PAHS’ Blanchard concerned with Pelicans’ turnovers
We know one thing St. Charles does better than probably anybody in the state of Louisiana is they don’t beat themselves.” Guy Blanchard, Port Allen coach
The Port Allen football team has gotten off to a 4-1 start and is averaging 36 points per game.
But as the Pelicans hit the road to face famously disciplined St. Charles Catholic, coach Guy Blanchard has grown increasingly concerned with his team’s penchant for committing turnovers.
Port Allen has lost 14 fumbles to go with quarterback Darian Claiborne’s five interceptions.
The Pelicans are minus-13 in turnover differential.
“That’s not a recipe for success,” Blanchard said. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”
For the Pelicans to challenge St. Charles in the second week of the District 7-3A schedule, Blanchard knows they can’t afford to give their opponent any free possessions.
He has seen enough of the Comets to know they probably wouldn’t return the favor.
“We know one thing St. Charles does better than probably anybody in the state of Louisiana is they don’t beat themselves,” Blanchard said. “We can’t beat ourselves.”
St. Charles enters Friday ranked fifth in the 3A poll after going 15-0 and winning the school’s first state title last year.
The Comets looked like their old selves in a 50-6 rout of Donaldsonville to start 7-3A play, their third straight win on the heels of a disappointing 0-2 start.
But St. Charles coach Frank Monica said “the DNA” of this year’s squad remains unknown.
The Comets lost 19 starters and 22 seniors from the team that blew through the 7-3A schedule last year.
Erron Lewis (43 carries, 399 yards, seven TDs) and Austin Weber (39 carries, 354 yards, eight touchdowns) lead a corps of running backs who entered the year with very little experience.
“We have gotten our swagger back a little bit,” Monica said.
But Port Allen’s one-two punch of Claiborne behind center and Jestin Kelly at running back should test a St. Charles defense that has allowed only 12 points in the three straight wins.
Claiborne, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, has thrown for 697 yards and rushed for 340 more. Kelly, 5-101/2 , 230 pounds, ranks among the area’s rushing leaders with 715 yards and 12 scores on 99 carries.
Both players also play linebacker.
“They’re a scary combination,” Monica said. “We just don’t match up well with their size.”
Blanchard said finding ways to put Claiborne and Kelly in position to make plays will be a key in Friday’s game. Making sure to avoid turnovers will be another.
“If we can come into this game and eliminate the turnovers, it’s going to be one heck of a ballgame,” he said.