Playing the No. 1 team in the state is never easy.
The Vandebilt Catholic football team found that out the hard way on Friday night.
The Terriers took on University Lab in the quarterfinals of the Division II State Playoffs – a matchup between the bracket’s No. 1 and No. 9 seeds.
Vandebilt fought hard, but eventually succumbed 44-6 to a University team loaded with size, speed and skill. Terriers coach Jeremy Atwell said he is proud of the way his team played, touting that sometimes the score isn’t indicative of how things are going in a program.
“We made strides this year,” Atwell said. “We’re continuing to do the right things in this program, and I think that the kids are continuing to buy in and take notice. We’d have loved to win the football game, but University is a great team. Our kids battled hard. We just couldn’t pull it off.”
The Cubs established their dominance from the first seconds of the game.
University got the ball first and scored within a minute on a long pass from quarterback D.J. White to Chris Raymond to go up 7-0.
The Cubs never looked back, using big play offense to roar ahead 30-0 at halftime.
“We needed to be about as good as we could be,” Atwell said. “But we just made too many mistakes.”
In the second half, University pulled back and worked the clock, adding two more scores to bring their final tally to 44 for the game.
The Terriers lone score came at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a long touchdown reception by Kane Degruise, which made the game 44-6.
Atwell said the hardest part of losing a playoff game is the finality that comes with saying goodbye to senior players in a program.
The coach said the Terriers have a pretty big, impactful slate of players about to leave the program, including guys like Jonah Pitre, Chase Hutchinson, Grant Stevens, Claude Thompson, David Yancey and the injured O’Shawn Henderson, among others – all of whom made a big impact on the field this past fall.
Atwell said he challenged the junior class over the weekend to step up and continue to lead the same way these seniors did.
The Terriers season ended with a 5-7 record.
“They dedicated themselves to the program, and they’ve been a great senior class,” Atwell said. “It’s always hard in the last game, but we want them to know that they’ve done a great job in their time here with the team.”
E.D. WHITE FALLS TO ST. THOMAS MORE
While Vandebilt saw its season end in Baton Rouge on Friday night, rivals E.D. White suffered the same fate, except in Lafayette.
The Cardinals fell to St. Thomas More by a 49-7 margin – a game that was out of reach pretty early in the game.
The Cougars scored on the first play from scrimmage – an 80-yard bomb to receiver Trevor Begue to give St. Thomas More the lead. From there, the Cougars added two more scores over the next eight plays to grab firm control and a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The second quarter action slowed up some with St. Thomas More scoring just once to take a 28-0 halftime lead. But they revved up the engine again in the third quarter with three more touchdowns to go on top 49-0.
E.D. White got its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 99-yard drive capped by a 35-yard scoring run from halfback Blake Grabert to send the game to its final margin. •