McDonogh 35 drills St. Louis Catholic to advance to quarterfinals
A season that started in ominous fashion now has opponents viewing McDonogh 35 in ominous fashion.
The 11th-seeded Roneagles went to Sulphur and drilled No. 6 St. Louis Catholic 53-23 at Matt Walker Memorial Stadium Friday night in the LHSAA Select Division II regional playoffs.
Speaking on The Three Tailgaters Show Saturday morning on NASH ICON 106.1 FM, McDonogh 35 head coach Frank Daggs expressed his satisfaction with the focus and performance of his team.
“The trip was worth it, all three hours and 25 minutes of it,” Daggs said. “We got a turnover early. Our defense has been playing tremendous all year. They went out with the attitude of not allowing anyone to score on us. When you get turnovers and you get seven or eight sacks, you are going to win.”
Santana Price was brilliant for McDonogh 35. The Roneagles quarterback rushed 11 times for 162 yards and a touchdown and completed 11-of-17 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
“Santana was tremendous for us,” Daggs said. “We go as far as he goes. We have to keep on rolling with him. He has been that guy for us all season long.”
While Price guided a potent offense, the McDonogh 35 defense was outstanding as well, forcing four turnovers.
McDonogh 35 set the tone early in the first quarter, forcing a fumble with Peyton McFarland recovering it. That set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Jakai Anderson to give McDonogh 35 an 8-0 lead with 5:31 to play in the first quarter.
The Roneagles blew the game open in the second quarter with three scores, the last on a 42-yard run by Troydell Beal to make it 27-0. The Saints got on the board before the half on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Luke Pierson to Trey Tate to cut the deficit to 27-7 by halftime.
It was a brief glimmer of light which McDonogh 35 quickly extinguished, scoring twice in the third quarter to expand the advantage to 41-14 going to the final quarter, when the Roneagles scored twice more to take care of business in convincing fashion.
The Roneagles (8-3), who opened the season with a 71-13 loss to St. Augustine, have won five straight games.
“We had to realize after week one, we were not that team,” Daggs said. “We took it on the chin and we went back to set the tone to play Roneagle football. This season has been up and down but we are healthy and playing our best football now. Our offense is getting better.”
McDonogh 35 advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since the late Wayne Reese led his Roneagles to the Class 4A semifinals in 2019.
“I’m thinking about Wayne right now,” Daggs said. “We would be sitting here right now, drinking Cokes, talking about the game and the next challenge.”
The Roneagles face a tall task on the road against powerful Lafayette Christian next Friday night. The third-seeded Knights (9-2) dismissed Peabody 54-20 Friday night.
It is a rematch of last year’s regional round game, at the same venue. Lafayette Christian downed McDonogh 35 by a 46-8 margin a year ago.
“Juwan Johnson is super,” Daggs said. “He is a tremendous athlete who can run and throw and he is hard to contain. At least we have seen him before and understand what we are up against. He is so good. You cannot tackle him. You see him here and he is gone. We understand the challenge but we are looking forward to it.”
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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…