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Minus key personnel St. Charles stuns Destrehan Wildcats 24-8

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  • Feature Story
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  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • September 09, 2017 - 1:06am

Photo by Sean McDonaldSt Charles quarterback Lloyd Nash (arm in sling) looks on after the Comets upset Destrehan 24-8 a week after Nash broke his clavicle.

How do you follow up getting career coaching win No. 250?

If you are St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica, you give the Comet fans a “special” win a week later.

Playing without its top offensive and defensive player, St. Charles Catholic turned to its special teams from the start for a 24-8 home win Friday night over River Parish foe Destrehan.

Deferring to the second half after winning the coin toss, St. Charles attempted an on-side kick. The ball rolled out of bounds, and along with an illegal touching penalty, Destrehan opened the game at the Comets’ 47-yard line.

“We were trying to grab a possession when we can. That was the big thing. We had to try and limit their possessions and try and get an extra one if we could but it didn’t work out,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said.

Staring a potential deficit in the face, the Comets’ defense came through and forced a three-and-out.

St. Charles (2-0) was pinned at its own 7-yard line following a punt and the opening on-side kick gambit seemed like it might backfire after the Comets were unable to move the football and looked to give the Wildcats excellent field position once more.

Destrehan return man Carl Lewis muffed the punt with Nicholas Lorio recovering for the Comets at the Destrehan 40. It was the first of three muffed punts the Wildcats would suffer in the game.

“We had a little trouble there but that’s not what cost us the game,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “What cost us the game is they outplayed us, they outcoached us in every phase of the game. They did a tremendous job. We knew we couldn’t make mistakes to allow them to control the ball the way they do. That’s how they win.”

The Wildcats (1-1) seemed to hold St. Charles to a field-goal attempt but instead of a 35-yard try by kicker Cameron Fabre, holder Justin Dumas tossed to Randall Campbell, who scored from 18 yards out. Fabre’s conversion made it 7-0 at the 7:14 mark of the first quarter.

“It’s a standard thing that we do. We go into every game with that. It’s not something to do just against Destrehan,” Monica said of the fake field goal.

Destrehan’s Kyle Edwards fumbled on the first play of the ensuing possession, giving the ball right back to St. Charles at the Wildcats’ 16.

Destrehan may be known as the “Wildcats,” but it was SCC’s Narquez Jones who was the wildcat Friday night. The running back, working out of the wildcat formation, took a direct snap 2 yards for a touchdown four plays after the turnover for a 14-0 Comets lead with 5:01 still remaining in the opening quarter.

Building an early lead and Jones’ success running the wildcat took pressure off of Sutton Bourgeois. A converted receiver, Bourgeois was making his first start at quarterback in place of Lloyd Nash, who suffered a broken clavicle in the Comets’ win last week over Chalmette.

“That was the plan,” Monica said. “We were down to one quarterback and we have to take care of him. I wasn’t going to give him any runs. I was just going to have him back there and hand the ball off and do a little throwing. He will get better. He helped us an awful lot. He had a crash course. It’s not easy to run our offense. He did a nice job and he competed.”

Another special teams mistake, this time a shanked 10-yard punt from deep in Wildcat territory, gave the Comets the ball at the Destrehan 18.

For plays later, Jones scored from 5 yards out from the wildcat formation and the Comets built a 21-0 lead.

Another muffed punt gave the Comets the ball at their own 46 late in the first half but St. Charles failed to add more points when Fabre missed a 25-yard field goal.

Fabre came through with a short field goal at the 7:34 mark of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 24-0.

The Wildcats avoided the shutout on a 5-yard touchdown pass from J.R. Blood to Quinton Torbor and a two-point conversion for the 24-8 final.

“It was a great program win. It was really good for our players to be shorthanded and to come away with a win against a prolific team like that gives our program a lot of credibility,” Monica said.

Playing without Dellary Oubre, the Comets’ top defender who is out with an injury, the St. Charles defense held Destrehan’s normally-potent offense to 161 total yards.

Destrehan junior running back John Emery was held to 68 yards rushing and the Wildcats’ passing game produced only 61 yards.

“We got around him and we tried to chop his feet a little bit and try and get some people to the ball. When that guy gets some space you know you are not going to catch him from behind. We tried to keep him in front of us and swarm to the ball,” Monica said of defending Emery.

St. Charles finished with 279 yards of total offense, 227 coming via the ground game. Jones ended with 178 yards rushing on 33 carries and two touchdowns.

“Their offensive line controlled our d-line and their d-line stuffed the run when they had to. It seemed like every time we started to get a little momentum, they made a play and you can’t do that. Obviously, it hurt us tonight,” Robicheaux said.

The loss was the first on the field for Destrehan in a regular-season game since a 47-44 defeat to rival Hahnville in the final contest of the 2012 season. The Wildcats had a forfeit loss to South Lafourche in 2013.

“That has nothing to do with what’s going on right now. To me, that doesn’t mean anything at all. All it means is that we are 1-1 right now and we lost a ball game. That’s what we have to focus on,” Robicheaux said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.