You might even call it throw back football! This game was to be played as it was before the days of internet website scouting, reports on team tendencies and game films that can be stopped, reversed and analyzed over and over. Line them up and try to stop one another.
What you can’t possibly plan for is clear skies turning into a torrential downpour with lightening. After over an hour delay and standing water on the field Notre Dame and Comeaux coaches decided to call off their effort to play Saturday’s game.
“We talked about the pros and the cons and how much good we would get out of continuing,” explained Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook. “We had the kids standing around soaking wet and with the last lightening strike we would have had to wait at least another 30 minutes, putting us at nearly a two hour delay.”
In what was able to be played Saturday, Notre Dame was holding on to a 7-nothing lead nearing the end of the first quarter. The game was not without its moments, however.
The Pios gambled on the first possession, but Luke Broussard was stopped inches short on fourth and two. The ND defense held and Comeaux missed on a 42 yard field goal attempt.
On the next play, sophomore quarterback Brad Stoma play faked and found senior wideout Nicholas Benoit breaking behind defenders down the middle of the field. Stoma lofted a perfect pass that Benoit hauled in at the fifty and outran the defense for a touchdown. Dustin Reiners added the extra point for a 7-nothing lead with 8:18 on the first quarter clock.
That’s when the fun began!
On the ensuing kickoff, the Comeaux returner made an ill advised catch of the kick running out of bounds at the Spartan five. A first down completion from Comeaux QB Travis Southland to tailback Tyrek Malveaux was throttled by Pio Gavin Bourgeois for a two yard loss.
Two plays later, Southland hit Donovan Martin for an apparent 96 yard touchdown, but the play was called back for offsetting penalties. A fourth down punt appeared to line drive off a Notre Dame player at the line of scrimmage. After a scramble for the ball that ended up at mid field, officials gave Comeaux a first down at the Spartans 17.
The Pios forced a punt and Comeaux took advantage of a pair of Notre Dame penalties to force a punt from the Pios 16. That is when lightening prompted officials to remove the teams from the field and begin a delay with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.
Cook did get to see a few things in the brief time the game was played. For instance, if there was any doubt about a passing game, the potential is obviously there. On the other hand, two yards on two plays trying to pick up a first down was a concern.
“The touchdown was a nice play. Brad (Stoma) made a nice throw between two defenders and Nick (Benoit) made a good catch to take it down and outrun everyone. It was disappointing to not be able to get that yard we needed, but we have a package with our fullback (Austin Thibodeaux) moving to tailback with some power blockers and we will have to look at using it in that situation again.”
Notre Dame had to cancel its season opening trip to Shreveport when the remnants of Hurricane Isaac made the Friday game with Southwood unlikely. Morgan City backed out of the trip to Comeaux due to storm aftermath which prompted the Spartans to suggest the game.
“Our kids were really excited to be playing after it looked like we wouldn’t have any game at all. I think we got some quality work and benefited from the competition even if just for a quarter. We got work on kickoffs and punts, our offense got a score and our defense came up with a stop to keep them off the board. It was disappointing to go through all we did to try and play a game and come away with nothing, but it also will be a help for next week.”
Notre Dame will try again to kickoff the season by hosting Breaux Bridge Friday at Gardiner Stadium.