Holy Cross cruises past LaGrange, 40-8

Advocate staff photo by DERICK HINGLECatholic defensive lineman Mathew Ydarraga and linebacker Patrick Van Duzee combine to sack  Mandeville quarterback Glen Cuiellette during the second quarter of Friday's playoff game at Mandeville. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by DERICK HINGLECatholic defensive lineman Mathew Ydarraga and linebacker Patrick Van Duzee combine to sack Mandeville quarterback Glen Cuiellette during the second quarter of Friday's playoff game at Mandeville.

“We have just gotten better as the season  has progressed. Early on and in the middle  of the year, we just made a lot of stupid mistakes. But I have a great staff, and they straightened all that out.” BARRY WILSON, Holy Cross coach

NEW ORLEANS — Holy Cross’ quarterback tandem continues to work in unison.

Senior James Tabary passed for 137 yards and one touchdown and junior Tucker Herzog rushed for two more scores as the Tigers cruised past LaGrange in the state Class 4A quarterfinals Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Holy Cross (10-2) will meet No. 2-seeded Karr next week in the semifinals. Karr will be the home team, but the game may be played at Tad Gormley instead of Behrman Stadium.

LaGrange ended its season at 10-3.

Junior Todd Spriggins led the Tigers’ rushing game with 78 yards on 21 carries, including two scoring rushes from 1 yard. The Tigers’ defense limited the Gators to 24 yards rushing in the first half and 84 yards passing — 82 of which came on two plays.

“We played extremely well tonight,” said Holy Cross coach Barry Wilson. “We were as tough as we could be on defense, and we made big plays on offense when we needed them.

“We have just gotten better as the season has progressed. Early on and in the middle of the year, we just made a lot of stupid mistakes. But I have a great staff, and they straightened all that out.”

Although Tabary was intercepted on the Tigers’ first series, the Gators fumbled the snap on the next play, and Jacob Mahoney recovered for Holy Cross at the LaGrange 33-yard line. Tabary’s 26-yard completion to Wardell Robinson led to a 2-yard scoring rush by Herzog and a 7-0 lead with 4:24 left in the first quarter.

LaGrange had its best scoring opportunity in the second quarter when quarterback Nick Pitre hurled a fluttering pass as he was hit. It landed in the hands of two Tigers, but was ripped from their grasp by the Gators’ Tyrell Wellmaker for a 48-yard gain to the Holy Cross 44-yard line. LaGrange reached the Tigers’ 9-yard line with fourth-and-inches, but was flagged for illegal procedure on consecutive plays. A fourth-down pass was deflected in the end zone.

With 46 seconds remaining in the half, Tabary hit Robinson from 17 yards for a 14-0 lead.

In the third quarter, Spriggins capped a short 47-yard drive with a 1-yard score, and a beautiful one-handed reception of 47 yards by Kevin Spears set up Herzog’s 10-yard score for a 27-0 lead entering the final quarter.

In the second half, Holy Cross’ Matthew Collet, Adrian Richardson and Ki-Jana Curtis each had interceptions. Spriggins had another 1-yard run and freshman Tre Turner rounded out the scoring with a 49-yard rush with 6:45 to play.

LaGrange averted a shutout on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Pitre to Robert Leday with 3:24 remaining. The same combo also connected on the two-point conversion.