“We put ourselves in a position to take the lead or take over the game in the second half and just didn’t complete the plays to do that,” said Pios coach Lewis Cook. “If you look at the second half, they didn’t really threaten us and we were down inside their 15 three times and came away with just 3 points. Give them credit for turning us away, but to run the ball for over 220 yards against their front was a pretty good effort on our part. It wasn’t any one play, there were numerous chances for us to take the game. We have to get better at finishing to take advantage of those opportunities.”
WEEK 2 RECAP
Believe me! I have tried for two weeks to avoid directing attention to the quarterback. But, the quarterback has made it just about impossible to ignore the position that was a big question mark coming into the year!
Brad Stoma keeps making great throws and big plays in the Pios offense. Sure, he’s getting a lot of help with some equally impressive catches from his receivers, but his play is elevating their play and that of the whole offense. That is complimentary to the entire team.
He is not the first Notre Dame QB to play at a high level. There is a long list of capable leaders under Cook’s tenure with the Pios, including others on this team.
Has it registered yet that Stoma is a sophomore heading into his third start? The only other sophomore asked to carry that type of load under Cook was his son, Jeff, who by that time had probably walked the sideline as much as the coach and knew the playbook as well also.
“We’re asking a lot of Brad right now and he has done some really good things on the field. He continues to adjust to the speed of the varsity game and that will help him learn when to step up and keep the pass alive or get rid of the ball to play another down. We’ve tried to stay away from putting the game on his shoulders this early, but he has responded to whatever we have asked of him.”
Stoma completed 7-of-14 passes for 117 yards and a fourth down touchdown pass in the opening win against Breaux Bridge. Against Teurlings, Stoma was 9-of-16 for 118 yards and a 39-yard touchdown pass that was put the only place it could be completed.
“If you just look at this, we played two highly ranked 4A teams and he has made a big throw at the end of each game that helped us win one and the other that could have won the game. He had a couple of throws on the final drive that gave us a chance to win. We’ve had seniors that couldn’t put us in that position.”
GAME BALL AWARDS
Offense – Marcus Garrett – For the second week in a row, the senior receiver came up with a highlight catch for a touchdown. With a defender in front and another trailing, Garret went up between both to grab the Stoma pass at the ten yard line and somehow kept his balance into the end zone. Game Ball Awards are not all about stats and Garrett’s 3 catches for 60 yards were all clutch.
Defense – Caleb Lambousy – Moved from strong safety to outside linebacker due to an injury that kept last week’s game ball recipient sidelined, the junior led a strong defensive effort with 9 tackles, one for a loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback sack.
Special Teams – Mathew Hanks –Sometimes being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. Handling your responsibility usually puts you in the right place and that is where Hanks was when Teurlings muffed a punt at the Rebels 35 yard line. Hanks recovered the loose ball and that set up the Stoma to Garret TD catch. What we all would like to know is how? Hanks appeared to be on top of two Rebels scrambling for the ball. All that matters is it came up in the hands of #33.
Big Play of the Game – Teurlings defensive back Willie Smith – The only way Pios running back Luke Broussard was going to be denied the end zone on that 75-yard sweep down the sideline, was a great defensive play. Yeah, it was a fumble, but watch the replay. Smith covered a lot of ground to catch up at the ten, grab hold with his right hand, punch the ball out from behind with his left, knock the ball carrier down and recover the loose ball in the end zone. No matter how unfortunate, or which team he was on, this was just a great defensive play!
Notre Dame will host St. Louis Friday night for Homecoming at Gardiner Stadium.
Last year, St. Louis defeated the Pios, 9-6, in a game that is probably best forgotten. Neither team could crack 200-yards of offense and St. Louis led six-nothing on two field goals with less than three minutes to play.
ND’s Luke Broussard scored on a 14-yard run to tie the game and the Pios failed to convert the extra point. St. Louis got a 27-yard field goal in the first overtime to take the win.
The Saints opened this season with wins over Sam Houston (23-7) and East St. John (24-20). Last week, St. Louis trailed Jennings 21-6 with seven minutes to play and rallied to send the game to overtime before losing 29-28 on a 2-point conversion.
“They have great special teams play and that is always a weapon for them,” notes Pios coach Cook. “They make field position tough with their All-State punter from last year (Alex Kjellsten) now handling all the kicking. He has kicked a 52-yard field goal, his punts hang up there making it hard to get returns and most of his kickoffs go into the end zone making you start from the twenty.”
The only two starters back on offense are quarterback J.P. Crawford (5-10, 165, Sr) and tight end David Pigno (6-4,220, Sr). Crawford threw for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. Last week against Jennings, Crawford threw a six yard TD pass with six minutes to play and scored on a three yard run with three minutes to go that sent the game to overtime. Senior Blue David moved from QB to tailback to handle the running duties, but is working behind an entire new front line.
“They are scoring a lot on good teams, ” added Cook. “They give you a lot of looks and always scheme well against us. We have to be prepared for them to throw a little something at us we haven’t seen and they always seem to come up with answers for what we are trying to do.”
On defense, the Saints also return just two starters. Defensive end David Rau (6-2, 220) and tackle Grant Reddoch (6-0, 225) will have to lead the Saints if they are to improve on a 6-5 record and repeat as District Champs, which the Saints three-way shared last season.
“Their strengths are offense and the kicking game,” concluded Cook. “We will have to possess the football to keep them off the field and the scoreboard. If we finish drives and score and take those weapons away, we can get back on track.”