Catholic High wasted little time quelling doubts that the Bears would field a positive response to last week’s loss at Rummel.
Behind Nick Coomes’ four first-half touchdown passes, Catholic celebrated homecoming in style as it rolled to a 30-6 win over Salmen High at Olympia Stadium.
Coomes completed 6 of 9 passes for 148 yards and had touchdown throws of 12, 50, 30 and 36 yards as 10th-ranked Catholic of District 5-5A improved to 4-1.
“I loved our guys’ body language this week,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “We got after it. We made them work (in practice), and they responded.”
Salmen (0-5), which opens play next week in District 7-4A, struggled to find an offensive rhythm until a late scoring drive. The Spartans finished 126 yards.
Johnny Lowery led Salmen with 49 rushing yards and scored the Spartans’ lone touchdown on an 11-yard run with 3:13 left.
“We’re young in key spots, especially on offense,” Salmen coach Jerry Leonard said. “We go into district next week, and I know one thing: In our first five ballgames, I don’t think anybody has been more battle-tested than us.”
The Spartans were sternly tested in the second quarter as Catholic‘s passing game heated up.
“The main thing is we made the plays that were there,” Weiner said. “We didn’t have to make the spectacular plays — just make the plays that were there.”
Coomes and Clyde Edwards-Helaire hooked up for a 50-yard catch-and-run. Then Coomes hit Danny Cameron and Landon Flowers in stride on scoring plays of 30 and 36 yards.
“He made some great reads and put the ball right on the money,” Weiner said of Coomes, who sat out the second half. “That’s what we’re capable of, but we hadn’t seen it to this point. We were determined to start throwing the ball around a little more.”
Catholic dominated first-half play as it collected 231 yards of offense. Edwards-Helaire complemented Coomes’ passing with 63 yards on the ground. Salmen managed 45 yards and two first downs.
Catholic got started with Coomes’ 12-yard pass to Connor Whalen staking it to a 7-0 lead midway through the first. It was a harbinger of touchdowns to come in the second.
The lead grew to 14-0 in the second as Edwards-Helaire turned a short screen pass into a 50-yard TD. Edwards-Helaire made a nifty catch at his feet and sprinted up the middle of the Spartans defense.
On the next series, Chris Dyess’ 23-yard punt return put Catholic in business at the SHS 34. Coomes found Danny Cameron wide open on second down for a 30-yard score.
Salmen’s Johnny Lowery returned the kickoff to the SHS 35 but fumbled the ball away, giving the Bears prime field position. The Spartans defense held, and Jack Gonsoulin’s 31-yard field goal made it 24-0 with 3:36 left in the half.
Salmen couldn’t move the ball, and Catholic’s Javahn Ferguson partially blocked Joey McLeod’s punt on the ensuing possession. Catholic took over at the SHS 37, and Coomes connected with an uncovered Landon Flowers for a 35-yard TD on second down.
The score pushed Catholic’s lead to 30-0 at halftime.