Going against an imposing offensive line in terms of sheer physical size, St. Charles coach Frank Monica knows his team faces a tough challenge when the Comets take on De La Salle at 7 p.m. Friday at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium in New Orleans.
“We can’t let them get inside the chains on first and second downs,” Monica explained. “We’ve got to find a way to force them a pass here or there because that’s not what they want to do. Down and distance doesn’t matter to them. If they are within the chains, they are going to go for it.
“I think it’s important for us to stop them on first down. For us, an ‘efficient play’ is four yards. We can cannot let them get efficient yards.”
The Cavaliers are certainly capable of picking up four yards and then some.
Last year, it was done mostly with burly quarterback Julien Gums, who is now a freshman running back at Nicholls.
De La Salle primarily uses a pair of backs in running backs Kendall Collins and Montrell Johnson. The ball is mostly in the hands of Collins, who lines up in the backfield but takes a number of snaps from the wildcat formation.
“They both can go,” Monica said of the duo of Collins and Johnson. “We can’t duplicate that kind of speed in practice.
“The biggest thing is our team needs to tackle. We need to tackle and get them on the ground, especially on that turf.”
Stepping in at quarterback in place of Gums is sophomore Fisher Rojas.
“He hands the ball off. He’s their point guard. He throws a little but that’s not their thing. That’s not how they like to win games,” Monica said.
St. Charles goes into the game 5-3 overall and 3-0 in District 10-3A. The Comets hold the No. 3 power ranking in Division II. De La Salle is 5-2 overall and 3-0 in district play. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 9 in the Class 3A poll and hold the No 5 power ranking in Division II.
The Cavaliers are based mostly out of an even-man front on defense.
“On defense, they run an even scheme, a 4-3 and 4-2 scheme. In long-yardage situations they will get into an odd front,” Monica said.
Leading defensive front is 6-foot-1, 248-pound Theodore Tyler.
“He’s very good. You better block him. He comes inside a lot and he’s a very good pass rusher,” said Monica.
Others up front include 280-pound Nathan Penn, Logan Guerrera and Tristan LeWallen.
“We really have to use a mix on offense. They are so big up front, I don’t know if we can go and pound them. We have to be able to use a mix on offense to move it,” Monica explained.