Pioneers impressive in scrimmage
By Chris Quebedeaux
LAFAYETTE – Not even heavy afternoon showers could put a damper on Notre Dame’s first test of the 2009 prep football season.
While most scrimmages took place on rain-soaked, muddy fields, the Pios and St. Thomas More were able to get a full workout in on the Cougars’ artificial turfed field.
“There is more than one reason we like to come here,” said Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook following the scrimmage. “It’s always great competition, and with all that rain today, we didn’t get muddy.”
Staying dry wasn’t the only thing that brought a smile to Cook’s face.
His defense, one that returns just four starters from last year’s Class AAA state runnerup squad, limited STM’s first team offense to just one first down in 12 plays.
And the Pios did all this without the services of Jacob Molbert, the 2008 LHSAA State Farm Prep Classic MVP, who was sidelined for the contest.
“We held Jacob out today because he has been nursing a hamstring,” said Cook. “It was a little wet today and there was no need to take a chance. We know what he’s capable of doing.”
STM’s longest play from the line of scrimmage in four series was an 8-yard run and the closest the Cougars got to midfield was their own 44-yard line.
“Their (STM) series of plays, they kept getting turned back,” said Cook. “I thought our defense really did a nice job. They showed today that they can hold up and hopefully do some good things.”
Cook was also pleased with team’s offensive performance.
The Pios logged four first downs in a 12-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard dive into the end zone by Marshall Watson.
One of the many highlights on the drive occurred on the first play, when Ryan Leonards hit Morgan Allen on a 40-yard pass.
“It was nice to get that big play to get things started,” said Cook of the first offensive play. “Ryan just put it in the spot and let Morgan go get it. That kind of set the tone.”
The Pios were hit for a dead ball 15-yard penalty on the ensuing play before Leonards went right back to Allen for 16 more yards. Then on third and short, Leonards hit Zach D’Aquin for another nine yards to get the Pios into the red zone.
Stu Cook slid over to quarterback on the next play and ran a keeper to the 14 before rushing three more times at running back to set up Watson’s touchdown.
“We had a couple other nice plays on the drive,” said Cook. “Zach made a heck of a catch on a third down for a conversion. There were some good things that happened on that drive.
“It got tough down there, but Stu got us to the goal line and Marshall knocked it in. We had to bow our necks. They (STM) are big and strong but I was glad to see us knock it in there.”
However, the first team offense and defense weren’t the only squads that caught the attention of Cook.
During the series with the third team, quarterback Waylon Young completed a 20-yard pass to Blake Miller and the running backs reeled off a number of nice runs despite not scoring.
The second team offensive series was highlighted by a 47-yard pass from Beau Petitjean to Robert Lavergne down the sideline.
“Every group executed some nice plays,” said Cook. “We might not have pieced together as much as we wanted but there were some bright spots in there.
“Blake (Miller) had a few nice inside catches. Robert (Lavergne) made a heck of an adjustment and Beau put it out there. Nick Gossen, Luke Besse and Logan Venable mad e some nice runs in there. We’re trying to spread it around so we can keep everybody fresh.”
The Pios return to action this Friday when they take on Cecilia at UL-Lafayette’s Cajun Field in the third and final game of the Kiwanis Jamboree. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m.