St. Thomas More edges Catholic High in 39-38 nailbiter

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BATON ROUGE – For the second straight season, a classic battle between Catholic High and St. Thomas More came down to the right leg of kicker Kylan Dupre. But this time, he couldn’t save the day for the Bears.

The sophomore kicker attempted a potential game-winning field goal from 53 yards away with 32 seconds left but the attempt fell well short as St. Thomas More avenged a last season loss from 2019 with a 39-38 victory Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

“We’ve got total confidence in our kicker, and we know it would’ve been a career long,” Catholic coach Gabe Fertitta said. “I made the mistake earlier not going for two, because I knew we would need an extra one point somewhere.”

The Cougars avenged not only a 52-50 loss last season to the Bears but defeats to Catholic High in each of the previous five years. For the Cougars, this on was more than a little special.

“We know they beat us a few years in a row but when you play good competition, you’re gonna win some and lose some. This was our year,” said St Thomas More Coach Jim Hightower. “But this one felt a lot like last year.” Dupre hit a 34-yard field goal to win the 2019 meeting in Lafayette.

This game marked the second straight week the Bears played state power with both coming down to the final seconds. Last week, Edna Karr jumped out to an early lead and held off Catholic (1-2). It’s another tough loss for the Bears, who came up short both times.

“We owe it to these guys to challenge them with the best competition,” Fertitta added. “We could’ve scheduled teams that we would blow out, but that won’t help us find our holes and areas that need improvement.”

St. Thomas More (3-0) was lead by quarterback Walker Howard. The LSU commitment tossed five touchdowns and racked up 390 yards in the air.

The first score of the night, a 63-yard Howard toss to Jack Bech, established a familiar connected. Bech caught nine balls for 196 yards and a pair of scores.

Running back Corey Singleton lead the Bears with nine rushes for 113 yards and a go-ahead score ahead in the final stanza. Quarterback Landon O’Connor threw for a touchdown and ran for two more scores, totalling over 100 yards both passing and running.

St. Thomas More led 26-14 at the halftime break but Catholic scored first in the second half with George Hart’s one-yard touchdown to draw close at 26-24.

The Cougars went seven plays and 80 yards to extend their advantage back to nine at 33-24 when Howard hooked up with Carter Domingue.

It looked like the fourth quarter would belong to Catholic as the Bears scored twice to take a 38-33 lead on a three-yard keeper from O’Connor and a 74-yard run by SIngleton.

Howard hooked up again with Bech one more time to put STM up 39-38 with just under seven minutes left, setting up the late drama.

Catholic will look to break a two-game skid next week when they visit East Ascension while St. Thomas More hosts Westgate in a pair of Friday night contests.

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