“Fortunately we got on them right away and it went like we hoped it would. We were able to get ahead and let some guys get in there and play. We wanted to take care of business right away and I was proud of the way our kids did that.”
Notre Dame ran 12 offensive plays in the first quarter, gained 191 yards and scored five touchdowns. The Pios defense held the Knights to 18 yards on 20 offensive plays in the first twelve minutes.
“With what we’ve been through to this point, we’ve had some challenging games, and to not have to play the whole time should help us. We found out about ourselves the last four games and prior to that.”
South Beauregard had an early spark on the game’s first possession with tailback Kelly Courville carrying three times for the only Knights first down of the quarter. It was a short lived celebration as stops by Pios linebackers Kipp Credeur and Hunter Stelly forced a punt.
Luke Broussard gathered in the kick at the Pios 36 yard line and weaved through defenders for a 63 yard return to the Knights one. Making his return from injury, fullback Austin Thibodeaux ran it in standing up and Dustin Reiners kicked the extra point to put the Pios up 7-0 three minutes into the game.
On the next South Beau series, Gavin Bourgeois intercepted a pass and set up the Pios offense at the Knights 39 yard line. After an incomplete pass Luke Broussard swept left on second down and turned the corner for 15 yards.
On first down from the Knights 24, Broussard burst through the middle of the defense and made a cut to the end zone. Reiners added the PAT for a 14-0 lead at the 7:06 mark.
South Beauregard has struggled through a two win season, compounded by injuries to key players. Thousand yard runner Joe Ledet lasted just one play on a severly sprained ankle. Starting QB Zack Brady couldn’t play against the Pios and the Knights missed on their first five pass attempts.
Even a pair of penalties failed to slow the Pios attack. The first cancelled a 24-yard Luke Broussard punt return on the third Knights series and Pios QB Brad Stoma countered with a 22-yard swing pass completion to fullback Ross Cullen on first down.
A quick outside screen to John Michael Besse went for a 30-yard TD, but was also called back. Playing first and 15, Ross Cullen took a handoff on the right edge and popped outside for an eleven yard gain.
From the Knight 24, Besse turned in a highlight reel run, making a move to get outside on the right side and at the Knights 15, leaving a defender stumbling in the other direction. The 24-yard TD run put the Pios up 21-0 with 4:14 to play.
Notre Dame scored on all five first quarter possessions, the next covering 75 yards in just three plays. Luke Broussard took a lead draw 60 yards to the South Beau 15 and a personal foul on the tackle gave the Pios first and goal at the eight.
Austin Thibodeaux knocked a tackler out of the way at the line of scrimmage and ran over another at the goal line for his second TD of the night. Reiners kicked the PAT for a 28-0 lead.
Another three and out and a three yard punt gave ND a first down at the Knights 24 with a minute to go in the quarter. John Michael Besse took it straight up the middle on the first play and the Pios led 35-0 with just 57 seconds left in the quarter.
“We came out and looked quick and played fast. We blocked well and ran hard and those were things I was hoping to see. John Michael and Brousse just looked way faster than anybody else out there.”
Pios defensive end Clint Reiners recovered a fumble two plays later at the South Beauegard 44-yard line. The ND “second wave” took over in one of the earliest exits by the “ones” in several seasons.
Quarterback Jeff Michael Daigle came in to engineer the ten play drive that ran 5:02 off the clock. Junior tailback Noah Touchet got the call eight times for 31 yards and sophomore fullback Ivy-Paul Robichaux had two carries for 13 yards. Touchet covered the final two yards for the touchdown and a 42-0 lead.
The Knights drove past mid field for the first time on the next series keyed by a 31 yard pass from Matt Trahan to Pryce Fontenot. Two plays later, DT Conner Kirsch pressured the Knights QB into an intentional grounding and when Trahan went deep on the next play, Gavin Bourgeois nabbed his second interception of the night and sent the teams to halftime with the Pios on top 42-0
The second half was uneventful, South Beau getting on the board when tailback Kelly Courville broke down the Pios sideline for a 34 yard TD run. The Notre Dame defense quickly regained control when ND linebacker Mathew Hanks made consecutive stops for no gain and the offense kept it grounded with freshman QB Joe Faulk running the offense and junior James Kratzer running for tough yardage to run out a 42-6 win.