Comets Win Division III State Football Championship
Despite gutted houses and lost belongings, the community and school have risen above the deep waters left by Hurricane Ida.
Never was that more evident than Saturday afternoon when the third-seeded St. Charles Catholic football team upset four-time defending state champion Lafayette Christian 32-27 in the Division III state championship game at Yulman Stadium.
The Comets forced four turnovers and blocked three kicks, including a pair of punts and an extra point.
The biggest play in the kicking game turned out to decide the outcome.
With 2:26 to play in the game and forced into a punt situation, Lafayette Christian punter Sam Taylor could not handle a snap, the ball went into the end zone and Kyle Cannon recovered for the game-winning touchdown.
It was the first of many big plays for the Comets.
St. Charles Catholic took the opening kickoff and drove 51 plays in 14 plays, taking 6:17 off the clock with Carter Chauvin kicking a 37-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 5:43 to play in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Brock Dunn recovered a fumble and that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Ayden Authement to give the Comets an 11-0 lead with 4:15 to play in the opening quarter.
Cannon then interception a Jujuan Johnson pass and that set up a 22-yard field goal by Chauvin to give St. Charles Catholic a 14-0 lead with 2:44 to play in the opening quarter.
The Knights finally got on the board and it was the defense that got the job done as Brayden Ziegler recovered a fumble and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 10:15 to play in the first half.
The LCA offense then got it going, driving 46 yards in four plays with Johnson hitting Darian Riggs on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 14-14 with 7:38 to play in the first half.
The Comets captured the lead prior to halftime with a big play in the kicking game.
Kaiden Jones blocked a punt and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety to give St. Charles Catholic a 16-14 halftime lead.
The kicking game turned up big again for the Comets in the third quarter with yet another blocked punt which set up another score on a trick play.
Dillon Brown connected with Authement on the SCC version of the “Philly Special,” taking a handoff from Authement and then throwing it back to the Comets quarterback for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 23-14 with 9:21 to play in the third quarter.
The lead grew to 26-14 on a 30-yard field goal by Chauvin with 4:48 to play in the third quarter.
The Knights responded with consecutive long drives for touchdowns to take their first lead of the game.
First, LCA drove 69 yards in nine plays with Johnson hitting Kaden Charlie on a 2-yard touchdown pass to make it 26-20 with 1:13 to play in the third quarter but the extra point was blocked.
After getting a stop, the Knights, drove 81 yards in eight plays to take the lead on a 21-yard pass from Johnson to Cowinn Helaire and the extra point by Jackson Priest made it 27-26 LCA with 9:20 to play in the final quarter.
That set the stage for the botched punt which put St. Charles Catholic ahead to stay.
Redgrick Hackett intercepted a Johnson pass with 2:09 to play but the Knights got a stop and got one more chance, getting the ball back with 1:47 left at their own 17-yard line but four straight incomplete passes by Johnson gave it back to the Comets, who ran the clock out for the huge upset win.
Cannon was named the Most Outstanding Player for St. Charles Catholic while Johnson earned those honors for the Knights.
When the game was over, the two teams gathered together at the center of the field voluntarily with Lafayette Christian leader and pastor Jay Miller praying for both sides and, no doubt, for restoration to the LaPlace community in a generous gesture following a hard fought, superb football game.
( story and videos by Crescent City Sports.com)