Rummel uses big screen pass score to overcome U-High

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BATON ROUGE – After a difficult 2021 season, a traditional power appears well on the way back to being prominent again.

Strong defensive play and a consistent second half led Archbishop Rummel past defending Division II state champion and top-ranked University Lab 17-14 at Jeff Boss Field Friday night.

Trailing 14-10 with 1:26 to play and with no timeouts remaining, the Raiders needed a big play and they got it.

Senior quarterback Casey Avrard connected with running back Jaidyn Martin on a screen pass and Martin raced 79 yards for the game-winning score.

On a sloppy field, the two teams grinded it out in physical fashion all night long.

After being scoreless for nearly the entire first half, Blake Abney scored on an 11-yard run on an option play to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead with just 48 seconds remaining in the first half. The score was set up by a 42-yard punt return by Seth Gale.

Rummel came out of the break inspired and controlled play for the next quarter.

The Raiders drove 60 yards in nine plays with Avrard scoring on a 1-yard run to tie the game 7-7.

Rummel then came up with another nice drive, culminating with a 26-yard field goal by Chris Wallace and the Raiders led 10-7 going to the final quarter.

U-High rallied to take the lead as Blake Abney hit Seth Gale on a 12-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-10 lead with 2:45 remaining.

Avrard and Martin then produced the big play for the Raiders.

LSU commit Ashton Stamps sealed the deal for the Raiders with an interception on the Cubs’ final possession.

Martin rushed 20 times for 64 yards to go along with his game-winning touchdown. Riley Small paced the U-High offense with 27 carries for 115 yards.

“We challenged our offensive line,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “It has to be our strength. It was a heck of a ball game. Both teams came in with some injuries, both teams had injuries in the middle of the game and it looked like a battle of attrition at the end. I’m just proud of the kids. They found a way to get it done.”

Still a young team, Rummel is a tougher team than a year ago and learning how to win.

“It’s just good that we’re finding ways to win,” Monica said. “We won last week in a different way that we did tonight. We do have a chance to put together a pretty good little team. We just have so much to work on right now. We’re far from where we want to be as a team. Hopefully, we can continue to get better and learn as we win.”

The Raiders (2-0) face another tough test against rival Archbishop Shaw in the annual Megaphone game next Friday night in Marrero. U-High (1-1) faces another very difficult contest against defending Division I state champion Catholic of Baton Rouge, also next Friday night.

“There will be no easy games,” Monica said. “It’s going to be a 10-week gauntlet.”

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