coaching at Tulane.

“I was trying to recruit Peyton,” Monica said.

Arch is more than just a name, however. He is a formidable opponent for the Comets’ defense to prepare for. In his first varsity game he completed 24 of 34 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. In his most recent game he was 12 of 19 for 289 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another in Newman’s 48-21 win over Riverside Academy.

Of course, the Greenies are no one-trick pony. Wide receiver Jarmone Sutherland caught three of those touchdown passes. Running back Joseph Pleasant leads the running game.

Coach Monica said he knows he and his team have their work cut out for them.
“They’re a very good football team,” Monica said. “They’re a complete package. They’ll be quite a challenge for us. Their defense doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.”

Will St. Charles be up to the task?

The Comets have posted back-to-back wins since its only loss to Class 5A East Ascension (14-6) on Oct. 4, and allowed only 6 points in those two victories. Last week they defeated Franklinton, 35-6. Key to the victory was the return of quarterback Justin Dumas, who missed some playing time with an ankle injury. He was 3 of 5 for 50 yards in limited action last week.

“We have to do a lot of things better,” he said. “Our offensive line has to play more together and play so we don’t have any seepage. And we have to move the ball through the air also, not just on the ground, which will enable us to be multi-dimensional.”

Monica said he knows Friday’s game is a marquee matchup with the famous son, but it’s also important for his team.

“We need our kids to understand, it is a big game for us, but it’s a big ball game because there’s more football after this one,” Monica said.