- Game Recap
- RPF Staff
- November 21, 2014 - 4:53pm
By Chris Landry
LOREAUVILLE, La. - Sophomore quarterback Lowell Narcisse understandably got a lot of attention after throwing for 387 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 86 yards and three additional scores Friday night in a 46-8 win over Loreauville in a Class 2A regional playoff game at Loreauville’s Tiger Stadium.
St. James coach Dwain Jenkins was quick to note that his overlooked defense continued to play well in holding Loreauville to under 250 yards and one touchdown.
“That was the thing,” Jenkins said following the win that set up a home quarterfinal game against No. 1 seed Many over the Thanksgiving break. “Our defense gets overlooked a lot of times but really during the back half of the season we’ve been playing really well. A lot of those scores that we’ve been giving up have been because of special teams and offense. If our defense can continue to get that kind of play, especially in our secondary, and we get that push that we get up front, we think that we’ve got a chance to make a good run.”
No. 9 seed St. James improved to 8-4 while eighth-seeded Loreauville finishes the season 7-5.
Narcisse had to make do for the second-straight week without top receiver Dontaz Costly, who had 1,008 yards and 15 touchdown catches in the regular season. Narcisse spread the ball around to eight different receivers, with Aquindas Steib also completing a four-yard pass to another receiver to bring the Wildcats’ passing total to 391 yards. St. James rushed for 177 yards to amass 568 total yards.
“We had a key receiver out so we just challenged the other guys to step up and make plays, and that's what they did,” Narcisse said.
The Wildcats’ 6-foot-3 standout made things happen with his throwing arm and his legs, either keeping plays alive long enough for receivers to get open or scrambling for positive yards.
“A lot of people label (Narcisse) as an athlete, but tonight you got to see him throw the ball and you can see that he really is a quarterback that’s just a great athlete playing quarterback,” Jenkins said. “When we need him to run the ball, he runs the ball. If we need him to throw it, he throws it. He’s only a sophomore. Tonight was his 25th start, so the sky’s the limit.”
Jenkins said he hopes the additional week’s rest will help Costly get healthy and return in time for Many as another weapon for the offense.
Narcisse was back in a walking boot following the game after injuring it a couple of weeks earlier. He showed few signs of trouble against Loreauville, completing 24 of 41 pass attempts. He opened the scoring for the Wildcats with a five-yard run to cap a 65-yard drive, and added a 13-yard touchdown run on the next St. James possession to make it 14-0 after one quarter. The first touchdown came after the defense stopped Loreauville’s opening drive on a fourth-down play from the St. James 33.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 22-0 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from the sophomore lefty to Aaron McKenney, who finished the night with six receptions for 109 yards.
“I think it was just kind of getting off to a fast start,” Narcisse said of the key to the win. “We knew coming into this game we were facing a quality team, so I think we had to come out and do everything perfect, and I think that we kind of did.”
Loreauville got its only points on the ensuing drive when Mikal Pierre took a screen pass from quarterback Jared Henry, followed two good blocks on the outside and raced up the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown play. Henry finished the night 11 of 18 passing for 128 yards and led the Tigers with 47 yards on the ground.
St. James drove 77 yards in nine plays to answer that touchdown, with Narcisse completing 4 of 6 passes for 58 yards and rushing two times for 18 yards in the series, including a 7-yard touchdown to end the drive and give the Wildcats a 30-8 lead at halftime.
“He’s been battling a foot injury the last four weeks, but he said, ‘Coach, if we’ve got to throw for 400 to win, that’s what I'm going to do,’” Jenkins said. “He's a man of his word.”
St. James converted a fumble into points early in the third quarter when Narcisse hit Rashaun Weber for 24 yards and a touchdown with 9:44 left in the period. Weber, who eluded two tacklers around the 20, had three catches for 70 yards.
The Wildcats closed out the scoring on their next drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Curtlan Johnson at the 1:14 mark of the third period.
Up next is top-seeded Many, which beat Lake Arthur 41-6 on Friday.
“We need to come out every week and get better,” Narcisse said. “We have to focus on the little things and that will make a big difference in the game.”
“All we can do is enjoy this one,” Jenkins said. “I'd much rather have Many in new Wildcat Stadium than us having to make that trip up there.”