St. Paul’s defense, special teams sink Holy Cross
When you see a 9-7 final score, you know it was a defensive battle.
When you see that score, you figure it was three field goals for one team and a touchdown for the other.
No. 10 St. Paul’s defeated No. 7 Holy Cross by the 9-7 margin Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium and it was anything but a traditional 9-7 game.
The Wolves recorded three safeties and kicked a field goal and its defense made it stand up with a terrific effort against a potent Tiger offense.
The Wolves won despite accumulating less than 200 yards of offense.
St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears faced Holy Cross coach Guy LeCompte for many years when LeCompte was the head coach at Mandeville.
“We were familiar with what Guy does and he does a fantastic job,” Sears said. “He is one of the sharpest guys I know running the spread offense. That familiarity gave us the blueprint for what we did last night. We thought it would be difficult. The key was keeping the quarterback in the pocket and we had a good pass rush.”
Jacob Frolich came up huge, twice sacking John Dade Wooton in the end zone for safeties while Wayne Galloway blocked a punt which resulted in a third safety. William Grand added a 28-yard field goal to account for the other points for St. Paul’s.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in any game I’ve ever watched in my life,” Sears said. “Credit our special teams and defense. They did an excellent job for us. Frolich has had an outstanding year for us. Our front seven has done a great job overall defensively. We gave up one big play and that was it. Our thought our secondary played well.”
It was the second win over Holy Cross in three years in the Division I opening round of the playoffs for St. Paul’s and Sears, a Holy Cross graduate. The Wolves beat the Tigers 27-24 in the opening round in 2017.
“It’s been a great experience to go against them and win but it is special to play them,” Sears said. “I have fantastic memories about that place and the special years I had when I was there. It is always meaningful to me when we play them. Our kids know I went to school there. It was special to win at Tad Gormley Stadium against my alma mater. We love our school and young men at St. Paul’s.”
Holy Cross (5-6) took a 7-2 lead early in the third quarter on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Wooton to Tyler Kirkwood but that was all Holy Cross could muster.
“Going into the season, we knew we just didn’t have the personnel to run the spread offense like we are used to,” Sears said. “We have some young players and it has been a growing process. We had critical penalties in the game last night. Defense has pulled the wagon for us and that was the case again in this victory. We’ll keep getting better at it.”
St. Paul’s advances to play at No. 2 seed and unbeaten Catholic of Baton Rouge next Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Bears are prolific offensively, averaging 50 points per game. Catholic has been to the state championship game three times in the last five years, winning the Division I title twice (2015, 2017). Catholic is coached by another Holy Cross alumnus in Gabe Fertita.
“They are very explosive on offense,” Sears said. “We have to keep our defense off the field by possessing the ball and eat as much clock as possible and keep the ball out of their hands. They are well coached. They will pose a real challenge for us. Our kids are resilient, prepared hard and we look forward to facing a really good team.”
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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…