Pios close out regular season at Kaplan
CROWLEY – Notre Dame and Kaplan are not likely to surprise each other when the teams close out the regular season with the district 6-3A title on the line. The schools have been here before.
Their last meeting was a nearly identical situation in week ten of the 2010 season. The district title was on the line, both teams were unbeaten in the league, the Pios had not lost in nine games and Kaplan had just one early season setback. The game did not pan out as the hype previewed with the Pios dominating from start to finish for a 35-7 win. Kaplan scored late to avoid a shutout and Notre Dame took a knee at the Kaplan three as time ran out.
This time around, Kaplan again has an earlier loss, only this season it was a league setback to North Vermilion. The Pirates can force a three way tie with a win whereas Notre Dame has a chance for the outright title.
“A lot is on the line for their guys, as well as ours, with the district race still up for grabs,” reflected Pios coach Lewis Cook. “It’s not easy to win all ten games, so our guys have a chance to do something special. I know it means a lot to them and hopefully we have prepared in practice to play well. We just want to take care of business and finish what we started.”
Kaplan head coach Stephen Lotief is no stranger, having coached on the Pios staff for Cook. The Pirates have put together three straight winning seasons under Lotief, going 7-4 overall with a playoff appearance cut short in the first round by Loranger (47-14) last fall. The Pirates were 9-3 in 2011 and 8-2 in Lotief’s first season at Kaplan.
“We know they will be ready to play us and probably have some things in the works for us,” added Cook. “Football is a game of adjustments and no matter how well you plan for someone all week based on what you have seen, you get to the game and they will be doing something different. That’s why we like to defer on the coin toss and get the ball to start the second half. We can make those adjustments at halftime from what we learned earlier in the game and come out with the things we feel will work best.”
Kaplan has furnished the opposition 25 times since 1970. The Pios hold the advantage 20-4 with one tie game.
In a program long associated with such terms as “wait your turn” and “it’s their time to step up” it has been an eye opening season for the Pios. Coach Lewis Cook and his staff have turned to more sophomores this season than ever before and it has paid off in big terms.
“The coaches were talking about that the other day and how we have really grown up as a team,” continued Cook. “You have to realize those sophomores are pretty good players. I’m real proud of guys like Lance Bertrand that stepped in against North Vermilion to carry the load and Joe Faulk has run the ball well, caught passes and returned punts. Defensively, we haven’t had to do that as much, but there are some underclassmen we are excited about.”
The Notre Dame defense has still not allowed a first quarter point to be scored, but the Pios did trail in a game for the first time this season. North Vermilion All-State kicker Trey Broussard nailed a 51-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter for a 3-nothing Pats lead. Notre Dame then scored 42 unanswered points to make a statement.
“He hit that kick right down the heart,” Cook added. “You get to see how your team responds when you get into a situation like that and it helps you down the road. We need to just keep trucking ahead.”
GAME BALL AWARDS
Big Play of the Game - Mathew Hanks forced fumble – Trailing 3-0 and after an interception halted a PIos scoring threat, Hanks turned the game back around on a third and nine at the North Vermilion 44. Hanks found a path the QB Ty Desormeaux and knocked the ball loose for Hunter Stelly to recover at the Pats 45. The game was all Pios after that play.
Gavin Bourgeois - Second quarter 61 yard punt return for a TD was a back breaker. Pios had just taken a 7-3 lead and defensively forced the kick with a three and out.
Lance Bertrand and Joe Faulk – Stepped in to handle the running game duties. Bertrand averaged over 9 yards a touch with 74 yards on 8 carries. Faulk averaged almost 14 yards a carry with 69 yards rushing, including a 15 yard TD run, and two receptions for 23 yards.
Hunter Stelly – He was all over the field with 15 tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Stelly leads the defense with 80 tackles for the season.
Kevin Frank – Caught 5 passes for 93 yards with a 31 yard TD.
Brad Stoma – completed 9 of 14 passes for 141 yards and a TD and ran for an 8 yard TD.
All the talk was about defense heading into this season at Kaplan. The Pirates returned nine starters from a team that held opponents to an average of 15 points or less.
Three year starter Slade Boullion (6-0, 210), who also plays tight end on offense, and junior Jalen Bates (6-4, 230) return at defensive end. Seniors Chris Trahan (6-1, 210) and Matt Broussard (5-11, 260) are the tackles.
Three of four linebacker starters return with seniors Beau Frith (5-9, 185) and A.J. Perro (5-10, 185) and junior Nigel Pascual (5-7, 160). Senior Austin Abshire (5-9, 210) steps in at the other spot in the 3-4 defense. Seniors Matt Miller (5-8, 140), Lane Broussard (5-10, 150) and Tyler Lege (6-0, 155) lead the secondary.
There are new names and faces, but few surprises from the Kaplan offense. Seniors Matt Boullion (5-6, 210) at center, Kaleb Guidry (5-9, 190) at guard and Cody Broussard (6-0, 210) at tackle anchor the line.
Starting QB Jade Herpin was lost to a torn ACL against North Vermilion four weeks ago. Senior Devontae Davis (6-2, 195) was moved over from wide receiver and the offense has since become even more run oriented.
“They took their best wide receiver out of the passing game to fill the spot,” explained Pios coach Cook. “Davis is as good an athlete as they have and they are utilizing him as best they can by designing a few things for him to move the offense. Having to make that move, though, meant they lost a good target on the outside and they aren’t throwing the ball very much.”
The attack is now based on the run with senior Tyson Broussard (5-8, 165) gaining 140 yards on 27 carries in the win over Abbeville last week. Seniors Kaylon Rudd (6-0, 185) and Dylan Roussel (5-9, 185) also carry the pigskin.