When sophomore quarterback Brad Stoma went 0-for-8 in a first-round playoff game, Notre Dame-Crowley High coach Lewis Cook had some good news for him.
“I told him, ‘Brad we didn’t catch any, but the other team didn’t either.’ ” Cook said.
The other vital good news for Stoma was the Pioneers won that contest against Patterson.
The regional round proved to be a totally different experience for the sophomore. Stoma completed 12 of 15 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in the Pioneers’ 27-7 victory over defending Class 3A champion St. Charles Catholic.
“Brad had some trouble with things like his footwork and getting (visually) locked in on receivers, but he has gotten better and he hasn’t tried to do too much with the ball,” Cook said.
The Notre Dame running game has helped take some heat off Stoma, too. Fullback Austin Thibodeaux returned after missing a few weeks because of a sprained knee. He gained 91 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns.
The Pioneers (10-1) will host Iowa (10-2) Friday in the quarterfinals. The District 4-3A rivals tangled in Week 7, with the Pioneers notching a 28-13 win.
“Defensively, we gave up a couple of big plays the first time, including an 80-yard run,” Cook said. “Hopefully, we can eliminate that. We need to get a body on a body (offensively). They are big inside on defense and athletic. It gets tougher as you go. Teams that can create big plays and stay away from giving them up move on.”
Teurlings Catholic High School’s J.T. Hebert has displayed an ability to be productive on both sides of the ball for the Rebels (11-1), who are awaiting a trip to New Orleans to face McDonogh 35 (7-5) in the Class 4A quarterfinals
Hebert, a defensive end, chipped in as a receiving threat when he hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Conner Cronin in a win over Bastrop on Friday.
“We have a jumbo package, and J.T. was the tight end on the backside,” Teurlings coach Sonny Charpentier said. “J.T. was an offensive player growing up. We have guys who can do a little of this and a little of that.”
Westminster Christian (10-2) has reached the quarterfinals four times during the past eight years. The Crusaders are hoping to break that barrier when they host Haynesville in a Class 1A quarterfinal Friday.
The quest to reach the semifinals might rest on the WCA running game. Westminster totaled 362 rushing yards last week in a win over Block.
Haynesville running back Tyus Early had 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Tors’ win over Oberlin.
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