When St. Charles Catholic dropped to 2-3 on the season following a 21-2 Week 5 loss to East Ascension, few observers might have figured on the Comets playing for a District 10-3A title.
After St. Charles’ loss to East Ascension, the Comets have won their last four games. With last week’s 14-12 win over De La Salle, SCC goes into Friday’s game at St. James 6-3 overall, 4-0 in district, and with an opportunity to capture the outright league title.
“Especially having to play the tougher opponents on the road that we were facing,” said SCC coach Frank Monica, whose team beat district foes Donaldsonville and De La Salle on the road. “We challenged our guys to see if they had a little more heart into their system and I think they’ve done that.
“We talk about being better in October and November better than we were in September.”
The Comets many have gone 2-3 through the first give games, but they may be better for it considering the non-district competition that included the likes of Destrehan, Country Day and East Ascension, according to Monica.
“The competition really helped prepare us for this,” the St. Charles coach said. “We see a lot of speed and size that we saw in our pre-district schedule and it certainly helped us prepare. We are not in awe of that. And, going on the road, I think we are used to doing that.”
Defeating St. James may be no easy task. The Wildcats, at 6-3 overall and 3-1 in district, can create a three-way tie for the league title with a win over St. Charles.
Directing the St. James offense is junior quarterback Shamar Smith.
“He’s a faster version of Johnny Manziel,” said Monica, comparing Smith to the former Heisman Trophy winner. “He has all the tools. He can throw it, so we are not fooled by that, but he will pull it down and he looks to run it and takes over games. The biggest thing he does is he extends plays. You have to maintain your coverage all the way through the entire play.”
Sean Lebeouf is a threat out of the backfield, not only as a runner but as a receiver and is special teams guy as well.
Smith has some young targets in Tyshone Williams, Shen Joseph and Shazz Preston.
“They are big-plays guys,” Monica said. “The team speed is something we can’t duplicate in our practice sessions. We have to tell our kids your angle of pursuit is a little bit different, a little bit deeper, and don’t let them get open. You have to play deeper than normal.”
The Wildcats feature tall, lean defensive ends Savion Jones and Chase Geason, both 6-foot-4.
“Together, those two bookends, you have to make sure those two guys don’t bat down passes and stuff like that,” said Monica.
Joining the duo on the defensive line is 6-foot-5 Craig James.
“I wouldn’t want to play them in basketball,” Monica quipped.
Top players on the second level for the Wildcats include linebackers Kaleb Brown and Lamon Lewis.
Among the top Wildcats in the secondary are ballhawk Brad Batiste, who had an interception return for a touchdown last week against Lusher, Tyler Steib and Tai’Rhys Smith.
There is more at stake in Friday’s game than just district bragging rights. The Comets currently sit at No. 3 in the unofficial Division III power ratings. A top three or four finish could garner SCC a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. In past years, some teams projected to be at the bottom of playoff bracket in terms of seeding have opted not play participate in the postseason.
“If a win, there’s an outside chance to move up one spot. If we lose, we could fall back down a little bit. When you get into district you don’t move very far because (the results) cancel out. We’re hoping to get a home game, and with a win, hopefully, a bye week,” said Monica.