Catholic High beats VC
Alex LeBlanc turns the corner for Vermilion Catholic. He averaged 11 yards a carry. (Photo by Emily Gallet)
NEW IBERIA – It was over almost before it began.
When Catholic High quarterback Diallo Landry ambled for 71 yards on the game’s first play, it was a sure sign that the Vermilion Catholic Screaming Eagles were in for a long evening.
By halftime, the Panthers led 45-6 and had already piled up some 387 yards of offense.
The Eagles salvaged some pride in the second half of Thursday’s opener, gaining more than 200 of their 281 total yards after the break, but CHNI still cruised to a 52-26 victory.
Jadan Stokes netted 210 yards to pace a 514-yard ground assault in the win, scoring on runs of 43, 19, 48 and 64 yards.
Landry, whose opening dash set up a Ben Landry TD, had 139 yards on seven attempts with a 14-yard score.
When VC’s Matthew Fontenot claimed a Diallo Landry fumble at the Panthers 24, it set up JT Lege’s 22-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Alex LeBlanc to get the visitors within one score at 14-6.
But CHNI answered with a scoring march, and consecutive mishandled kickoff returns by the Eagles began the avalanche of points.
“We got the turnover and rallied to make it 14-7 (14-6), and then after that we couldn’t get anything going,” VC coach Ossie Blaize said. “We couldn’t make any plays the rest of the half.
“They’re an experienced team with some talented players, and we’ve got a lot of new people this year.”
The Eagles, who won last year’s meeting 35-21, scored in the second half on a 4-yard run by Kalix Broussard, Peyton Theriot’s 10-yard return of a Dylan LeBlanc fumble and a 27-yard run for Alex LeBlanc, his second TD of the contest.
Lege managed to hit 22-of-39 passes for 195 yards under pressure led by Zi’yon Hill.
“In the second half, we got a little confidence back,” Blaize said. “We got down, but we didn’t throw in the towel. We didn’t quit.
“Our offensive line blocked well, in spots. Our two fullbacks ran tough. We caught the ball toward the end. Last year we had that ‘go-to’ guy we could rely on in the passing game. We don’t have that this year, “We’ve got six or seven guys battling to be that go-to guy, to step into that role.”
Blaize remains focused on improvement, despite Thursday’s score and a daunting lineup to come.
“We’ve got the hardest schedule of any Class A school in the state,” said Blaize, whose Eagles play Class 3A members Kaplan and Erath in the next two weeks. “It’s not going to get easier quicker.
“Our motto is ‘Play fast, hit hard and grind,’ and that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll be all right by the time district rolls around.”
No one in 7-1A will look like the Panthers