Catholic’s comeback nets outright 5-5A title
DUTCHTOWN — The number two was a recurring theme for the two teams that played for the District 5-5A football title Friday night.
Catholic High and Dutchtown each had two 100-yard rushers. The teams also had two turnovers each.
By coming away with two fourth-quarter turnovers, Catholic managed to hold fifth-ranked Dutchtown scoreless in the second half en route to a 26-21 come-from-behind victory at Griffin Field.
“It was a phenomenal game,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “We were down 14-0 before you blink and to come back from that against a team like Dutchtown is something. I’m not surprised that our guys came back to make a game of it. Both teams really fought their hearts out, I thought.”
With the win, Catholic (7-2, 5-0) won the 5-5A title outright. Dutchtown (7-2, 4-1) took second with both teams expected to host a playoff games next week when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s 5A playoffs begin.
Khalil Thomas ran for a game-high 157 yards on 20 carries, including a 41-yard touchdown run for Catholic. Thomas, who cracked the 1,000-yard barrier on the season, also had a TD reception. Derrius Guice added 118 yards on 11 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 38-yard run with 9:48 remaining in the game. Bears quarterback Nick Coomes completed 7 of 11 passes for 89 yards and one TD.
An interception by R.J. Jefferson with 11:08 to go in the game and a fumble recovery by Euclid Michel at the 3:17 mark were also big plays.
Torrance Mosley ran for 117 yards on 15 carries and had two TDs for the Griffins, one of which came on a 61-yard run. Quarterback Mason Nickens ran for 114 yards on 13 carries and completed 12 of 18 passes for 110 yards for the Griffins.
Dutchtown drove into Catholic territory in the final minute. But an intentional grounding penalty on a play in which the Bears blitzed Nickens pushed the Griffins back, squelching momentum.
An emotional DHS coach Benny Saia initially questioned a couple of calls by officials, but softened his stance after reviewing film after the game.
“They (Catholic) made the plays when they had to and we made mistakes in the second half and they took advantage of them,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “They won the game and there were some close calls. Two of the fumbles were so close. I can’t honestly say we got shafted.”
There was no shortage of scoring or big plays in the first half as the Griffins took a 21-20 lead.
DHS appeared to score on its fourth scrimmage play on a 51-yard pass from Nickens to Shelby Christy. But the play was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty.
The Griffins punted. However, Catholic fumbled on its first scrimmage play at its own 16. Four plays later, Dutchtown took a 7-0 lead on a 7-yard TD run by Nickens and a point after kick by Tyler Sarrazin.
Dutchtown scored again on its next possession. Mosley bolted 61 yards up the middle to make it 14-0 with 4:55 left in the first quarter.
Catholic countered. First, the Bears scored on a 41-yard run by Thomas. Jack Gonsulin’s PAT made it 14-7 with 2:26 to go in the first period. Catholic used a 50-yard pass from Coomes to David Losavio to set up its next score. Guice’s 10-yard TD run with 10:19 left in the half helped tie the game.
Dutchtown also had an answer. Nickens’ 27-yard run set up a 4-yard TD run by Mosley that capped a 75-yard drive. DHSs led 21-14 at the 5:09 mark.
One good drive led to another. Catholic marched 80 yards in 12 plays. Guice had a 20-yard run. The Bears scored on a Tim Tebow-esque jump pass from Coomes to Thomas with 36 seconds remaining in the half. But a missed PAT left DHS with a 21-20 advantage.
No one scored in the third quarter. The Bears elected to put more players along the line in the box to slow the Griffins momentum.
It was a gamble because of DHS’ fleet receivers, including Christy, a Mississippi State commitment. The Griffins never cashed in.
Catholic’s go-ahead TD came on a 79-yard four-play drive that featured running plays, including runs of 17 and 24 yards by Thomas before Guice’s 38-yard game winner. Michel’s recovery of a Nickens fumble was one of the high-impact plays. Another play ended with Guice being ruled down after a fumble.
“We rolled the dice and it worked out good,” Weiner said.