St. Charles Catholic ready for challenge of Notre Dame, Cook again
The history is deep.
To see St. Charles Catholic facing Notre Dame in the LHSAA state playoffs is a becoming an annual occurrence.
A year ago in Crowley, St. Charles Catholic edged Notre Dame 17-13 in the Division III semifinals. The Comets went on to upset top seed and four-time defending state champion Lafayette Christian 32-27 in the state championship game.
In 2020, the Comets edged the Pios 24-22 in LaPlace to advance to the title game, falling 12-7 to Lafayette Christian.
In 2016, the Comets defeated the Pios 21-10 at Crowley in the Division III semifinals before falling in the title game to Riverside Academy 47-20.
In the 2012 Class 2A regional round, Notre Dame defeated St. Charles Catholic 27-7.
The two sides will collide for a fifth time in a decade deep in the playoffs Friday night when the second-seeded Comets host the third-seeded Pios at 7 p.m. at Frank Monica Field at Thomas Dupuy Stadium in LaPlace.
The two teams and their outstanding coaches are accustomed to being in this position.
In 2019, the Comets reached the final, falling to Lafayette Christian 41-14.
In 2018, Notre Dame won the Division III state championship, beating Catholic of New Iberia 42-21.
The Pios also reached the state title game in 2017.
In 2015, Notre Dame defeated Riverside Academy 13-3 in the state championship game.
St. Charles Catholic won the 2011 Class 3A state championship, 9-8 over Amite.
Notre Dame won the Class 3A state title in 2009. The Pios also reached the 3A stat title game in 2008.
The Comets reached the 2A final in 2006, falling to John Curtis Christian 41-7 and also reached the title game in 2005, losing to Curtis 31-6.
Notre Dame reached the 3A championship game in 2005, losing 13-6 to Redemptorist, the Pios lost in the 2004 Class 3A title game, 21-14 to Amite and Notre Dame fell 15-7 to Lutcher in the 2003 Class 3A title game.
It is the ninth straight year in the semifinals for the Comets (9-3), who also reached the semifinals in 2010. St. Charles Catholic advanced with a 40-21 win at Parkview Baptist.
“I think its an expectation for our kids,” St. Charles Catholic coach Wayne Stein said. “It’s a standard that’s tough to live up to but they do. We’re excited to be here. There’s not many programs that have done it for nine straight years. It’s something that we’re very proud of.”
Now, the Comets are healthier than they have been all season long.
“There was a time that we had to play without nine starters against one of our opponents but our kids stuck together,” Stein said. “We just started taking it one day at a time. It’s been a very enjoyable year because of our kids. What the injuries did do was create some depth.”
Last year, St. Charles Catholic overcame damage to its school, to its community and to many homes of players and coaches. They had just one jersey to wear all season long. The Comets became a great story in capturing the Division III state title.
This year, the target has been on the chest and backs of St. Charles Catholic.
“It’s different whenever you’ve got the target on your chest,” Stein said. “I’m proud of where we are. I’m really going to be proud of my kids no matter what. They’ve had a great attitude all year no matter what’s happened.”
Notre Dame features one of the greatest coaches in Louisiana history in Lewis Cook, who recently passed Red Franklin to become the third winningest coach in Louisiana prep football history. The Pios advanced by routing Episcopal 47-0.
“For a long time, they were the standard and Coach Cook reminds me a lot of Coach Monica,” Stein said. “There is so much respect for him and his defensive coordinator, Jimmy Mack. We have very alike kids. Sometimes, we mix it up because we are so alike. We respect one another. Whoever plays well will win.”
The winner advances to the state championship next Friday at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of No. 8 University Lab at No. 4 Dunham, also slated for Friday night at 7 p.m.
Non-Select Division I
(5) Zachary at (1) Ruston
(10) Westgate at (3) Destrehan
Non-Select Division II
(4) North DeSoto at (1) Iowa
(6) Lutcher at (2) West Feliciana
Non-Select Division III
(4) St. James at (1) Many
(7) Amite at (3) Union Parish
Non-Select Division IV
(8) Oak Grove at (5) Haynesville
(3) Mangham at (2) Homer
Select Division I
(13) Brother Martin at (8) Carencro
(3) John Curtis Christian at (2) Catholic-BR
Select Division II
(4) E.D. White at (1) St. Thomas More
(6) Lafayette Christian at (2) Teurlings Catholic
Select Division III
(8) University Lab at (4) Dunham
(3) Notre Dame at (2) St. Charles Catholic
Select Division IV
(4) St. Martin’s at (1) Vermilion Catholic
(10) Ascension Catholic at (3) Ouachita Christian
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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…