Terriers are the real deal in Division II

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This past week stunk.

It all started out OK, but it ended with me sick as a dog – the victim of an annual sinus infection that attacks me when summer turns to autumn and the weather starts to change.

But in between all coughing, runny noses and achy joints, I got a chance to watch the Vandebilt Catholic football team in person – something I had been looking forward to doing all season.

My conclusion is about what I expected it would be.

The Vandebilt Terriers are 100 perfect for real.

With wins over Newman, St. Charles Catholic, CCA and South Lafourche, among others, it will take one heck of an effort for someone to knock these guys off on any given Friday night.

Of course, the guy who generates a lot of the headlines for the Vandebilt attack is sophomore quarterback Andrew Robison.

And rightfully so.

The kid is a beast.

He has the best arm of any sophomore quarterback I’ve seen in this area since Ryan Perrilloux, and he’s a cool customer at the line of scrimmage. For a sophomore, Robison commands a huddle really well.

He makes checks at the line of scrimmage like a senior, and he isn’t afraid to let a teammate know if they’re out of position or aren’t properly aligned.

Once the play starts, Robison is one of the most elusive players in the area. He escapes free rushers at will, and gets outside of the pocket, while still keeping his eyes down the field.

Once that happens, he often flips the ball deep to receivers who’ve broken off their routes – something that’s been the source of a lot of the team’s big plays this season.

One critique of Robison’s game that I have is that he should run the football more. He often gets outside the pocket and could run for 10-15 yards, but opts to try for the bomb, instead.

The kid could easily be a 1,000-yard rusher, and I’d like to see him run the ball a little more. But I guess, that’s easy for me to say when I’m not the one being hit by 230-pound defensive linemen.

But outside of Robison, the Vandebilt offense works because it has weapons.

The one-two halfback punch of Michael LeCompte and Brennan Rogers is tough to stop – each is capable of getting 100 yards on the ground on a given night.

In the passing game, Robison has plenty worthwhile receivers, as well.

Rogers can catch it at a high level for a halfback.

On the edges, the Terriers have a ton of skill guys, including James Parrott, Roland Johnson, Landon Thibodeaux, Brody Fister and Kane Degruise.

Up front, the Terriers are sound and do a lot of things well, which, of course, allows all the playmakers the opportunity to be successful.

But for all the love the Vandebilt offense gets, I want to spend a lot of this column talking about the team’s defense, because for my dollar, it’s those guys who may be why they’re an elite-level team.

Vandebilt scores tons of points, yes.

But they also are capable of getting stops, as well.

The Terriers have allowed 20 or fewer points in five of their seven games this season – including on Friday night when they limited South Lafourche’s high-powered offense to just 14 points (seven of those points came because of a long kickoff return, which put the defense against a short field).

Outside of shootouts against Central Lafourche and Newman, the Terriers have been flawless on the defensive side of the ball, and they’ve stymied opponents and have kept them out of the end zone.

The biggest reason Vandebilt has defensive success is because they’re stout on the defensive line and, really, in the entire front-seven.

Vandebilt doesn’t allow many rushing yards, which puts opponents in a lot of third down and long yardage situations.

With the defensive line holding blockers, linebackers are able to finish plays with a bang. And once the Terriers get opponents off the field offensively, it turns the ball back over to Robison and that powerful offense – a cycle of success that’s awfully tough to beat.

With the win over South Lafourche, Vandebilt is now in the driver’s seat to win the District 7-4A Championship, which if successful, it will be the team’s first district crown under coach Jeremy Atwell.

From there, they will head to the Division II State Playoffs, where they’re expected to be one of the top seeds – a squad that could be in line to host several home playoff games.

How far they’ll go, I’m not sure, because Division II is loaded, and features a slew of powerhouse programs.

But I’m not betting against these guys to do big things.

I saw them with my own eyes for the first time Friday night.

And just about everything I saw was impressive.

Those guys do things at an elite level in all phases of the game.


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