“Our program is coming along,” said Fontenot, following his team’s 28-7 loss to cross-town and District 4-3A rival Notre Dame. “We’re not at that level yet where we want to be, but we strive to be there and we are going to get there.”
The loss was the seventh of the year for the Gents (2-7) who entered the season with high hopes, especially after a season-opening victory against perennial 3A power Patterson.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, improved to 7-1 and remained unbeaten in district play. The No. 3-ranked Pios can wrap up another outright district title next week with a win against South Beauregard.
For the Gents, stopping the run on defense and sustaining drives on offense were their two goals against the Pios.
Unfortunately, they were unable to achieve either.
“We knew we had to be perfect tonight and we really weren’t,” said Fontenot. “It is just hard against those guys (Notre Dame). They are great; they are big and strong and they’re well coached.”
The Pios, led by quarterback Brad Stoma, and running back Luke Broussard and John Michael Besse, reeled off 463 total yards and limited the Gents to just 258.
Stoma, a sophomore, completed 8 of 10 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns; Broussard rushed for 126 yards and Besse gained 96 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Offensively, Crowley was limited to just 48 plays, 34 of in the first half. The Gents had the ball for just over nine minutes in the first two quarters and were on the field for just over seven minutes in the second half.
The Gents picked up 171 yards on 28 runs and they completed 11 passes for 87 yards.
Danny Malbrough and Chris Lewis led the Gents’ ground attack by picking up 95 and 59 yards respectively.
Quarterback Andre Mills completed eight passes for 65 yards while Malbrough completed one pass and Jacquo Price was 2-for-2 through the air for 16 yards and a touchdown.
Chanz Moore had six receptions for 50 yards, Malbrough had two for 21, Thomas Cavell hauled in two passes for 10 yards and Jerry Dregin had one catch for six yards.
“They (Notre Dame) got a little tighter on the coverage which was smart because they knew we were going to throw our little quick stuff,” said Fontenot. “They took it away for some smaller gains than we would have thought. They had a good plan.
“And then when we tried to take our shots over the top, we just missed them.”
On the ground, the Gents had their moments, but they only 2-for-10 on third down conversions.
“We had a lot of third-and-shorts, but when they dial it down on their coverage and we’re trying to get some quick stuff off...they made it tough,” said Fontenot. “You’ve got to make a good throw and get it in there and we just didn’t. We didn’t convert.”
Notre Dame, on the other hand, had little trouble converting.
The Pios made the best of their opportunities, converting on seven of their 13 third-down attempts. Overall, they racked up 24 first downs and won the time of possession battle by keeping the ball for just under 32 minutes.
“We just couldn’t get them off the field,” said Fontenot. “They converted a lot of third downs and that was big. You got them on first and second (down) and you would think that a running team like that, you hope you could hold them on third down.
“But they did a lot of good things. They threw some little short six- and seven-yard passes and they completed them.
“We were close, but we have got to get them off the field on third down.”
The Gents’ lone scoring drive, late in the fourth quarter, was set up by a goal line stand that forced the Pios to turn the ball over at the CHS 1-yard line.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Fontenot. “I don’t care who’s in the game, you stop those guys on the goal line when you could have easily just gave up.
“It’s 28-0...there’s no other reason to stop them other than just pride and kids that just don’t want to give up. I’m very proud of them for that.”
The Gents took over at its own 1 and Danny Malbrough broke off a 49-yard run on the first play. A horse collar penalty moved the ball to the ND 35 and then a defensive holding penalty had the Gents facing a first down from the 25. The drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jacquo Price to Chanz Moore.
“Yeah, they (Pios) had the young guys in,” said Fontenot, “but we came in, put something together and scored.
“We’re not naive, we know who’s out there. But we could have gone out there and not done anything.
“For those little things, for that stuff, that’s what I’m proud of and I always will be.”
The Gents wrap up their 2012 season next Friday at home against Westlake.