Quarterback Lloyd Nash returns to lead St. Charles past St. James, 14-0

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St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica didn’t let his players stick around for very long after a 14-0 victory Friday night over St. James, rushing the players into the locker room after a quick prayer and pep talk.

After the season he’s had, it’s understandable. He might want to wrap them all in bubble wrap.

The injury bug certainly hit the Comets hard this season, but Friday night, it gave one back.

Senior quarterback Lloyd Nash, who broke his collarbone in the season opener, returned for the season finale to lead his team to victory.

He saw limited action on defense last week against De La Salle but took every offensive snap Friday.

The Nicholls State commit rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown, passed for 36 yards and ended the game with an interception on defense.

“I know I was supposed to bat it down but I needed one,” Nash said. “I knew I had missed two earlier. It felt good to get out there back with my guys, doing what it takes to win. We got a score early and that kind of jump started the team. It was an ugly first half by the offense but the defense held it down.”

It had been 12 years since the one-time River Parishes rivals met on a football field, but it was no epic battle.

The Comets defense held St. James to 94 yards rushing, led by Dontaz Sterling with 53. Quarterback Shamar Smith rushed for 26, but was sacked three times – twice by Comets senior Jordan Jensen. Smith also was intercepted by Bryce Authement.

The St. James defense also was solid at times. The Comets gained 161 rushing yards.

Also returning to the lineup was Joe Chiarella, who injured an ankle last month. He finished with 45 yards on eight carries. Phillip Tran rushed for 42. Nash threw only four passes for 36 yards.

The Comets just got the big plays when they needed them.

St. Charles Catholic’s first drive started at its own 27-yard line but, three plays later, the Comets had a third-and-22 on their own 15 after Nash scrambled to cover a high snap.

Then Nash ran a draw for a 35-yard gain and got 15 more yards from a face mask penalty on the Wildcats. From the St. James 35, Phillip Tran ran to the 1, then Narquez Jones went over the top for the Comets’ first score with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter.

St. James was on the move in the second quarter, driving from their own 29 to the Comets 41 on a 15-yard run by Sterling, a 15-yard pass from Smith to Devonne White and an 11-yard run by Smith. But Smith’s pass was intercepted by Authement at the Comets’ 29 with 5:54 remaining in the half.

The Wildcats defense stiffened and stopped the Comets at their own 42, but muffed the punt at the Wildcats 20 and St. Charles retained possession. Phillip Tran ran to the 9, then Nash ran through the right side for the touchdown with 56 seconds remaining in the half.

St. James coach Robert Valdez said his team missed opportunities.

“It’s a tough place to play,” he said. “Our guys gave a great effort. We had our chances. We had some turnovers that stopped drives and we made a couple of mistakes. The good part about this is, I saw my guys compete against a real good football team. We go into the tournament next week. We have a lot of things we need to polish up. We can’t have those missed opportunities.”

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