THE POST-SIGNAL / Christell Faul
Notre Dame’s Joseph Brown runs past a Teurlings’ defender last week during the Pios’ 46-26 victory over the Rebels at Gardiner Memorial Stadium. The Pios travel to Kaplan tonight for a 7 p.m. contest.
Pios travel to take on the Kaplan Wing-T
No matter how you get there, being 2-0 with a win over your longest rival is a sweet start to any season.
The Notre Dame Pios picked up their fifth straight win over Teurlings in a shortened week with a Wednesday night game ahead of Hurricane Delta.
Head Coach Lewis Cook will take them any way they come.
“We are all such creatures of habit with everything being a day-to-day process of set routines. There is no doubt we are pleased with what we have seen. After finishing practice on a Tuesday thinking we had a game on Friday and showing up at school Wednesday to play that night I am certainly pleased with the results.”
This week presents another top five rival in the Kaplan Pirates with meeting number 30.
Notre Dame took a 38-22 win last year at home. The Pirates scored twice in the second quarter for a 16-14 halftime lead and the Pios scored on three straight possessions to start the third quarter. Lucas Simon gave ND the lead with a 38 -yard field goal and the Pios then scored two TDs to go on for the win.
There is no better example of contrast in styles than what the Pios saw last week and what they can expect this week from Kaplan.
“A perfect game for Coach Lotief would be to not throw a pass and we don’t look at it that way,” added Cook. “They won’t throw a lot of formations at you, but the goal is the same. They want to control the tempo and shorten the game. So while our approaches are somewhat different, we have the same thing in mind.”
It is well documented that Kaplan Coach Stephen Lotief was once on the Pios staff with Coach Lewis Cook. This year the Pirates bring another former ND coach in defensive backs coach Fred Menard who served as defensive coordinator under Cook.
“Kaplan has two former Pios coaches and a former player in Nick Benoit who was a receiver for us in 2012 on their staff. So, it poses a little bit of a challenge for us being that they have more of an understanding of what we do.”
Kaplan dropped its opener to Church Point, 12-0. The Bears did not get to play last week against Vermilion Catholic due to school closures over the weather. With a week and a half since the last play date for the Pios, it is likely both teams will be anxious to hit the field.
“Football is a game of adjustments and that is going to be important this week,” added Cook. “They have only played one game and that doesn’t give us a lot to go on and leaves us a little unsure of what we may see from what we saw last season. Our guys just want to go out and play and will adjust to what we see.”
One of those adjustments will be the stated 4-2-5 base defense that changes with the play and situation.
“They play with three linebackers, but one of them ends up on the front line,” explains Coach Cook. “They will change depending on personnel and situation between an odd front with three or an even front with four and that means moving a linebacker or other player around. We’ve played against both and that goes back to adjusting to what they do as the game goes along.”
Senior QB Parker Seilhan had a rough start to the season in the opening win over Comeaux, but what a difference a couple of practices can make. Seilhan completed 8 of 14 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 49 yards on eight carries.
“Parker was really focused in and he is fighting hard to get his rhythm back,” Cook noted. “He is a big, strong kid that can run, and he made some big plays with his feet and some big throws with his arm. I think he will only continue to get better. He only had four starts last year and that is not really a lot of experience for a quarterback. So, I was glad to see Parker step up and make some plays for us.”
PLAY OF THE GAME
Lance Castille 76-yard interception return for a touchdown – Castille gets the nod over several big plays in the game. The 73-yard TD pass from Parker Seilhan to Luke Yuhasz was certainly a thing of beauty. Tight end Joe Brown working free in the end zone on fourth and three to catch a 7-yard TD pass before the half was a big play. But THE play of the game came from Lance Castille. With Teurlings basically matching Pios scores in a 27-19 game, Castille stepped in front of a Rebels pass to intercept and return 76 yards for a touchdown and turn the tide. The Teurlings QB then got picked by Nick Gautreaux on the next possession and that was all she wrote.
When it comes to the Kaplan Pirates, you pretty much know what you are going to get year in and year out. Head Coach Stephen Lotief has kept it rather simple for his team and it has paid off with 88 wins in his lengthy tenure at Kaplan.
Returning to carry the load in the backfield are senior running backs Drake LeJeune (6-0, 195) and Hayes Abshire (5-9, 180).
LeJeune led the Pirates in rushing last season with 889 yards and seven touchdowns. He is a three-year starter and could only manage to pick up 28 yards on 13 carries against Church Point in the opener.
Sophomore Caiden Campisi was the leading ball carrier with 41 yards on 15 carries in that game and is expected to continue to be involved in the run game.
Running the offense is returning senior quarterback Mason Frick (5-10, 175). He is one of a pair of two-way starters this season for Kaplan, doubling as a defensive back. Frick is also a capable passer for the few times opponents have seen that from the Wing T attack. In the opener he struggled with just three completions in nine attempts with two interceptions for 73 yards.
If the opportunity arises, Frick has two returning wide outs in seniors Alex Zaunbrecher (6-2, 174) and Eliot Bourque (5-9, 155). The Pirates also line up a tight end in Senior Slade Hollier (5-10, 190) as a third option downfield.
For the Wing T to succeed it starts up front, and Kaplan has two season returning starters to anchor the offensive line. Seniors Brennan Kass (5-10, 260) and Kavan Comeaux (5-11, 245) provide the physical size and experience and will welcome three new faces to the trenches.
On defense, the Pirates return all three linebackers, and two each on the defensive front and secondary. Senior Cameron Mire (6-0, 195) and sophomore Ethan Vigneaux (5-8, 240} return up front in the Kaplan 4-2-5 base defense. Senior Quinton Lemaire (6-2, 240) steps into the opening on the line.
Senior Rhen Renfrow (6-0, 220) and junior Orlando Roy (5-10, 190) return at linebacker along with senior Ethan Waygand (5-9, 170). Waygand is the flex player on defense that will lineup in the secondary and as a linebacker and is a change of pace in the backfield as a ball carrier. Renfrow and Waygand were All-District performers for the Pirates last season.
Rounding out the secondary is Seniors Treyton Schexnaider (5-8, 155) and Derion Turner (5-8, 160) and junior Cameron Mouton (5-10, 170).