REPLAY: Rummel beats Brother Martin again to reach state final

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METAIRIE – Facing a rematch against a tough district opponent a week ago, Archbishop Rummel faced another tough district opponent in the Division I semifinals Friday night.

After escaping with their lives by a point against St. Augustine a week ago, the Raiders left no doubt against Brother Martin, though the Raiders had a few anxious moments late.

Jaelen Sturgis rushed for three touchdowns and Kyle Wickersham passed for a score as No. 1 Rummel handled No. 4 Brother Martin 37-27 at Joe Yenni Stadium in the Division I semifinals. Rummel defeated Brother Martin 30-0 on Oct. 12.

In his first year as head coach, Nick Monica is taking his Raiders to the state championship game.

“I thought our kids did an awesome job tonight all across the board on offense, defense and special teams,” Monica said. “We probably pulled some guys a little too soon and made it closer than it needed to be but we did a good job of putting ourselves in that position. I’m pleased after last week when our defense didn’t play too well. Our offensive line played probably as good as they played all year.”

Monica had special praise for Sturgis.

“I thought he looked nimble tonight, he looked like the old Jaelen Sturgis which is funny coming after Thanksgiving,” Monica said. “He looked quick and set up a bunch of cuts.”

The Raiders took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 15 plays, taking 8:50 off the clock with Logan Diggs scoring on a 2-yard run to make it 7-0 with 3:10 to play in the opening quarter.

“That drive really set the tone for the night,” Monica said.

After getting a stop, Rummel added to the lead early in the second quarter as Patrick Vanderbrook booted a 43-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 11:02 to play in the first half.

Brother Martin pulled close with Georgia Tech commit Nick Turner intercepted a Wickersham pass and raced up the left sideline 94 yards for a score to cut the deficit to 10-7 with 6:54 to play in the first half.

Undaunted, Rummel responded with a nine play, 80-yard drive with Jaelen Sturgis rushing two yards for a score. The extra point was blocked and it was 16-7 with 2:15 to play in the first half.

The Raiders then forced a fumble by Chris Smith with Kolbe Fields recovering and scoring off the fumble but the score was negated by a holding penalty on Rummel.

On the next play, Wickersham connected with LSU commit Koy Moore on a 20-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 23-7 with 1:54 to play in the half.

Rummel extended the lead late in the third quarter, going 84 yards in just four plays with Sturgis scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 30-7. The big play of the drive was a 54-yard completion from Wickersham to Ivory Wilwright IV.

It appeared that the rout was on when Sturgis rambled 15 yards for a score to make it 37-7 with 11:51 to play in the game.

Rummel appeared to relax a bit and made a couple of substitutions but Brother Martin was not done.

The Crusaders drove 84 yards in nine plays with Garrett Mmahat running 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 37-14 with 9:25 to play.

Brother Martin got the ball back and drove 71 yards in eight plays with Mmahat connecting with John Louis on a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 37-21 with 4:34 to play in the game as the pass went through a Rummel defender who tipped it into the hands of Louis.

After recovering an onside kick, the Crusaders would score again, this time on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Mmahat to Logan Farrell on another ball that went through the hands of a Raider defender and it was 37-27. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.

Brother Martin tried another onside kick but Moore recovered for Rummel and the Raiders were able to run out the clock.

Crusaders coach Mark Bonis was proud of how his team did not quit down by 30 points in the final quarter.

“It’s always been about our program and our principles,” Bonis said. “One of them is to finish. You find yourself in the situation we’re in, it’s easy to have ‘scoreboard mentality.’ Even at our lowest point, the kids finished. It says a lot about our program and our kids.”

Rummel dug Brother Martin a deep hole from which the Crusaders could not recover.

“They did a great job of holding onto the football.” Bonis said. “You can’t turn the ball over (against Rummel). They made us run the football in the RPO game. They did a good job of taking (the pass) away.”

Sturgis finished with 10 carries for 71 yards and the three touchdowns, Diggs finished with 12 carries for 67 yards and a score.

“We had it on our minds all week at practice that last year, with the loss to Catholic, we didn’t want to feel like that anymore,” Sturgis said. “That was our motivation the whole week. It showed up. It starts with God and the big boys up front. They made the holes and I just hit them. It’s a wonderful feeling. Ever since we came to Rummel, we had going to the title game on our mind. We’re ready.”

Wickersham completed 11-of-14 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown with the interception and he rushed nine times for 43 yards. Moore had five catches for 69 yards and a score and Wilright finished with three catches for 92 yards.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Wickersham said. “I love going to school there, I love going to classes there. Going to the state championship and playing for Rummel, I have a lot of pride in that. This school has changed my life.”

Wickersham said the opening drive made a statement.

“We were grinding it out, we knew we wanted to run the ball,” Wickersham said. “That’s exactly what we did. We were able to convert on third down when we needed to. Our line did a great push all night. It was a great way to start the game.”

Mmahat completed 13-of-22 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns and h e rushed 10 times for 39 yards and a touchdown. Austin Jackson had five catches for 105 yards. The Crusaders rushed for just 50 yards.

With the win, Rummel (12-0) advances to the Division I state championship game next Friday night at 7 p.m. against fellow unbeaten and No. 2 Catholic High of Baton Rouge at Yulman Stadium. The Bears (12-0) shutout No. 3 John Curtis Christian 14-0.

Catholic defeated Rummel 13-10 in the Division I semifinals in Baton Rouge a year ago and beat the Raiders 31-28 in the Division I state championship game.

“I told the kids to keep smiling until you wake up tomorrow morning to get back to work and get ready to roll,” Monica said. “13 is a big one. We’ve got to get win No. 13. That’s the one we’ve been shooting for.”

FINAL
BM 0 7 0 20 — 27
RUM 7 16 7 7 — 37

1st Qtr.
RUM—Logan Diggs, 2-yard run (Patrick Vanderbrook kick)

2nd Qtr.
RUM—Patrick Vanderbrook, 43-yard field goal
BM—Nick Turner, 94-yard interception return (Jack Landry kick)
RUM—Jaelen Sturgis, 2-yard run (kick blocked)
RUM—Koy Moore, 20 yard pass from Kyle Wickersham (Jack Landry kick)

3rd Qtr.
RUM—Jaelen Sturgis, 1-yard run (Patrick Vanderbrook kick)

4th Qtr.
RUM—Jaelen Sturgis, 15-yard run (Patrick Vanderbrook kick)
BM—Garrett Mmahat, 11-yard run (Jack Landry kick)
BM—John Louis, 26-yard pass from Garrett Mmahat (Jack Landry kick)
BM—Logan Farrell, 4-yard pass from Garrett Mmahat (pass failed)

Statistics
Rushing—RUM 190, BM 50
Passing—RUM 215, BM 228
Total Yards—RUM 405, BM 278
Penalties—RUM 7 for 56 yards, BM 7 for 40 yards
Sacks—RUM 2, BM 1
Turnovers—RUM 1, BM 1

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