GONZALES — Junior quarterback Kullen Wheat suffered a broken collarbone in the second quarter of Friday’s 35-0 loss to Catholic, putting East Ascension’s offense in a hole early in their District 5-5A showdown.
Despite Troy Dunn’s best efforts to put points on the board, the Spartans’ offense couldn’t piece together a drive into the Bears’ red zone after the first quarter.
The Bears (2-2, 1-0 5-5A) took advantage of lackluster punt coverage for most of the first half, and that routinely set up Catholic in East Ascension (3-2, 0-1 5-5A) territory.
Catholic quarterback Landon O’Connor took control of the Bears’ ground game, scoring two of their three first-half touchdowns off of options. Running back George Hart added a 1-yard score out of the wildcat formation.
The Bears tacked on two more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
How it was won
The Bears moved the ball through checkdowns, screen passes and options, the majority of which were led by O’Connor. Catholic sealed the edge against the Spartans’ three-man front, to the tune of 140 yards and eight first downs.
O’Connor didn’t find much success in the deep and intermediate passing games, instead throwing short passes to receivers Daniel Harden and Reinholtz.
The dynamics of East Ascension’s offense changed once Wheat left the game in the second and Dunn checked in. Wheat spent much of the first half challenging Catholic’s secondary with a variety of intermediate throws, and while Dunn was also active in the passing game, the junior made the most of his opportunities on the ground as well.
Player of the game
Landon O’Connor, Catholic
O’Connor provided the game’s only consistent source of offense, and he did it almost exclusively with his legs. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 47 yards and had 12 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
They said it
Catholic High coach Gabe Fertitta on his team’s success on punt returns: “That’s been something that’s been a focus for us for the last four years now. Anytime a punt hits the ground, it’s usually a 20-yard gain for the punting team. I was a punt returner in college, and the only reason I was the guy back there is because I would catch it no matter what. We had three guys field punts tonight and all three guys never let the punt hit the ground. Once you get to where you can pin them back so they have to punt but you don’t ever let them get out of that negative field position, you can just suffocate them there.”
East Ascension coach Darnell Lee on backup quarterback Troy Dunn’s performance: “I like Troy at quarterback, and I like Wheat at quarterback. The unfortunate thing is we lost Wheat tonight. I know Troy’s capable. He’s shown some good things, though. He practiced the whole week at wide receiver because Wheat was at quarterback. We got him a few reps here and there just in case, and the ‘just in case’ ended up being a full-time deal.”
- East Ascension cornerback Kendrick Broussard blocked a field-goal attempt that would’ve put the Bears up two scores in the second quarter.
- East Ascension lost both Wheat and tight end Ja’Quel Mack to injuries during the game.
- Walter Samuel led the Spartans in rushing attempts (eight) and yards rushing (34). He finished second on the team in receptions (two) and yards receiving (28).
Credit: Source link