St. Charles Catholic downs East Ascension in thrilling defensive battle
A year ago, a big and strong Class 5A East Ascension squad went to LaPlace and won a bruising 14-6 victory over St. Charles Catholic.
The 2020 rematch was a similar type of game with a different result.
Regdrick Hackett turned what looked like it could be another defeat for the Comets into a victory, interception a Kullen Wheat pass and returning it 99 yards for a touchdown with 39 seconds remaining to lift St. Charles Catholic to a 17-9 victory over the Spartans.
A last second drive by East Ascension fell short and the Comets had a huge road win.
After a scoreless first half, the Comets wasted no time taking the lead in the second half.
On the first play of the third quarter, Zack Vicknair raced 75 yards, straight up the middle, for a score to give St. Charles Catholic a 7-0 lead.
It stayed that way until early in the fourth quarter when Carter Chauvin booted a 32-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Kullen Wheat then hit Navell Chopin with a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 10-7 in the fourth quarter.
Then, pinned deep in their own territory, the Comets elected to take a safety with just over two minutes to play to make it 10-9.
After receiving the ensuing free kick, East Ascension drove to the St. Charles Catholic 14-yard line and appeared poised to pull out a big comeback victory when Hackett stepped in front of the pass intended for Jordan Goodlow at the 1-yard line, picked it off and took it the distance.
Vicknair finished with 16 carries for 142 yards and a score to offset three interceptions by the Spartans as the Comets uncharacteristically made several mistakes but still found a way to win.
Each team had a blocked punt.
Despite the win, Comets coach Frank Monica was not pleased with several aspects of the win, as he expressed on the Three Tailgaters Show Saturday morning on 106.1 FM.
“I a very, very proud of my guys,” Monica said. “We’ve won two games on the road in six days and that is a tough turn-around. That is especially true because of the way we played. We had a blocked punt and two turnovers and a number of penalties in the first half and another turnover later.
There were many quick-change moments in the game.
“We stopped them on the 1-yard line on the first drive and they missed a field goal,” Monica said. “When we went up 10-0 with six minutes left in the game, I told the kids it was still not over. We knew they would not quit.”
The after-effects are clear after a bruising contest.
“East Ascension is a gigantic football team,” Monica said. “They kicked us around left and right but we were resilient and found a way to win. Our angels are working overtime upstairs. I may not have any left. We were blessed last night. Our special teams let us down and we take pride in those units. For us to win games, we need to win time of possession and not have turnovers. We were a plus 19 in turnovers last year. That is a huge statistic.”
The Comets were shaky early but changed that in due time.
“We were a bit discombobulated defensively early but we settled down,” Monica said. “We’ve played two 5A schools and a big 3A opponent and it has taken its toll defensively. East Ascension is really big up front on defense. Out offensive line is young.”
Monica is taking nothing for granted.
“You never know when you get this phone call and you are shut down,” Monica said. “We are happy to be playing. The whole situation is hard to understand. You really fear that phone call saying you cannot play.”
St. Charles Catholic (3-0) returns to action next Friday evening in a showdown against De La Salle (3-0) at Tad Gormley Stadium in a game that you can watch live at CrescentCitySports.com and via Cox Sports Television.
East Ascension (2-1) will host Catholic of Baton Rouge next Friday night.
“We have a lot of room to grow and mature,” Monica said. “We might show up. I watched De La Salle on film. They are a really good football team. They have no weaknesses. They can run it and throw it. They are big up front. I don’t think Coach (Ryan) Manale has had to wash their uniforms yet. I don’t know how we will make a first down.”
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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…