Notre Dame slips past Cecilia
BY LANCE REED
LSN STAFF WRITER
LAFAYETTE – They were the first two teams to dance in Friday’s version of the Kiwanis Football Jamboree in Lafayette at Cajun Field.
The Notre Dame Pioneers and the Cecilia Bulldogs got in on in front of an outstanding crowd and gave the fans plenty to cheer about for the two 12-minute periods.
It was a chance for the fans and coaches to get a glimpse into what their respective football teams might look like in 2008.
For the players, it was a chance to get some of the nerves settled and get back into the groove of playing the American classic. What better place to play football, but on the artificial turf of Cajun Field.
The first period saw nerves really come out as the both squads were hit with penalties. This is a common occurrence in jamboree because the kids are not used to going against other teams as much. After the nerves settled, both teams battled really hard in the middle of the field.
The Bulldogs put a pair of drives together that looked good, but did not result in scores. The first possession was 10-play drive that moved the Bulldogs near the red zone. However, the Pio defense stiffened and kept the CHS boys off of the score board.
“I think our guys were a little nervous tonight” said Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook. “On offense, ten of those guys were walking on the field for the first time ever. I think the same could be said about them (Cecilia). They had a bunch of new guys out there. They are not a whole lot different than we are.”
Later in the first period, the Dogs put another good drive together. This time, it was a nine-play drive that moved Cecilia into a position to score. However, a clutch sack by junior linebacker D.J. Welter shut down the drive. When the Dogs did not score, it seemed to take the wind out of their sails.
The second period belonged to the Pioneers.
After the defense forced a punt, junior quarterback Ryan Leonards went to work. After a good run, a yellow hanky put the Pios in a second and a mile situation. A very good run from Jack Thomas Hundley put the Pios in a third-and-20 assignment. Cook decided to go to the air in this situation.
Leonards dropped back and found sophomore utility player Stew Cook wide open down the field. The play amounted for 40 yards and put the Pios in a great position to score before Leonards punched it in for the six-point score and Stephen Benoit booted the extra point.
The NDHS defense stood tall again and forced another punt from Cecilia. It was obvious the 7-0 lead helped the boys in navy and red to settle down.
The defense would not give up any big plays for the remainder of the game and keep the goose egg on the score board.
The offense put a classic NDHS drive together in the final six minutes of the contest. They milked over five minutes off of the clock with some good runs from Hundley, Cook and Logan Venable.
“I think the thing that hurt them the most was that we converted that third and long situation,” Cook remarked. “Then the penalty got us in a situation where we could kick the ball in the end zone. I think that kind of took the emotion out of them.”
Leonards had a great night the Pioneers. The junior quarterback managed to hit receivers on third down and fourth down situations to keep drives going. The youngster showed poise and seemed to become more and more comfortable with each possession.
“Ryan did a nice job tonight,” said Cook. “We opened the game with a pass and he put the ball where only one guy could catch it. He did well and made some nice passes tonight.”