Dominant second half by Catholic hands East Ascension first loss
GONZALES – After being held scoreless with three turnovers in the first Half, the Catholic Bears orchestrated a complete turnaround.
The defending LHSAA Division I champions came alive in the third quarter Friday night to take command in a 35-3 district victory over Class 5A third-ranked East Ascension.
Down 3-0 at the break, Catholic woke up big time in the third quarter with three touchdown drives all set up by great field position and strong defense.
“We lost the game last year because I didn’t do what I was suppose to do,” Catholic coach Gabe Fertitta said. “I didn’t handle the field position. I made sure we laid it all out this year with no emotion. Special teams and playing great defense is the key to winning field position.”
The 5A fourth-ranked Bears scored two of their third quarter touchdowns on the arm of senior signal caller Cameron Dartez, who hooked up with junior Braelen Morgan for the game’s first touchdown from 26 yards out. The second was another toss to Morgan, this one a seven yard touchdown. Morgan scored three times in the game.
“Coach told us we got started slow and we had to pick it up,” said Morgan. “We were on it. We really didn’t change anything. We pushed harder.”
The final score of the third period was a 53-yard sprint by Joshua Parker, who led all rushers with 122 yards on 13 carries.
The Bears scored on all three of there third quarter drives, capturing 21-3 advantage heading into the final stanza.
The game became a blowout late thank to Morgan’s 87 yard touchdown and a 67-yard run by Jake Outlaw to round out the scoring.
“I really believe our off-season program paid off,” Fertitta said. “We’ve played well in the second half all year long and did it again tonight. We really didn’t change anything. We continued to do what we do.”
East Ascension quarterback Jason Wakefield completed 21 0f 39 for 194 yards but Catholic’s second half burst and 11 penalties for 77 yards halted hopes of continuing their unbeaten season.
The Spartans had many opportunities to put more points on the board in the first half, including forcing three turnovers.
“You can’t keep shooting yourself in the foot against a good football team and expect to have success,” said East Ascension coach Darnell Lee. “We had penalty after penalty after penalty, and we did it to ourselves. It’s on us. All we can do is get better. They do it right and we did it wrong.”
Catholic (7-1, 3-0 in 5-5A) takes on Dutchtown (4-4 1-2) next week in Baton Rouge while East Ascension (7-1, 2-1) visits McKinley (2-6, 1-2).
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