Notre Dame entertains North Vermilion for league lead
Notre Dame’s Rankin Bihm (10), Matthew Hanks (22) and Hunter Stelly (35) stuff an Abbeville running back during the Pios’ 59-0 victory over the Wildcats.
CROWLEY - It’s crunch time for the Notre Dame Pioneers.
After a typically challenging early season, the Pios have cruised to three District 6-3A wins by the average score of 45-4. It’s a three team race with league unbeatens North Vermilion and the Pios squaring off Friday on Notre Dame Homecoming night.
“They’ve put themselves in a position to compete for the league championship,” said Pios coach Lewis Cook. “Offensively, they run multiple sets and give you a lot of different looks. Defensively, we expect them to do what others have by being aggressive up front to stop the running game.”
Tommy Byler is in his fourth season as North Vermilion head coach. Last year, the Patriots won a first ever football district title and advanced to the playoffs for the third straight season under Byler.
The Pats coach has seemingly been around football since birth. He is the son of area legendary coach Jacob Byler, who after years at Cathedral-Carmel in Lafayette, became the first head coach at St, Thomas More and concluded his career a few seasons ago at Erath.
“You don’t spend that much time together without developing a similar style,” explained Cook who has previousl coached against both. “He was with his dad a lot of years at Erath and they had the Fouroux brothers that were pretty good quarterbacks go through the system. With their talent, Tommy transitioned the program into a spread offense, used the running ability of the quarterback and became a multiple attack.”
The teams first played in 1993 with North Vermilion taking its only win against the Pios, 24-21. Notre Dame has won six straight posting a 21-0 win in the undefeated ’09 season and winning 48-20 the next season as district opponents. One of the Pios wins was a 29-15 playoff game on the way to the 2003 state runner up trophy.
Stated as nicely as possible, there has been no resistance from district opponents the past three weeks. Quite frankly, the biggest challenge has been getting players enough time on the field to keep them in game shape.
Pios starters have averaged about half a game in four of the last five weeks. ND coach Lewis Cook feels that is about to change these final two weeks of the regular season.
“We have been in this situation before and have had to bear down in weeks nine and ten because the schedule worked out that way. Three years ago, it came down to our game with North Vermilion and the week ten game with Kaplan when we were all in the same district then. For North Vermilion, with them already having beaten Kaplan, this is their championship game. So, fortunately, our last two weeks should be a little tougher and help us get some work for everyone to carry us into the playoffs.”
GAME BALL AWARDS
Big Play of the Game – Brad Stoma 35 yard TD run – By reputation, the Pios are probably not considered by many as a multiple threat offense. Stoma has given them that option. Scrambling away from pressure, Stoma eluded two tacklers and broke out the left side to outrun defenders.
John Michael Besse – Another argument for multiple threat! Besse averaged almost nine yards a carry, scored on a 17 yard run and a 23 yard pass.
Pios defense – No single player was on the field long enough for good stats, but collectively, the defense held Abbeville to one first down and minus 36 yards of total offense. Everyone gets a piece of the ball!
The 2012 Patriots finished 8-4 with a playoff win over Avoyelles (38-36) before falling in the second round to Iowa (28-17). The Pats have put continued success in the hands of youth.
Six starters return on offense, five of which are underclassmen and two of those are sophomores. The Pats have replaced three year starter Joe Duhon at quarterback with junior Ty Desormeaux (5-10, 155) and called on senior fullback Trey Broussard to carry the load.
“Their quarterback has a grasp of what they want to do on offense and that has allowed them to open it up,” notes Pios coach Cook. “He has made some nice throws and he executes the offense well.”
Two starters returned in the offensive front with senior tackle Tristan Rue (6-0, 200) and junior Cameron Touchet (6-0, 265) on the strong side. First year starters Ryan Meaux (5-10, 180 Jr) at center, tackle Grant Boudoin (6-1, 200 Jr) and senior guard Colin Vaughn (5-11, 185) round out the front line.
“Their running game is pretty good and they throw it well enough that you can’t load up,’ added Cook. “It will be a challenge for or defense. They try to keep it balanced so you can’t sit on one thing they do.”
Fullback Trey Broussard (5-10, 195) lines up behind quarterback Desormeaux (5-10, 155 Jr) in the North Vermilion “pistol” offense. Broussard is also an All-State kicker and punter to help out the Patriots special teams on the scoreboard.
“Broussard has a strong leg and can get it into the end zone on kickoffs,” added Cook. “They aren’t afraid to let him try a field goal from within forty yards. As a fullback, he is a stocky, tough kid and they will give it to him on the dive for inside yardage.”
Sophomore Dade Dietrich (5-9, 145) and junior Seth Patin (5-10, 155) are the wide receivers. Dietrich also provides a change of pace at quarterback. Junior Byron Turner (5-10, 175) is the tight end.
Defensively, North Vermilion runs seven experienced seniors out to starting positions.
“We expect they will try to force us to pass,” said Cook. “We’ve been able to make some plays in the passing game and have worked to where we don’t mind throwing it.”
Castle Drummer (5-10, 265) is a three year starter at defensive tackle. Colin Vaughn (5-11, 185) started the last two seasons at linebacker and has moved to defensive end. Senior Nick Cooper (6-3, 210) is on the other end of the line and sophomore Ryan Thompson (5-10, 215) is at tackle.
Seniors Colin Laird (5-10, 160) and Brady Lemaire (5-10, 165) join junior Terrance Lollis (6-2, 185) at linebacker.
The secondary is game experienced with Jawaran Windman (5-7, 140 Sr) and Jordan Windman (5-10, 150) at cornerback. Dominic Governale (5-11, 155 Jr) is the free safety and at strong safety is senior Seth Mouton (5-10, 150).