The Covenant Christian Academy football team won again on Friday night, smashing Ecole Classique 42-6 in a game that was over by halftime.
But to get to the pot of gold at the end of the Friday night rainbow, the Lions had to endure a heck of a storm this past week – a stretch of days that will greatly impact the rest of the team’s season.
Four CCA players missed Friday’s game as part of a rash of pink eye that plagued several of the Lions’ starters throughout the week – an obvious annoyance to first-year coach Randy Boquet.
As if the viral eye infections weren’t enough, the entire course of CCA’s season changed on Thursday night when Lions’ quarterback Marquel Daigle severely injured his knee in a dirt bike incident – an injury that has placed young Dylan Sharpe into the starting role in the team’s Wing-T offensive attack.
Boquet said he’s proud of the way his team performed on Friday night but added that the injuries and illnesses are a bit frustrating because none of them happened within the confines of football.
Daigle is expected to be out for the season with his injury. One CCA player’s eye infection is so severe that he may be forced to miss this coming Friday night’s game – a home tilt with Crescent City.
“This has been a very interesting and trying week for us,” Boquet said. “I thought our kids showed a lot of perseverance and did a good job to get a win on Friday night, but it’s definitely a bit ironic the way everything went for us this past week. As a coach, you understand that you’re competing in a contact sport. It’s a bit ironic when you lose several kids in the same week to things that don’t involve any contact at all on the playing field. It’s a bad break. It’s unfortunate, but now we’re challenging our guys to shoulder a little more of the load and be better.”
For CCA, this past week of preparation was doomed from the start. Boquet said during film study on Monday, one of the Lions’ players asked to be excused because of irritation in his eyes. The next day, two more players turned up with the same ailment, which has been diagnosed as pink eye. On Wednesday, another player complained of eye irritation, putting him on the shelf.
Boquet said he hopes everyone’s eyes are back in order before this coming Friday night’s game, but there are still questions about All-District lineman Jacob Bates, who suffered the most severe case of the viral ailment.
As a precaution at a such a small school, Boquet said CCA is in the process of wiping down all of its doorknobs, desktops and other commonly touched items in an effort to kill the germs for good.
“This thing really threw us for a loop,” Boquet said. “With Jacob, we’re just sort of in wait-and-see mode. His mother texted us on Friday and said that the doctor told him that his case is so strong that he may be out another week, as well. So, as of right now, we’re hoping to have everyone back, but we know that there’s a chance that we may still be dealing with this thing again Friday.”
The infected eyes may go away, but Daigle’s ailment will last much longer than that.
Boquet said the Lions’ starting quarterback went against the wishes of his family, friends and coaches and rode his dirt bike on Thursday afternoon.
An accident occurred and Daigle suffered a “serious and significant” knee injury that will sideline him for at least the rest of the season.
“The metal peg that you rest your feet on basically went inside his leg and destroyed his knee,” Boquet said. “More than likely, he’s gone for the season.”
But instead of wilting in the face of adversity, the Lions roared.
CCA dominated from start to finish on Friday night, hammering Ecole Classique and putting the game away early. With all eyes on Sharpe in his first-career start, the youngster thrived, leading CCA down the field at ease throughout the game.
Boquet said he and the Lions’ coaches talked to Sharpe before the game and explained to him that he was now “the guy” for the small Houma-based private school, which has playoff aspirations in Division IV.
But the coach also added that without Daigle, the reality is that everyone on the entire team will have to pick up a little extra slack to keep the 3-2 Lions on the right track.
“We wanted the kid to stay calm,” Boquet said. “In today’s world of Twitter and everything like that, the photos of Marquel’s knee circulated around social media and got around all of Houma pretty quick. When you see those photos, it’s easy to panic, but as a coaching staff, we had to stay calm because if we panicked, we knew the team would panic. We wanted to set the tempo and have them follow our lead.”
The Lions did just that.
Sharpe completed 3-of-5 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, allowing CCA to roar to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to the blowout win.
Boquet said with a full week to get the lion’s share of reps at practice, he thinks Sharpe will get even better and that the Lions can continue to win games and stay on track.
Pink eye and dirtbike crashes – that’s not exactly the recipe any prep football coach will want in a given week during the season.
But CCA overcame the mess for one week, at least. And for that Boquet said he’s proud.
“I’m really happy with the way that we played, in spite of it all,” he said. “We miss our quarterback, but we want this to be a life lesson to our kids that every single action you make in life can have consequences that affect you, your teammates, your school and your family and classmates. We’re going to rally around this and continue to play hard. Everyone needs to step up.”
CCA wingback Devyn Allen makes a move and turns up the field during a game against Assumption. The Lions lost starting quarterback Marquel Daigle for the season this week after a freak dirtbike accident. His injury, plus a rash of pink eye, have the Lions reeling.