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Monica looking for more of Comets’ ‘A’ game against Cajuns

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  • Feature Story
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  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • September 19, 2017 - 6:32pm

Photo by Sean McDonaldDefenders such as Eli Ory (50, Rodney Blanks (49) and Jordan Jensen (34) led St. Charles Catholic to a 20-0 shut out over Wilkinson Country.


Sometimes after a bad performance, coaches would rather not look at the game film.

It doesn’t happen quite as often when a team has a “bad” performance in a 20-0 win. If there is any coach that fits the category, it would be St. Charles Catholic’s Frank Monica.

“I wish I hadn’t looked at the film,” said Monica, despite the fact his team is coming off a 20-0 road win over Wilkinson Country and is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A. “It’s kind of like watching Halloween II or some horror movie. It’s exactly what we expected. We were not into the game at all.

“We certainly didn’t bring our so-called ‘A’ game. Had it been a biology exam, I don’t know if we would have passed.”

The Comets have passed all tests to the tune of a 3-0 and seek to remain unbeaten when they host Country Day (2-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.

The teams met a year ago as district foes and the Comets used classic St. Charles football to post a 33-0 win. The Comets controlled the ball for 31:58.

The Comets and Cajuns have a familiarity beyond just playing each other in the recent past. Third-year Country Day coach Joe Chango served as an assistant at St. Charles under Monica from 2000-2001.

Justin Ibieta takes over at quarterback for Country Day, replacing graduated Christian Kerut.

“He’s a really, really good thrower,” Monica said of Ibieta. “He handles the ball well. He gets it out of his hand. They are a hard team to sack because he’s throws on time. Everything they do is on time. You just have to be in position (on defense).”

Returning for Country Day is receiver Price Petagna, who also plays defensive back.

“He’s a hard-nosed guy. He has good hands. They use him in a variety of ways,” Monica said.

Another hard-nosed guy is 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end Ross Talbot. Also an inside linebacker, Talbot is a transfer from Jesuit.

“He mauls people. He plays with a high, high motor and its always running,” Monica said of Talbot.

A backfield option is running back Buckner Heebe.

“He’s a real downhill guy. The most important thing is getting him on the ground. They use the run game to set up their pass of play-action,” said Monica.

Defensively, the Cajuns employ various fronts and secondary coverages, according to Monica.

“They are based out of an odd front but they have played some even front because they have seen some spread teams. They play all the coverages. They play cover-2, cover-3 and cover-4. They will play all the coverages,” Monica said.

A key player up front, Monica said, is defensive end Cody Campbell. Nicky Corchiani joins Talbot at linebacker while Petagna is aided in the secondary by the likes of Kaleb Jenkins and Carter Brown.

“Our best formula is if we can move the ball on the ground and throw our short passing game and stuff like that. That’s our best formula with our screen packages. I’m hoping we can improve in that area because we really are not in sync offensively. We need to do a better job of stretching the field,” Monica said of attacking the Cajuns’ defense.

The quest for a 4-0 start, Monica said, would be made easier by kick-starting the offense, now led by quarterbacks Sutton Bourgeois and Justin Dumas.

“We need to try and create some explosive plays. I say that, but we have young quarterbacks that we are trying to break in, but they are very capable of being good quarterbacks in the future. Right now,  they are getting a crash course in football,” the St. Charles coach 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.