In a loose translation, a school's homecoming generally means a reunion of sorts for alumni. But for St. Charles, it was senior running back Narquez Jones' return to the playing field that made the biggest splash for the Comets in a 35-12 homecoming win over Donaldsonville.
Seeing his first action since injuring his knee September 15 against Wilkinson, Mississippi, Jones rushed for 76 yards on 10 carries and added two touchdowns along the way.
“It was a big left to this team that Narquez Jones came back with a knee brace and he gave us a little spark and played well for us,” said St. Charles coach Frank Monica. “He was scheduled to have surgery but he wanted to play and he's going to have the surgery at the end of the year.”
Jones was part of a ball-control St. Charles offense that rushed for just under 200 yards. Joe Chiarella added a pair of touchdowns on runs of 2 and 12 yards in the first half, and Noah Bark added a 1-yard touchdown as the Comets built a 28-6 halftime lead.
Jones added a 6-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and the Comets never looked back.
The win improves St. Charles to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in district play. Donaldsonville, losers of two straight after starting the year 5-0, falls to 5-2 overall and 0-2 in district action.
“It was big because that was a dangerous football team,” said Monica. “They had size and we didn't matchup well with them so credit to (our) offensive line and we were able to control the ball in the first half and we were able to move it, especially after the opening kickoff, we went about 85 yards for the first touchdown. That kind of set the tempo there.
“They moved the ball on our defense and I thought our defense was sluggish. We weren't the same. We normally play fast on our feet move around and tackle better. We were a little bit sluggish tonight. But the bottom line was that it was a big big “W” against a real real good opponent. But we all know, and the kids saw that too, that there's another level that we have to take our game to finish the season out.”
One player who didn't show up in the post-game stat leaders and didn't score a touchdown, but was a major factor on offense, special teams, and defense was senior Trey Joseph. Running out of the “Wildcat”, Joseph was instrumental in the Comets opening drive. On Donaldsonville's opening drive, he was there for a stop on a Tigers botched punt. He promptly picked up another big gain on offense setting up Chiarella's first touchdown.
“We used him a lot tonight for the Wildcat,” said Monica. “He's our fastest guy on our team. We've worked him the last couple of weeks at the Wildcat especially since Jones had gone down so he gives us a little speed in the backfield. He's also our cornerback and a kickoff return guy so he means a lot to our football team. He gives us a little lift right there when we need a little shot in the arm and the little burst he gives us a change of pace. With Narquez, Phillip Tran (who had 55 yards rushing on 7 carries) and Chiarella, (Joseph) gives a change of pace because he's quicker. That helped us a ton especially early in the game. It allowed us to get some distance and made them one dimensional. They couldn't use the run and the pass. The halftime lead was huge.”
One stat that can't go overlooked was the insane amount of penalties that were called on both team. A combined 19 penalties for 180 yards were called in the first half alone. For the game an overly-excessive combined 32 penalties for 315 yards were called. Donaldsonville was penalized 19 times (three on one play) for 178 yards. St. Charles was flagged 13 times for 137 yards.
“We got to clean us some things that we did wrong,” said a politically correct Monica. “Good football teams don't have that many penalties, so we got to clean up our end of it. Some things you can't control but the things that I can control with my team, we got to clean that up.”
One of the only people that didn't receive a penalty on this night was the St. Charles Homecoming Queen, Jade Brady. The Lady Comets star softball pitcher simply received a crown, a bouquet of flowers, and a warm applause from the crowd.