Catholic League play resumes Friday with two premier matchups featuring Brother Martin vs. St. Augustine and Holy Cross vs. Jesuit. The Crusaders and Tigers both opened league play with wins last week over Jesuit and Shaw, respectively, but neither can take this week’s opponent for granted.
Meanwhile, Rummel will see its first Catholic League action against Shaw while John Curtis steps out of 9-5A play to host Lake Placid (FL) at Pan American Stadium. Here’s a look at all four matchups this coming weekend:
BROTHER MARTIN (4-0, 1-0) VS. ST. AUGUSTINE (3-1, 0-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.
Last Week: Brother Martin beat Jesuit, 31-7, at Tad Gormley. St. Augustine lost to John Curtis, 36-22, at Yulman.
Notable: Brother Martin stayed unbeaten with last week’s convincing win over Jesuit. The Crusaders had their best day through the air with sophomore Garrett Mmahat completing 8-of-12 passes for 211 yards with three touchdowns, all of which traveled at least 44 yards. All but one of Mmahat’s passing attempts came in the first three quarters as the Crusaders played it conservative after building a 31-0 lead. Junior Jaylon Spears handled the workload after Chris Smith went down with a collarbone injury on what appeared to be a late hit late with just over three minutes left in the second quarter. The senior didn’t return to the game but did practice this week and will be a game-time decision, according to coach Mark Bonis.
St. Augustine announced itself as a potential contender in the Catholic League last week going toe-to-toe with perennial power John Curtis. The Purple Knights put themselves in position to win the game forcing four turnovers, the last of which could have set them up for a go-ahead score about midway through the fourth quarter. A missed field goal kept the score knotted at 22, though, and the Patriots popped free for another long gain on the ground for a touchdown as they pulled away down the stretch. Coach Nathaniel Jones and his staff took no moral victories away from the matchup, however, and will be hungry for their first Catholic League win of the season come Friday night.
Pick: St. Augustine, 20-17.
JOHN CURTIS (4-0) VS. LAKE PLACID-FL (3-3)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Pan American Stadium.
Last Week: John Curtis defeated St. Augustine, 36-22, at Yulman Stadium. Lake Placid beat Frostproof, 41-20, at home.
Notable: Last week’s win over St. Augustine gave Curtis its second straight 4-0 start while extending its regular season win streak against in-state opponents to 31. The Patriots have also won 20 consecutive Catholic League games dating back to 2015, but last week’s win didn’t come easy. The Patriots and Purple Knights were tied at 22 over midway through the fourth quarter, but Curtis came up with a big red zone stop after a turnover that soon turned into Collin Guggenheim’s third touchdown run of the night. The Army commitment had touchdown runs of 52, 43, 76 and 1 yard while Georgia commitment Corey Wren had an 88-yard scamper for a score. The Patriots completed just one of three passes but were dominant on the ground once again rushing for 355 yards. Their defense has shown to be a bit vulnerable at times, however, surrendering 349 yards of offense to St. Augustine, but the unit has proved capable of coming up with stops when needed.
Lake Placid has been a fairly average team record wise going 6-5, 5-6 and 4-6 the last three seasons and they appear to be on the same track this year. The Dragons don’t appear to have any top-tier recruits and come into their matchup against Curtis averaging 26.5 points per game while giving up 29.2 points per game. Their largest margin of victory was a 54-20 win in Week 1, but their largest margin of defeat was 53-0 against a current 3-2 Centennial team. Lake Placid has been hot over the last couple of games, though, scoring 37 and 41 points, and they struck for big plays last week with scores of 40, 54 and 48 yards as they outscored Frostproof, 28-13, in the second half.
Pick: John Curtis, 45-14.
HOLY CROSS (3-1, 1-0) VS. JESUIT (2-2, 0-1)
When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Where: Tad Gormley Stadium.
Last Week: Holy Cross beat Shaw, 55-13, on the road. Jesuit lost to Brother Martin, 31-7.
Notable: Holy Cross won its third straight game with last week’s overwhelming win over Shaw. The Tigers blocked two punts early in the game that helped them build a 35-7 lead by halftime, and junior quarterback John Wooton was extremely efficient going 12-of-16 for 233 yards with four touchdowns. Junior Jaden Handy also had a pair of touchdown runs and the Tigers have righted the ship offensively averaging 38.0 points per game in their last three outings after scoring just seven points in their opener against St. Thomas More. The defense has also allowed just 12.3 points over that same span, and forced four turnovers in Week 1 against the Cougars that helped the Tigers stay within striking distance for most of the night.
Last week was a struggle to say the least for Jesuit as a slow start snowballed into a lopsided loss. The Blue Jays gave up touchdown passes of 74, 62 and 44 yards, and two of those appeared to be coverage busts with receivers running free downfield. A punt return for a touchdown just before halftime also proved to be a tough blow for Jesuit, but they weren’t terribly overmatched physically outside of the big plays surrendered. They were only out-gained 307-275 in terms of total offense, and that was without their top two receiving threats in Luke Besh and Luke LaForge. Quarterback Grant Jordan showed a ton of grit and toughness routinely scrambling to buy himself time in the pocket or pick up yardage with his feet. His effort paid off late in the game with a sensational play evading pressure before launching a 35-yard strike to Presten Berggren in the end zone for Jesuit’s only score. While the game was already decided, it could be a sign that the Blue Jays still have some fight in them. They’ll certainly need it as they suit up for the second straight rivalry game, and this one will be featured in the Great American Football Rivalry Series as the 100th meeting between the two teams.
Pick: Holy Cross, 24-17.
RUMMEL (4-0, 0-0) VS. SHAW (2-2, 0-1)
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Joe Yenni Stadium.
Last Week: Rummel defeated Ruston, 41-0, at Joe Yenni. Shaw lost to Holy Cross, 55-13, at home.
Notable: Rummel rolled to its second 37-plus point win of the season with Saturday’s throttling of Ruston. The Raiders recorded their second shutout of the season and still haven’t given up a touchdown winning their other two games against Charlotte Catholic (NC) and Oak Grove (MS), 7-3, on the road. The unit forced an absurd seven turnovers with five coming in the first half, all of which were interceptions by Southern commitment Aaron Thomas, Nicholls commitment Corey Smooth, 3-star safety Quinton Cage, Southern commitment Malik Woodery and Vanderbilt commitment Donovan Kaufman, who returned his 52 yards for a touchdown. Thomas and Woodery also recovered fumbles in the second half for Rummel’s last two takeaways.
The offense also had its most productive outing of the season with quarterback Kyle Wickersham leading the way. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and senior Ivory Wilright was his favorite target catching four passes for 76 yards with a pair of scores. Junior running back Logan Diggs also had a strong outing rushing for 100 yards on 16 carries, one of which saw him hurdle a defender in spectacular fashion. Rummel is firing on all cylinders heading into Week 5 and look for them to have another big game on both sides of the ball.
It was a rough outing for Shaw last week as they suffered their largest defeat of the season in their Catholic League opener against Holy Cross. Special teams were an issue as two punts were blocked while a couple of others were brought back for big returns, which certainly played a large role in the lopsided loss. The Eagles have also had to make due without senior quarterback Tyler Nichol last week, but freshman Brandon Edinburgh did hit freshman Michael Williams for a 63-yard touchdown early in the game. Shaw is quietly in good hands at the quarterback position in the future, though, after the transfer of 6-foot-4, 200-pound Stephen Banford Jr., but he won’t be eligible until next season after transferring from Warren Easton just before the season, then transferring from Belle Chasse to Shaw after Week 2.
Pick: Rummel, 34-10.