Sunday, December 9, 2012
Big weekend for New Orleans in Dome
By David Helman and Gary Laney
NEW ORLEANS -- From a high school football perspective, this weekend was one of the biggest weekends in the history of the Big Easy.
Metro-area schools -- Metairie Archbishop Rummel in Class 5A, New Orleans Edna Karr in 4A and River Ridge John Curtis in 2A -- won three of the five state championships at the State Farm/LHSAA Classic at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Curtis, ranked No. 3 in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings, made a pitch for a national championship after No. 1 Bradenton, Fla./ Manatee was upset by Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas in the Florida Class 7A playoffs.
Here's a look at the games in the Superdome:
LSU commit DeSean Smith had two touchdown catches in the Class 5A championship game.
Archbishop Rummel (Metairie) 35, Barbe (Lake Charles) 14: Rummel held the state's leading passer, Barbe's Kennon Fontenot, to 167 yards on 13-for-26 passing and the state's leading receiver, 2014 Watch List member Trey Quinn, was held to 45 receiving yards on four receptions.
The key, said Rummel coach Jay Roth, was keeping the receivers covered even when the nimble Fontenot broke outside the pocket.
"It was great coverage," Roth said. "We've seen it all year. When somebody comes up to tackle [Fontenot], somebody comes open. We stayed on the receivers and kept a spy in. I'd rather him run for two or three yards than throw for 30 yards down the field."
Fontenot did throw two touchdown passes to ESPN 150 tight end DeSean Smith, the LSU commit who showed remarkable hands for a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder in a couple of tough catches. Smith also had a touchdown catch on a Hail Mary on the first half's last play, but it was called back by a penalty.
Rummel, meanwhile, controlled the line of scrimmage and received an efficient day from senior quarterback Damian Williams, who was named Rummel's outstanding player after completing 11 of 13 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and running for 52 yards on 14 carries. Williams is a name to keep an eye on for signing day. The senior showed a strong, accurate arm, good decision-making and a powerful, fullback-like ability to run with it.
One of his touchown passes was to Cethan Carter, a 2013 tight end/fullback hybrid who is starting to receive late interest from major college programs.
Edna Karr (New Orleans) 29, Neville (Monroe) 22: Easily the best game of the weekend was the highly-anticipated rematch of the 2011 4A championship game. While last year's meeting was a lopsided Neville win, the 2012 edition was a classic slugfest between unbeaten teams -- a game in which the Cougars upended Neville for their first title since 1993.
The main selling point of the night was the matchup of Karr quarterback Speedy Noil, a 2014 ESPN Watch List member, and Neville quarterback John Diarse, an LSU commit and ESPN 300 member.
Fans got a good glimpse of Diarse, who will likely play wide receiver at LSU. Diarse put the Tigers on his back, carrying 25 times for 130 yards and a touchdown and completing 7 of 12 passes for another 120 yards and a touchdown. Diarse was running for his life from 2014 Watch List defensive end Gerald Willis and the rest of Karr's pass rush for the majority of the night, but he managed to work his way out of trouble time and again for positive yardage.
Diarse stole the show, but Noil quietly played an effective game on a hobbled ankle. The junior managed just 25 rushing yards and a touchdown, but he completed 7 of 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. After a Neville field goal put the Tigers ahead 22-21 with six minutes to play, Noil led the Cougars downfield effortlessly for the game-winning score.
Parkview (Baton Rouge) 42, Notre Dame (Crowley) 7: Quarterback Brennan Bozeman ran for 70 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 95 yards and another score as the Eagles' vaunted triple-option offense rolled up 416 yards.
Hazekiah Randolph, the Eagles' bullish 215-pound 2013 RB, added 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a game lacking major college talent.
John Curtis (River Ridge) 35, Evangel (Shreveport) 13: Evangel opened the game with an eight minute drive in which quarterback Dakota Duron masterfully moved the Eagles downfield with short passes. When Evangel reached the Patriots' 20, however, it all fell apart. A wide receiver fumble wound up in the arms of Curtis linebacker Duke Riley, who brought it back 75 yards for a touchdown.
Duron left the game in the second quarter with a broken collarbone, and from there Curtis went into cruise control. The Patriots only needed one touchdown after halftime -- a 4 -yard plunge from tailback Tevin Horton -- to claim their second consecutive title and 25th overall.
Ouachita Christian (Monroe) 20, Haynesville 8: Colby Webb rushed for 99 yards and all three OCS touchdowns as the Eagles defended their 1A state title and completed an undefeated season.