Familiar Foes: Rebels and Comets face rematches in QF playoffs

Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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Thanksgiving week is all about reunions – getting together with familiar people to rehash memories and boast of accomplishments. This week’s St. John the Baptist Parish football slate is no different.

St. Charles Catholic and Riverside Academy, the two St. John teams still alive in the football playoffs, will have their own mini-reunions Friday night as they meet familiar foes in this week’s quarterfinal round.

The Comets (11-0), the No. 1 seed in the Division III Select bracket, will host No. 9 Notre Dame of Crowley, the team St. Charles has had to beat the last three years in a row to get to the championship game. This year’s meeting is just one week earlier than usual, in the quarterfinals rather than the semifinals.

Select Division IV No. 5 seed Riverside Academy, meanwhile, will travel just up the road to Metairie for a rematch against district foe St. Martin’s, the No. 4 seed in the bracket. The Rebels (10-1) defeated the Saints (10-1) 55-14 on Oct. 6 in Reserve.

St. Charles continues to appear unstoppable on its very familiar trek to the championship. The Comets have posted back-to-back shutouts, blanking Newman 28-0 in the regular season finale and Ascension Episcopal 43-0 in last week’s regional playoff. St. Charles has outscored its opponents 407 to 99.

They’ve done it with a dominating defense, which held Ascension Episcopal to 169 yards last week, and a relentless ground game. Jeremiah Wills rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries last week as the Comets accumulated 292 yards on the ground. Skylar Edwards and Brady St. Pierre also ran for scores. 

Notre Dame is coming off a 49-7 playoff win over D’Arbonne Woods, the seventh straight game in which the Pioneers have scored 42 or more points. Their defense is nearly as stingy as St. Charles’, having held their opponents to 115 points.

When Riverside and St. Martin’s met earlier this season, the pre-game hype touted the matchup between Saints senior running back Harlem Berry, the No. 1-ranked running back in the nation, and the Rebels’ 5-foot-3 junior Dedric Lastie. It was Lastie who stole the show, rushing for 351 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in Riverside’s 55-14 win. Berry was held to 160 yards on 30 carries.

All eyes surely will be on those two again Friday when they try to outrun each other once more. Lastie finished the regular season as the fourth-leading rusher in the state with 1,868 yards and 31 touchdowns. Berry was eighth with 1,763 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Lastie rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns last week a in a 14-12 win over a very physical Catholic High – Pointe Coupee team. It was the Rebels’ lowest point total of the season.

St. Martin’s defeated Covenant Christian 40-2 in last week’s regional playoff game. Berry rushed 17 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.