Notre Dame hosts Parkview in title game rematch
CROWLEY – Say or think whatever you want, but don’t for a minute believe Friday’s rematch with Parkview Baptist has not been on the minds of every Notre Dame player for the past year. Getting to the Dome was a great accomplishment for the 2012 Pios, but the ending, a 42-7 loss to Parkview, was to those players frustrating and uncharacteristic of the season and the team.
“It still comes down to playing a good game this week,” assessed Pios coach Lewis Cook. “The biggest thing for us is they have beaten us three times in a row and it is time for us to turn the trend regardless of what happened last year. Our attitude going in will be the same as always, to play our game and execute what we do best.”
In contrast to the playoff road taken last season, Cook has had the advantage of resting players this time around. Lopsided wins mean the starters haven’t made it past halftime since the week five win at Catholic High.
“Our preparation for this game hasn’t been any different. We just have to be ready to play. Hopefully, the rest has done us some good and there isn’t too much rust because we haven’t gotten to play that much. If there is a concern, it is that we need to be able to be strong in the fourth quarter and we haven’t been pushed into the fourth quarter since week five.”
There are no official records to indicate that the defensive spectacle last week ranks anywhere but tops in area high school football. The Pios scored five defensive touchdowns and don’t forget the second half kickoff was also returned for a score but called back by a phantom penalty.
“I’ve had entire seasons without that many interceptions, much less having them go for scores,” noted Coach Lewis Cook. “Our defense is playing at a high level and we will need that this week.”
Leaving the Superdome last season, media members shared an elevator with Eagles coaches who basically admitted to selling out on the run with the belief the Pios would not try to throw against Parkview. The Pios only attempted seven passes in that game, but Cook stops short of crediting the Eagles with the change this season to shot gun and pistol formations in his offense.
“That was more for Brad (Stoma) coming back and that he throws the ball so well. We backed him up to open up a few more things for us. Now, we are pretty much running our same offense, but just from different sets and looks. Hopefully, that gives our opponents something to think about.”
GAME BALL AWARDS
Big Play of the Game – Hunter Stelly 68-yard interception return for TD – After a three and out first offensive possession and Thomas Jefferson pieced together a march into Pios territory, Stelly began a defensive avalanche of scoring with a burst of linebacker speed to score the first points of the game.
Kade Smith, Caleb Lambousy, Gavin Bourgeois – It was a defensive night and all three had interceptions returned for TDs. Smith also forced a fumble and recovered for a score.
After six straight District 7-3A titles, Parkview Baptist was unseated by new league member University High after a 42-35 loss to the Cubs in week six. The Eagles have also been denied a true chance to defend their 3A State championship because of the split playoffs.
Parkview improved to 8-2 on the year with a 14-0 win over E.D. White in the post season opener last week. While the Eagles were able to record good numbers on offense, the 327 total yards didn’t pay off on the scoreboard.
Defensively, Parkview held the Cardinals to 161 total yards with 46 yards coming on one pass play. E.D. White drove 67 yards on the ground in the third quarter for a first and goal at the one. A personal foul penalty and a 16 yard sack by the Parkview defense resulted in a missed field goal. The rest of the game was dominated by the Parkview defense.
Head coach Kenny Guillot has built the Parkview program around his philosophy of consistency. Only the names change in an offense and defense that remain basically the same from season to season. The Eagles flexbone offense averaged over 40 points in their seven regular season wins.
“It’s a variation of the wishbone triple option with a dive back and the quarterback run or pitch,” explains Coach Cook. “Their backs are on the wings, closer to the line of scrimmage, and are used as blockers. They got on or guys last year and we couldn’t get out on the pitch. They have a good misdirection game and being close to the line, they use motion to get the backs into position, coming around off fakes to go the opposite direction.”
Guillot has fourteen seniors in his starting units that have been consistent enough to help the Eagles head coach achieve a 146-30 record at the Baton Rouge school. What he doesn’t have this season is the one guy that made it all work to perfection.
Sophomore quarterback Reggie Hayes replaces three year starter Brennan Bozeman who last season ran for three TDs and threw for another against the Pios. After a bad punt gave Parkview a short field last week, Hayes put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a 23 yard TD run out of an option play on their first possession.
“It’s hard to replace a guy that has run your offense for three years,” added Cook. “Bozeman was also a threat throwing the ball and had some big completions against us last year. What they got from that position last year and now having a sophomore playing for the first time, even with a season under the belt, we hope that is something that plays in our favor.”
Hayes finished the night with 95 yards on 15 runs and threw for 133 yards. Parkview drove 70 yards late in the second quarter with Hayes scrambling for 22 yards and connecting with Seth Shah for a 32 yard pass completion. Houston Robert scored from five yards for what would eventually be the 14-0 final score.
One of the main reasons for Parkview’s recent success is the ability to win in the trenches. The Eagles again field an imposing offensive front with four seniors led by center Luke Gomez (6-2, 270). The guards are Austin Stevens (6-3, 255) and Lucas Reeves (5-10 255). Adam Tarver (6-2, 235) mans one of the tackles spots with junior Austin Speice (6-1, 245) on the other side.
“They are still pretty good up front,” said Cook. “They returned everyone there and the backs run hard. They have a new guy pulling the trigger and everything they do starts there.”
Running back Eric Martinez (6-1, 215) gained 102 yards on nine carries in the 2012 title game. The senior is also starting on defense at cornerback. The Eagles roll in a bevy of running mates including juniors Houston Robert (6-2, 175) who had a five yard TD last week and Aaron Leonard (5-11, 185) who scored three times against West Feliciana two weeks ago.
Senior Tom Wing (6-2, 175), the younger brother of former LSU punter Brad Wing, and Seth Shah (6-1, 185 Sr) are the receivers. Shah is another two way player and had an interception last week.
“They always have a guy or two on both sides, trying to get the best players on the field,” Cook noted. “They have been forced to use personnel from both sides due to injuries. Their senior nose guard Austin Taylor (6-1, 310) tore his ACL the first week and they have been shuffling offensive linemen in to try and cover that loss.”
The Eagles 3-3 defense presents a lot of different looks for opposing offenses. The front line is now anchored by seniors Mike Tarwater (6-1, 245) and Alex Ginn (6-1, 235). Tee Sparrow (5-11, 185) and Blake Taylor (6-0, 175) are senior playmakers in the secondary.