Football Preview: Catholic Pointe Coupee moves ahead without star Langlois
It was a good year for the Catholic Pointe Coupee Hornets in 2020.
Finishing with an overall record of 7-3, Catholic has its season end in the quarterfinals of the playoffs with a loss to state runner-up Calvary Baptist, 48-16.
The biggest storyline for this year’s team will undoubtedly be how they fare without two-way star and LSU signee Matthew Langlois. Head coach Vinnie Bullara called Langlois, “arguably the greatest player in school history.”
Langlois was a main factor on offense and defense. He piled up the statistics on both sides of the ball, rushing for 1340 yards and 27 touchdowns on offense and accumulating 68 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 12 passes defended and 4.0 sacks on defense.
While Catholic will miss Langlois’s contributions on the field, the Hornets will look to prove that they are capable of sustaining a winning culture. “This team also seems to be developing quite a chip on its shoulder, as they are tired of hearing about how the loss of Matthew Langlois means the end of success,” said Bullara.
Catholic will also move ahead without three-year starting quarterback Aiden Vosberg, offensive lineman Andrew Bonaventure and linebacker Spencer Lacoste. However, the cupboard in Pointe Coupee is not bare.
“We expect to be fairly strong on both sides of the ball because the majority of our starters got lots of game reps last year as young players,” Bullara explained.
This year’s senior class is a small one for the Hornets so some younger players will have to step up. What this team lacks in age is made up for in part by experience as many of the underclassmen have gotten playing time in the past,.
One player set to see a lot more touches on offense this year will be senior fullback Hunter Beard (5’10”, 195). Last year, he carried the ball 99 times for 519 yards and eight touchdowns. Beard is also a key piece of their defense; last year he tallied 51 total tackles from his linebacker position.
Another player that Bullara will look to take a leadership position on this team will be Andrew Jewell (6’1”, 185), senior running back and defensive back. Like Beard, Jewell will have to take more touches on offense due the loss of Langlois. Jewell carried the ball 45 times for 313 yards and 6 touchdowns during the 2020 season. On defense he was a key contributor finishing the year with 63 total tackles and a pair of interceptions.
The Hornets heavily rely on their rushing attack, attempting just 38 passes in 10 games last year. That is why another player who will have to produce is junior running back Landon Frey (5’10”, 175).
The flexbone offense is a run-heavy, option attack, making more than one running back essential to its success. Frey had 11 carries for 45 yards in 2020. Where he really shined last year was on defense with 64 total tackles and 3.0 sacks from his outside linebacker position.
Junior offensive and defensive lineman Matthew Morrison (6’0”, 225) will anchor the middle of the offensive line from the center position and will be on the edge rushing the passer at defensive end.
Catholic has five returning starters on offense and only three on defense, so they will be looking to build chemistry and trust between themselves and the coaches leading up to the season.
“Even though we will have a good number of new starters, they aren’t guys who have never seen game action before,” Bullara noted.
The Hornets begin the 2021 season with five non-district games starting with their opener on the road against the Livonia Wildcats. Their next four opponents will be Ascension Episcopal at home, St. Martin’s Episcopal away, Kinder at home and Episcopal away.
District play begins with a trip to Ville Platte to face the Sacred Heart Trojans. Tensions could be high as Catholic beat Sacred Heart once in the regular season, 28-22, and then bounced the Trojans out of the postseason in blowout fashion, 42-6.
Week 7 features another road game against the Opelousas Catholic Vikings. Last year’s matchup was canceled due to complications with COVID-19 so both teams will be looking to rekindle this rivalry.
The last game of Catholic’s four-game road swing will be in Opelousas where Westminster Academy awaits. Last season, the Hornets handled the Crusaders, 49-7, on their homefield.
The North Central Hurricanes, who will not only be looking to avenge last season’s 43-0 loss as part of a winless 2020 season, visits in week nine. The Hurricanes gave up at least 40 points every game last year.
Catholic’s final regular season game will be against the St. Edmund Blue Jays. Last year’s game a hard-fought contest was won by the Hornets, 35-21.
Life without Matthew Langlois leaves many looking to see if Catholic will sink or swim against their competition this year. Replacing over 1,600 all-purpose yards and his playmaking ability on defense will not be easy, but the confidence that Bullara has in his young team speaks volumes to the expectations that he has for this season. After all, the Hornets are only two years removed from a state title game appearance, so making a late postseason run is not out of the question or character for this program.
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season preview).
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