Big second-half lifts Eagles by Wolverines
By GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — This one started to resemble Central Catholic’s week 2 matchup with White Castle rather quickly.
Twice, the Central Catholic Eagles moved into Northlake Christian territory early in Friday matchup. Twice they were denied points.
Meanwhile, Northlake Christian put up 14 points in a span of four minutes and had all the momentum.
But then, the Eagles got their act together, got themselves back in the game in the first half and then took control in the second for a 46-34 homecoming victory.
The win was the Eagles’ second straight as they improved to 2-2 with their second straight victory.
“I think each week we’ve taken some steps forward,” CCHS coach David Fuhrer said. “Guys were challenged because we knew Northlake Christian was going to be a tough team. … (We) obviously dug ourselves a whole but the kids fought out of it and (I’m) very proud of them for doing that.”
This year’s matchup between the Eagles and the Wolverines was somewhat similar to last year’s contest in Covington when the Eagles squandered a late lead to the Wolverines and suffered their first loss of 2011, 28-27.
The difference this year is that Northlake failed to keep the lead, and it happened much sooner.
Trailing 28-26 at halftime, CCHS put up a combined 18 points in the third and fourth quarters.
“It’s a game that we all know we should have got out of here with a victory, but I’ll give credit to Central Catholic,” Northlake Christian coach Anthony Agresta said. “They didn’t quit. … As the game went along, they really took some of their better athletes and they put ’em in space against some of our young defensive backs, and it made a difference. There’s no question about that.”
The Eagles took the lead for good at 32-28 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Landry to receiver Tyler Hoffpauir with 8:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Landry added a 21-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter on the Eagles next scoring drive, while running back Josh Protti concluded the scoring for CCHS, inching his way into the end zone from a yard out for a 46-28 CCHS advantage with 2:55 remaining.
Landry, making his third start at quarterback after CCHS quarterback Josh Singleton sat out the White Castle game, and upon his return, was moved to wide receiver, had another solid outing. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 241 yards and four scores while also rushing 19 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.
While Northlake moved the ball into CCHS territory three times in the second half, they could not punch the ball into the end zone, like they did with ease in the first half, until a little more than two minutes remained in the game when Northlake Christian quarterback Josh O’Rear connected with Matt Miller for a 29-yard touchdown pass to cut the CCHS lead to 46-34.
An unsuccessful onside kick attempt by Northlake Christian allowed CCHS to run out the clock.
The second half was quite a contrast to the first half as Northlake Christian jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead on touchdowns on its second and third drives of the game.
O’Rear got things started with a 59 yard scoring run on the first play of the Wolverine’s second drive for a 7-0 Northlake Christian lead with 6:10 remaining in the first quarter.
The Wolverines extended their lead to 14-0 nearly four minutes later when Taylor Mussachia capped a five-play, 19 yard drive with a four-yard touchdown. The score was set up after Stefon McElveen recovered a fumble by Central Catholic’s Dontrell Brown after Brown had hauled in a reception.
While Northlake Christian was busy scoring, its defense was solid initially as it stopped Central Catholic on two of its first three drives on fourth down after the home standing squad had moved into Wolverine territory.
However, Central Catholic began to find its offensive groove, and scored two touchdowns, one a trick play when Landry tossed a pass for no gain to Josh Singleton at the line of scrimmage, Singleton then connected with Lamar Grogan on a 53 yard touchdown pass.
Central Catholic knotted the score at 14 at the 5:44 mark of the second quarter when Landry connected with Dontrell Brown for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
Both teams traded touch-downs the remainder of the first half as Northlake quickly scored on a 73-yard O’Rear run for a 21-14 Northlake Christian advantage with 5:27 remaining.
“Their quarterback (is) very mobile and fast,” Fuhrer said. “Obviously you could see that the way he ran the ball on those big plays. … After that, I thought we did a pretty good job of containing him. It seemed like the defense stepped it up.”
CCHS countered with a Landry three-yard touchdown pass to Brown, but place kicker Matthew Barbier’s extra point attempt was no good, allowing Northlake Christian to retain the lead with 2:14 remaining.
O’Rear added another touchdown with 54 seconds remaining on a 29 yard pass to Dane Landry, while CCHS closed the first-half scoring with a Luke Landry 9-yard touchdown pass to Brown with 12 seconds left.
Brown, who has been working his way back from an injury in the St. Mary Parish Jamboree, is beginning to return to his old self. He had a huge game Friday leading the CCHS receivers with a mindboggling 13 receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns.
Protti led the CCHS ground game with 16 carries for 95 yards and a score.
In the win, CCHS rolled up 511 yards of total offense (217 rushing and 294 passing).
O’Rear led the Northlake Christian offense with 14 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns, while he completed eight of 17 passes for 130 yards, two touchdowns but threw one interception.
Dane Landry was Northlake’s top receiver with four receptions for 68 yards and a score.