Catholic High truly earned its first state title
You have to hand it to head coach Dale Weiner and his Catholic High Bears.
If there was any question of his team’s ability to control a football game, it has been answered over the past three weeks.
Weiner’s team outpointed a high-scoring Brother Martin team, 49-48, in the regional playoff round on Nov. 21. Then they overcame a 21-0 deficit to Evangel by rallying to win, 27-21, in the semifinals on Nov. 27.
And on Dec. 4, his boys did it again at the expense of the No. 1 seed and two-time state champion, Archbishop Rummel, when placekicker Parker Fontenot kicked a 34-yard field goal to give Catholic its first state title, 31-28.
But it wasn’t that simple. The kick may have provided the winning margin, but the Bears’ consistency on both sides of the ball was the hammer that nailed the victory.
A senior-laden Archbishop Rummel, made up of 30 of the finest athletes in the Catholic League, had no answer for Catholic’s relentless offense and its trigger men, quarterback Ian Brian and tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The two riddled the Raiders’ defense, which had been its calling card throughout a 13-win season. Brian completed 25-of-34 passes for 340 yards and threw touchdown aerials to three different receivers.
Edwards-Helaire was even more impressive. In Weiner’s offensive scheme, the senior back rushed for 88 yards, added another 161 on eight pass receptions and returned kicks for 102 yards. He finished with 351 all-purpose yards.
What’s worse is that the No. 1 team in the state blocked and tackled poorly on that championship night.
The Bears outgained the Raiders 468 total yards to 205 and had seven more first downs than the Catholic league champion, but it was the final 1:46 of the game that snapped a 28-28 tie.
Catholic High sacked senior quarterback Chase Fourcade, Rummel’s Most Outstanding Player, as chosen by the attending writers, four times. The last sack caused Fourcade to fumble the ball at the Bears’ 47-yard line.
In that short time span, Catholic High was able to run off eight plays and used a final time-out to set up the winning field goal from the Rummel 17.
Catholic’s victory was well-earned. In the final 12-minute period alone, the Bears possessed the ball for 7:43 and converted four of five first downs.
When he was standing, Fourcade completed 10-of-22 passes for 205 yards and threw three touchdown strikes to wide receiver David Hensley. Fourcade was also his team’s top rusher with 32 net yards; the result of 29 yards in losses on sacks.
Hensley caught five passes for 155 yards.