You know they say time flies when you are having fun, and without question I’m having some good times covering prep football. It’s therapeutic to me! I love the bands playing in the background, seeing all the fans really getting into each game, and those old air horns certainly remind me of what sport I am covering. Yes folks, I got to be honest with you…if it were not for Friday Nights I don’t know what I would do. This week offers another schedule of some outstanding match-ups across the state and of course down here in South Louisiana.
The game I selected for our All State Sugar Bowl Prep Football Round Up broadcast takes place in LaPlace, where the defending Class 3A state champs reside. The St. Charles Catholic Comets are back to their old winning ways again after a slow start to the season.
After a 0-2 start to the 2012 prep season the Comets have been on a roll. Now, longtime coach (and yes, I’ll call him what he will never take credit for, the legendary) Frank Monica and his Comets get an interesting test this week with a very talented Port Allen Team coming to Laplace.
“I want to tell you they are a very good team. They have a lot of talent and we have to be ready to play four quarters,” Monica said. “Port Allen has one of the top players in the state on their squad in the multi-talented Darian Claiborne.”
Claiborne has verbally committed to play college football for the Texas A&M Aggies. You want to know how tough Darian is? He is listed to play linebacker for A&M. He is the starting QB for the Pelicans.
But Port Allen is no one-man show. RB Justin Kelly is one of the area’s leading rushers with 715 yards and 12 TD’s to his credit, while WR Caleb Johnson is a big playmaker averaging 23.3 yards per reception.
Port Allen enters the game with a 4-1 mark fresh off a 28-6 win over the St. James Wildcats. Port Allen is averaging 36 points scored per game this season, with their lone loss a 50-45 setback to White Castle.
Now Port Allen will get a measuring stick game to see where their program is. A win over the Comets would signify that the Pelicans are a legitimate threat in Class 3A. St. Charles looks up to the challenge.
The Comets have been rolling since back-to-back opening season losses to Vanderbilt Catholic and Northshore. In their last three games St. Charles has scored a total of 154 points, an average of 51.2 points scored per game during that span. And, of course, all three were wins as they improved to 3-2 overall.
What’s even more impressive is that the Comets have allowed just 12 points during that stretch, and if you put pencil to paper on that one, it figures out that the Comets margin of victory has been a whopping 47.3 points.
But the real story here is the way the community has been able to deal with Hurricane Isaac. I can remember doing storm coverage back in late August and early September, and for those of you out there that think that we somehow got off easy with Isaac, think again!
Laplace was one of the hardest-hit areas during Isaac, resulting in major flooding in many area neighborhoods. “We have kids living all over the place. I’m staying upstairs,” said Coach Frank Monica. Upstairs is above the Comets Field in the football facility.
But don’t expect anyone from Monica’s bunch feeling sorry for themselves. Frank Monica will do what he has been doing for years, and that is to turn this situation into a valuable life lesson.
Monica is a person that any parent would be grateful to have tutor, teach or coach their child. People like Frank Monica are why high school football is still, and always will be, king of football. You can have all the talent in the world and get all the attention from the colleges and universities, but if you have the right coach in place, the lessons learned are all far more valuable than any scholarship or contract.
If it sounds like I love Frank Monica, well I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. Coach Monica stands for everything that is right. When his players and students leave after being around him for four years, they are better people. Hell, I feel like I am a better person after talking to him.
So join me Friday Night as I broadcast from the place that I think has a great teacher, coach and person!
The district races are heating up, so let’s take a look at some of the other match-ups our great reporters will be covering.
Fountainebleau @ Holy Cross – The Tigers are coming off their best win in years with a big 30-21 upset of the St. Aug Purple Knights. Last season the Tigers’ best win came against the previously unbeaten Bulldogs. Coach Barry Wilson and his Tigers have only lost two games, to Jesuit and Rummel. With their win over the Purple Knights the Tigers are in very good shape to stay in contention for the district 9-4A Title. However, Coach Wilson and his Tigers will be expecting a solid effort from a Bulldogs team that Holy Cross defeated in 2011.
Ponchatoula @ Mandeville – The Green Wave are coming off their first district 7-5A loss of the season, while the Skippers got back into the district race with a 24-10 win over Mandeville. If either of these two want to stay in the title hunt they will need to win this one! Ponchatoula is coming off a 21-6 setback to Covington last week. The Wave had a chance to keep the pressure on the other teams in the district, as far as keeping pace with St. Paul’s in concerned. But not fretting here as Coach Hank Tierney will try and get his Wave to test the Skippers this week in what looks to be a pretty good match-up.
Slidell @ St. Paul’s – The Wolves are still the class of 7-5A, and the now question is can Coach Ken Sears and his Wolves go through league play unscathed once again. The Wolves fell last week to Salmen but they are still alone atop of the district with a 2-0 mark. Slidell is coming off a tough loss last week to Mandeville. The Tigers are 1-2 in league play and can ill afford to suffer another loss and remain in the title hunt.
Belle Chase @ Edna Karr – Can the Karr defense continue to dominate? The Cougars have had some awesome defensive units in the past, but the 2012 version is making their claim as one of the best! The Cougars defense has allowed 27 points this season, and that is an average of a meager 5.4 points per game. Karr has posted two shutout wins, and their defense is legit from the line, to the backers and the DB’s. “We take pride in playing good defense. The players know that there have been some really good defensive units and this group is playing well right now,” Karr Coach Jabbar Juluke told me after Karr’s 26-7 win over Helan Cox. Belle Chase has lost three straight games after starting the season with a 2-0 mark. The Cardinals played Karr well last season, but they will need their best effort of the season to hang in there with these Cougars.