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Practice conditions, Owls’ Wing-T test St. Charles Catholic’s resolve

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  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 30, 2017 - 1:07pm

File photosSt. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica and his Comets face a unique challenge in taking on the Chalmette Owls' Wing-T offense on Friday night in Chalmette.

St. Charles Catholic faces a challenge of not only opening the season on the road at Chalmette but also facing an Owls team that features a Wing-T offense.

“We have to make some adjustments because we are playing a Wing-T team,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said. “It’s hard to duplicate that in practice. What makes matters worse is we can’t get outside on the grass and practice. It’s just film work and walk-throughs but you don’t get a chance to see a fastball. That concerns us because they are able to get out and practice because the game will be on turf.”

The Comets, ranked No. 3 in the initial Class 3A poll, have not been able to get out on the practice field because of all the rain associated with the remnant of Hurricane Harvey.

“We have no options here at our school. Our gym is being reconstructed right now. There is construction going on so we nowhere to go to practice, so that’s a big, big deal. We are walking through in the parking lot. This is the big ‘Parking Lot’ week. That’s all we can do,” said Monica.

With the game being on the road, the Comets get to spare their grass surface field of wear and tear. Also, the Chalmette stadium features artificial turf, so field conditions shouldn’t be a big a factor as on a natural surface.

“I’m not worried about tearing up the nice field. The biggest thing is practice; to be able to get your reps in practice so you have execution on game night. One thing that really concerns us is that going out there and not being able to execute and good ball security,” Monica said.

Owls quarterback Jason Roper is coming off a jamboree performance against Belle Chasse in which he passed for 161 yards while also rushing for a touchdown.

“He’s very athletic,” Monica said of Roper. “He can run. He runs the ball real well off the Wing-T with the speed motion. That’s why they are running some one-back stuff but they also have a couple of good running backs who are hard to knock down.”

The wingbacks include Michaund Blaise and Brendan Hoorman.

“The guy that really concerns us is the hard-nosed fullback that goes north and south,” said Monica, referring to Ralph Griffin.

The big receiving threat is Gabriel Ernest.

“He (Roper) also has a receiver he play-fakes to and throws the ball deep over the top when he gets you running to the line of scrimmage a little bit. They get the ball to the perimeter real easy and then when they get that going, they will go north and south. They are real good with their offense horizontally and vertically. They do a nice job of stretching you and hitting you deep,” Monica said.

The Owls, 7-4 a year ago, are a 4-2-5 team on defense.

“They like to run their linebackers through. They don’t mind blitzing. They will do that to try and plug every gap that they possibly can,” explained Monica.

Plugging the middle on defense are tackles Jason Little and Troy Leban, both at 265 pounds.

The St. Charles coach referred to Darrell Williams as the Owls’ top defensive player.

“He’s very physical. He’s an outside linebacker/strong safety.  He will take up different positions,” Monica said.

The top player in the secondary, Monica said, is cornerback Roshyad Honeycutt.

While the artificial turf field may not be muddy Friday night, it could be wet, so turnovers could be an even more important factor in the game’s outcome than usual, according to Monica.

“I think the team that takes care of the football will win. Hopefully, we can force the issue a little bit and we can take care of the ball with proper ball security. Their kicker is very good. We hope to play the field-position game with them but their kicker is very good and he can keep you in a bind,” the Comets 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.