Take last year’s game in Crowley when the Pios recovered a muffed punt at the Rebels one yard line with less than two minutes to play and punched it in for a 21-15 win.
The rivalry moves to Lafayette this season where the buzz this fall is this could be the best Rebels team in quite some time. The first two weeks of the season have done little to question that optimism.
The Rebels opened with a 19-7 win over another future Pios’ opponent, Catholic High, New Iberia. Last week, Teurlings blasted Alexandria, 39-7, for a win in the first game at their new stadium.
If you are looking for a “Game of the Week” candidate, look no further. Both sides know this game always shapes up as a battle and both teams probably check their schedule for this date. While the rivalry usually leaves little to the imagination, Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook sees a noticeable twist this time around.
“Teurlings has always come in with the high powered spread offense that can put a lot of points on the board,” said Cook. “In the past that may have masked some holes on defense and they also gave up some points. This team is a little different with eight pretty good players that returned on defense, so this game is setting up as more of a knockdown, drag out contest.”
WEEK 2 RECAP
Let’s be honest. With Notre Dame trailing 21-2 and only about a quarter and a half left to play last week, who really thought there was actually a chance the Pios could mount a come back?
Breaux Bridge had scored to take the lead at the end of the first half, scored seconds into the second half on a fumble return, intercepted a Pios pass and scored again for a 19-point lead. The Tigers had stymied the Notre Dame offense and appeared to be in complete control of the game.
Not so fast.
The only folks who really needed to believe a win was still possible were standing on the Notre Dame sideline.
This was no fluke win. It was a Pios defense taking back control with stop after stop, three error free scoring drives, a special team blocked punt to swing momentum, big offensive plays on crucial downs and sheer determination.
There may have been some bigger single plays in other games or possibly a game winning drive in a more important playoff game. But the win last week has to be the most impressive comeback win in the long history of Notre Dame football. The effort will certainly be remembered by the Pios coach.
“I don’t think I have seen anything quite like that in all the years I’ve coached, especially against a quality team like Breaux Bridge,” said Cook. “We got on a little bit of a roll and after their last touchdown they really weren’t able to do much with the football. That was the reason we decided to punt with four minutes to play. They weren’t running against us, we had all three of our timeouts and felt we could get it back.”
GAME BALL AWARDS
Offense - Austin Thibodeaux – The senior fullback moved to tailback in the second half and led a power running attack with 77 yards on 18 carries, running over and through opponents for two touchdowns and a two point conversion.
Defense – Kipp Credeur - This ball could have gone to the entire second half defense, but Credeur was an inspirational leader for the unit with 14 tackles and three sacks, one of which was a tackle in the end zone for a safety.
Special Teams – Hunter Stelly – With nine tackles in his first start at middle linebacker, the junior had a solid game, but his blocked punt to start the fourth quarter was a momentum changer.
Big Play of the Game – Brandon Leger - Trailing 21-16 with two minutes to play and facing a third and 13 at the Breaux Bridge 33, the Pios lined up with “trips” left and Leger drew single coverage on the right side. The senior receiver streaked down the sideline and QB Brad Stoma lofted a pass to his outside shoulder. Leger jumped and turned, shielding the defender with his body to make the catch for a first down at the three.
Head coach Sonny Charpentier has been a fixture at Teurlings with 152 wins in 16 seasons. The Rebels dropped a 17-7 second round playoff game at Lutcher last season to cap a 9-4 year and Charpentier has added two wins to his total this year.
Teurlings returned an experienced team with 14 starters back in position, solid front lines on both sides of the ball and that always pesky spread offense. This might also be his most physical team.
The defense was expected to be a strength and that certainly seems to have been the case so far. Six of the front seven are back with senior starters J.T. Hebert (6-1, 230) and Patrick Langlinais (6-1, 200) at the ends. The tackles will be seniors Logan Dupre (6-2, 220) and Jessie Provost (6-2, 270).
In the opener, the Rebels allowed highly regarded CHNI quarterback Joe Lissard to pass for 184 yards, but it took 45 attempts with only 19 completions. The Panthers running game was held to minus six yards and the offense converted just 3 of 20 third down plays. Against Alexandria, the results were reversed as the Rebs were stingy against the pass and gave up over 150 yards rushing.
“Half of those rushing yards came on one play and the Alexandria score came on a 77-yard interception return,” notes Cook. “The rest of the time they didn’t give up very much. The front four is big and physical and the linebackers are active and experienced as well.”
Starting QB Conner Cronin (6-5, 225) returned to the lineup last week after being sideline with a separated shoulder suffered in the preseason scrimmage. The senior transfer from University High, who sat out last season, threw for two touchdowns. In his absence, backup Brye Latiolais proved capable, throwing for 174 yards against Catholic, New Iberia, with a 24-yard touchdown pass to slot back Phillip Vidrine (5-8, 160, Sr).
“They started the year with two quarterbacks, had the injury and are now back to the original guy,” says Cook. “They have shown a bit more tendency to run while trying to get both of them back in the flow, but that could change any time.”
Junior running back Zach LaFleur (5-9, 175) has a 42-yard TD run this season and is joined in the backfield by senior Blair Lormand (5-10, 170). The wideouts are Dylan Landry (6-0, 170, Sr) and sophomore Sage LeBlanc (5-8, 130).
“Being that this is the Teurlings game, that helps us get past last week and concentrating on this game,” added Cook. “Our team has seen them over the years and knows they are a good team. They know what kind of game we had last year and know we’ll have to be at our best. We preach all the time that the preseason is set up for a purpose. Five steps to take that get us to the next part of the season.”