LAFAYETTE — With his favorite piece of the passing puzzle missing, Teurlings Catholic quarterback Conner Cronin found other effective weapons Friday night to attack the Calvary Baptist defense.
Cronin completed 22 of 27 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns as Teurlings defeated Calvary 52-28 at Rebels’ Stadium.
Both teams entered the game with 3-0 records and were ranked No. 2 in their respective classes.
While TCHS receiver Phillip Vidrine was on crutches, Cronin turned to Zach Lafleur, Blair Lormand and Jimmie McBride for most of the completions.
“Our go-to receiver wasn’t there, so we looked this week for other guys who were going to make some plays. We wanted everybody to get out there and make some plays and we moved some people around,” Cronin said.
It was a big win for Cronin and the Rebels.
“Calvary is a top-100 ranked team in the nation, so to win this game really means a lot for the program here (at Teurlings),” Cronin said.
The Rebels (4-0) trailed Calvary (3-1) 21-17 halftime before the Rebels outscored the Cavaliers 28-7 in the third quarter to take command.
TCHS coach Sonny Charpentier said by deferring after winning the coin toss at the start, the Rebels had a chance to get early momentum in the third quarter.
“We took the ball down on that first drive of the second half and we scored to take the lead (24-21), and then we block a field-goal attempt and return it for a touchdown (59 yards by Brennan Stelly) to go up by 10 points,” Charpentier said. “That was really a big momentum swing in the game, and I think we started taking control there.”
Calvary quarterback Daniel Fitzwater passed for 404 yards, but the Rebels’ blitz was effective in the second half and harassed Fitzwater.
“I think that Teurlings is one of the best coached football teams in the state and I thought their guys wanted it more than our guys did,” Calvary coach John Bachman said. “Every (coach) in the yellow shirt and everyone in a white shirt (the players) bears responsibility for this loss.
“It has to be a defining moment for our team at this point. It will either be some finger-pointing by our guys or they will become young men.”
The Cavaliers got 161 rushing yards from sophomore running back Shun Brown. Some fans were still making the climb up the stadium steps when Brown returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to give the Cavaliers a quick lead.
Teurlings scored its first TD two possessions later when the Rebels used Cronin’s arm to travel 83 yards in eight plays.
Cronin connected on all five passes during the drive, with a pair of completions to Lafleur. Brennan Stelly caught the touchdown pass, however, when he cradled a 22-yard reception from Cronin with 5:18 left in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers responded with an 80-yard drive.
Fitzwater capped the drive when he found Steelhammer on a 4-yard TD completion at the 1:08 mark.
In the second quarter, TCHS’ Jacob Cunningham kicked a 35-yard field goal to cut the Calvary lead to 14-10.
The Rebels scored their final first-half touchdown after the Rebels’ JT Hebert blocked a punt. Teurlings went 74 yards after that, aided by four straight Cronin completions.
After an 11-yard completion to McBride, Cronin threw to sophomore Sage LeBlanc for the final score of the half with 2:43 left.
After taking the 31-21 lead in the third period, the Rebels scored on their other two third quarter possessions.
Lormand scored on a 2-yard run (3:29) and Lormand caught a 15-yard throw from Cronine with 26 seconds remaining for the final third period TD.