Comets back in familiar spot — Div. III semifinals

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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LAPLACE – Depending on traffic, it only takes about 37 minutes to get from the small New Orleans suburb of LaPlace to the Caesars Superdome in the city. But the St. Charles Catholic Comets still have to get through 48 minutes of football to get there.

That’s the message Comets coach Wayne Stein is giving to his team and fans this week as they prepare to host No. 4 seed University High in the Division III Select semifinals Friday night at Thomas Dupuy Memorial Stadium. The Comets, the No. 1 seed in the bracket, certainly have been there before.

This is St. Charles Catholic’s 10th consecutive trip to a football semifinal. The Comets (12-0) have won that round the last four years and went on to win the final game the last two years in a row, three times in all. The team is currently on a 19-game win streak. That doesn’t mean the Comets aren’t thrilled to be following this familiar path, but they also expected to be right where they are.

“I think the semifinals is something you always get pumped up for,” said Comets coach Wayne Stein. “I don’t think it’s something we take for granted. If we get it done (this week) we get to go to the Dome. You never lose that feeling.”

To get here the Comets had to get past a familiar foe in Notre Dame of Crowley, the team St. Charles had beaten in the past three semifinals. St. Charles won 31-21.

This week St. Charles faces another foe it has seen before – University High, the team the Comets have scrimmaged against each August since 2012.

“There’s some familiarity, just not in official games,” Stein said. “There’s no mystique on either side. You’ve seen them, you played them, you had to tackle them. We haven’t changed much and neither have they.”

There certainly is no mystique about the Comets, who have won back-to-back state titles. They come to the game with a balanced offense that can go to several weapons and a defense that gives the offense a short field to work with most of the time. Last week the Comets held Notre Dame to 69 yards rushing and a total of 185 yards.

Running back Jeremiah Wills ran 18 times for 137 yards and quarterback Brady St. Pierre completed 8 of 13 passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns. Kaden Foster returned a punt 48 yards for another score.

University High defeated No. 21 Lake Charles Prep, 45-13, last week, giving the Cubs a 10-game win streak. Quarterback Emile Picarella passed for 228 yards and three touchdowns, two to Seth Gale and one to Granville Anderson. Riley Small rushed for another 124 yards and a touchdown. Gale also had an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“We know we’ll have to defend every blade of grass,” Stein said.