Holy Cross dominates Jesuit to advance to quarterfinals

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In one of the oldest and best rivalries in Louisiana, Jesuit has enjoyed a solid edge in overall series wins over Holy Cross.

It is safe to say that the Tigers have put a dent in that edge in 2022 and have done so in demonstrative fashion.

Holy Cross is the top-seeded team in the Select Division I playoffs and looked the part.

Senior quarterback Cole Canatella passed for three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth score and the Tigers defense was terrific in a 42-0 victory over the Blue Jays at Tad Gormley Stadium Friday night in the Select Division I regional playoffs.

Speaking on The Three Tailgaters Show Saturday morning on NASH ICON 106.1 FM, Holy Cross coach Scott Wattigny spoke up about his defensive excellence.

“I’m incredibly proud of our guys, especially our defense,” Wattigny said. “It’s easier to play defense when you score so many points and have a great offense. We dissected where our flaws were defensively after we lost to Brother Martin. They kicked our teeth in. We went back to fundamental football and we can see the improvements.”

After getting a stop to start the game following an extended Jesuit possession, Holy Cross jumped on top 7-0, scoring on its first possession on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Canatella to Krosse Johnson.

Midway through the second quarter, Canatella connected with Koby Young on a 23-yard scoring toss to make it 14-0.

Still a competitive game, Holy Cross stuck the dagger in Jesuit just before the half as Canatella hit Derrick Johnson on an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 at the break.

The Tigers would total the same number of points in the second half.

Canatella scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter to make it 28-0.

Kaden Andoh broke free on an 80-yard touchdown run and it was 35-0 by the end of the third quarter.

Ke’Rynn Smith added the final score in the fourth quarter.

“We have so many guys who can make plays and they are supportive of each other,” Wattigny said. “Cole is exceptional. He’s an exceptional quarterback and an exceptional leader with his toughness and skill. He’s got great ability. He is disciplined with his assignments.”

In two wins over Jesuit this season, Holy Cross outscored its rival 72-0. Holy Cross had not shut out Jesuit since 1976. Now, the Tigers have done so twice in one season. The Tigers whipped the Blue Jays 30-0 on October 27 in a game seen live on CrescentCitySports.com.

Replay: Holy Cross blanks Jesuit for first time since 1976

Holy Cross (9-2) advances to the quarterfinals to face traditional power Acadiana at home Friday night.

The eighth-seeded Wreckin’ Rams fought off district rival and ninth-seed Carencro 14-7.

Holy Cross will look to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2013.

The Tigers have not been to a title game since 1967 and last won a state championship in 1963, when they defeated Jesuit 14-6 in the Class 3A title game.

“Brother Martin showed how to stop us, to limit possessions,” Wattigny said. “Acadiana is capable of doing that. We need to play fast against them. If we can get the ball snapped early in the play clock, we can possibly negate what they do in slowing it down. If you can get on top early, it would be a huge advantage with what they do.

“Playing John Curtis and its veer offense certainly helps preparing us for this challenge.”

What would it mean for Holy Cross to be one of the final four teams in the state?

“There are proud Tigers everywhere,” Wattigny said. “As an alum, I could not be happier for our school community. It would be amazing to get back to the semifinals.”

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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