VC comes back to defeat CCHS 44-31
By GEOFF STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — Prior to Central Catholic’s matchup with Vermilion Catholic, Central Catholic head coach David Fuhrer said his squad needed to play well to have a chance to compete with Vermilion Catholic.
After Thursday’s 44-31 loss to Vermilion Catholic, Fuhrer agreed with the assessment that he probably got as much as he could out of his team — except a win.
Sure, the Eagles had their miscues, but unlike the previous two years in the Vermilion Catholic-Central Catholic matchup, when it came to crunch time late in the contest, the Eagles still were in reach of a victory.
But unfortunately like so many times this season, the Eagles (0-5) could not complete the feat.
“I’m pleased with the effort they gave,” Fuhrer said. “(That was a) very good Vermilion Catholic football team. We played hard and that’s what I asked of them. … I thought the coaches did a good job putting together a game plan and for the most part we executed it. I think later in the game we got a little worn down but the kids still … fought back. I think they left it out on the field.”
In Thursday’s loss, the Eagles jumped out to as much as a 17-7 first-half lead and led 17-10 at the half.
In the second half, Vermilion Catholic stifled Central Catholic receiver Tyler Hoffpauir, while in the third quarter, they kept the Eagles’ offense from threating to counter Vermilion Catholic’s 20-0 scoring outburst.
Hoffpauir, who finished the game with nine catches for 107 yards, was limited to one catch for six yards in the second half.
While Vermilion Catholic had a 30-17 lead after three quarters and looked prime to blow the game open, Central Catholic didn’t go away and kept the game competitive.
“I don’t ever expect them to go away,” Vermilion Catholic coach Russel Kuhns said. “They’re a good football team. They’re always going to be a good football team and this is a rival and you (can) throw the records out the window in a rival game. It don’t matter … at any level. Rival games, it doesn’t matter if somebody’s 0-10 or 10-0. You could get beat.”
After netting minus two yards at the end of the third quarter on its first two plays of an offensive series, Central Catholic responded with two big plays — a 29-yard completion from quarterback Nicholas Case to Stefano Guarisco and a 20-yard run from Eriq Blanchard to quickly move the football from the Central Catholic 27 yard line to the Vermilion Catholic 26.
A few plays later, on second and goal from the Vermilion Catholic 2-yard line, Case finished the drive with a quarterback sneak to cut the Central Catholic deficit to 30-24. Times of all scores were not available as time was kept on the field due to an inoperable score clock.
In addition to his rushing touchdown, Case also tossed two more scores, both to Guarisco. Case finished the contest 28-of-49 for 358 yards with two interceptions.
Guarisco, the Eagles leading rusher this season, was limited to eight carries for minus two yards. However, he made up for it in the receiving department with 13 catches for 184 yards and two scores.
Vermilion Catholic responded to Central Catholic’s early fourth-quarter touchdown with a 50-yard strike from quarterback Brennan Gallet to wide receiver Emile Trahan to extend the lead to 37-24.
Gallet finished the contest completing 8 of 20 passes for 195 yards and two scores. He also was intercepted three times.
Trahan’s lone reception was the 50-yard score.
While Central Catholic again responded with a drive down to the Vermilion Catholic 17 yard line, the drive appeared to be all for naught as Case, who entered the contest without any interceptions, threw his second of the contest when Connor Menard picked him off in the end zone.
However, in a strange turn of events, shortly after Menard took the ball out of the end zone on the return, Central Catholic’s Charlie Barron forced him to fumble at the 3-yard line. The ball was subsequently picked up by Hoffpauir and returned for a touchdown, cutting the Eagles’ deficit to 37-31 with 2:42 remaining
The Eagles’ onside kick was unsuccessful and shortly thereafter, Mike Campbell reached the end zone on a 4-yard run with less than 2 minutes for what ended up being the final, 44-31.
“They had a good scheme going in that first half,” Kuhns said. “We made some adjustments at halftime to try to take away the things they do. Our kids executed but they got good players so they were still able to be successful moving the ball down the field and we hurt ourselves a couple times.”
Fuhrer said his squad made adjustments to counteract Vermilion Catholic’s halftime changes but the homestanding Eagles just had too big of a lead to overcome.
Central Catholic scored first in the contest as the Eagles used some trickery to get on the scoreboard.
On fourth down, the Eagles lined up to punt and Case, the squad’s punter, tossed a pass to Guarisco, who raced past the Vermilion Catholic special teams squad and into the end zone for a 7-0 Central Catholic advantage.
Vermilion Catholic’s big-play offense needed just four plays to counter as Gallet found Drake Broussard for a 16-yard touchdown to knot the game at seven after Gallet earlier connected with Menard for a 38-yard reception.
Using a 13-play drive, Central Catholic moved 63 yards before Case found Guarisco for a diving catch in the end zone from 5 yards out to extend the Central Catholic advantage to 14-7.
Matthew Barbier, who was perfect on extra point attempts in the contest, connected on a 26-yard field goal later in the quarter to extend Central Catholic’s lead to 17-7.
Vermilion Catholic’s Emile Trahan responded with a 21-yard field goal on Vermilion Catholic’s next drive to cut the deficit to 17-10.
In the third quarter, Vermilion Catholic tied the contest on Campbell’s 8-yard run.
Campbell finished the game with 20 carries for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
Vermilion Catholic took the two-touchdown advantage after Tristin Kelly returned an interception more than 30 yards for a score and Broussard raced 25 yards for a score.
Vermilion Catholic totaled 413 yards of offense (218 rushing and 195 passing), while Central Catholic finished with 427 yards (69 rushing and 358 passing).
Although Fuhrer said his squad has plenty of frustration with its winless mark, he said they must stay united and avoid instances like the brief extra-curricular activity that occurred among some of the Eagles after the contest.
“I understand the frustration, but like I told them, for as good as we played tonight, we don’t need any in-fighting. … Let’s regroup, get closer. … I still believe we have a pretty good football team, and I think we saw signs of that tonight,” Fuhrer said.
Central Catholic will return to action Oct. 11 when it travels to Hanson for a District 7-1A contest.
First downs: 22 18
Rushing yards 69 218
Passing yards 358 195
Total yards 427 413
A-C-Hi 49-28-2 20-8-3
Pen. Yards 10-75 10-83
Fumbles 3-1 3-2
Score By Quarters
CCHS 14 3 0 13 -- 31
VC 7 3 20 14 -- 44
CCHS: Nick Case 71 yd. pass to Stefano Guarisco (Matthew Barbier kick)
VC: Brennan Gallet 16 yd. pass to Drake Broussard (Emile Trahan kick)
CCHS: Case 5 yd. pass to Guarisco (Barbier kick)
CCHS: Barbier 26-yd. field goal
VC: Trahan 21-yd. field goal
VC: Mike Campbell 8 yd. run (Trahan kick)
VC: Tristin Kelly 31 yd. interception return (Kick fail)
VC: Broussard 25 yd. run (Trahan kick)
CCHS: Case 2 yd run (Barbier kick)
VC: Gallet 50-yd. pass to Trahan (Trahan kick)
CCHS: Tyler Hoffpauir 3-yd. fumble return (Barbier kick)
CCHS Individual Stats
Eriq Blanchard 9-60, Nick Case 11-18 TD, Stefano Guarisco 8- (-2), Tyler Hoffpauir 2- (-2), Team 2- (-5)
Nick Case 28-49-2 358 yds. 2TDs
Stefano Guarisco 13-184 2TDs, Tyler Hoffpauir 9-107, Charlie Barron 5-39, Eriq Blanchard 1-28