LAPLACE — The emotion went from elation to horror just like that.
Down seven points in the second overtime, Catholic High pulled to within one point on a five yard touchdown pass from Trey Amos to K.K. Reno. All that needed to happen was for J.P. Theriot to kick to extra point and the LHSAA Division III semifinal between CHS and St. Charles Catholic was headed to a third overtime.
Only this time, St. Charles crashed through the line attempting to block the kick and Theriot mishit the ball off the kicking tee and the football sailed under the bar — no good.
And just like that, the CHS faithful went from cheering to quiet and the home-standing St. Charles crowd erupted as the No. 3 seed Comets advanced to the Division III finals next week with a 43-42 win over the No. 7 seed Panthers.
“We fought hard. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game. We had plenty of opportunities to score more points,” CHS head football coach Brent Indest said. “We just didn’t get it done when we had to.
“It was a great atmosphere. It was a great high school football game. It’s one of those where it’s shame somebody had to lose. But we were on the short end and hat’s off to St. Charles.”
In a game of changing leads and wild momentum swings, the Comets were able to twice rally from behind and hold off Catholic High for the right to face Lafayette Christian Academy in the DIII finals next week at UL’s Cajun Field.
”We told out kids before the game it would be a 48 minute war,” long-time SCC coach Frank Monica said. “Hat’s off to Catholic High, they pushed us and we had to really play hard and the kids never quit in the game.”
The Panthers had two chances to win the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, a CHS drive got down the St. Charles’ one-yard line with time running out. But CHS fumbled the ball and the Comets recovered to run out the clock and force overtime.
Then in the first overtime, Amos scored on a 10-yard run to put CHS up 34-28 and Layne Lipari got control of a bad snap on the PAT and run around the right side for the two-point conversion and a 36-28 lead.
St. Charles then had possession of the ball and was held out of the endzone on a fourth down play, As Catholic High’s players celebrated, the officials ruled that CHS was guilty of holding and gave the Comets one more chance when they cashed in to make the score 36-34.
On the ensuing conversion attempt, the Comet quarterback Justin Dumas threw the ball to Kaden Foster who stretched out and got the ball into the end zone for the conversion to force the second overtime.
“We were going to call timeout before they ran the play but we decided to just play and our kids jumped on the ball right before the first overtime,” Monica said. “And I thought for sure we were done after they scored and got that two-point conversion in the first overtime. But our kids pride themselves on making two-point conversions and we ran a special play to force the second overtime.”
“We were trying to score right before overtime, not try for the field goal,” Indest said. “We were trying to kill two birds with one stone and get the ball to the middle of the field if we didn’t score.
“It’s unfortunate what happened.”
Before the late fourth quarter and overtime drama, the two teams went toe-to-toe in a game that saw four lead changes between the two playoff powers.
Catholic High took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on an Amos touchdown run. St. Charles scored the next two touchdowns on a Dumas touchdown pass to Kendall Harris and a Phillip Tran touchdown run to take a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
Catholic High tied the game late in the first quarter on a another Amos touchdown run and took the lead in the second quarter on Amos’ third touchdown run of the night for a 21-14 lead.
SCC came right back before halftime with Tran’s second touchdown run as the two teams went into half tied 28-28.
The Panthers took the lead in the third quarter on Amos’ fourth touchdown run of the night for a 28-21 lead and the Comets tied the game up in the fourth quarter on 47 yard touchdown pass from Tran to Dumas for the 28-28 tie and setting up the late heroics on both sides.
“I think that both teams found their rhythm later in the game,” Indest said. “Layne Lipari made a fabulous play on that two-point conversion because I don’t think that he would have gotten the ball down in time for the kick.
“We didn’t execute on multiple fronts on that kick because they blew through B gap on our right side between the guard and tackle and I think that JP just mishit it. It was just one of those things.”
Amos finished the night with 201 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Tray Henry added 101 yards as the Panthers finished with 354 yards rushing and 23 first downs in the game.
Still, even with the loss, Indest was pleased with the season where CHS lost its first three games, then rallied to win seven straight and two playoff wins for a 9-4 overall record.
“I saw major improvement on both sides of the ball on the offensive and defensive line,” Indest said. “Going from a team that started 0-3 and ended up beating Notre Dame in the second round was just phenomenal. Hat’s off to a lot of people but especially to Amos who showed in the last couple of games that he’s arguably the greatest athlete to come out of Catholic High.”