Instead of our traditional preview, we’re going to switch it up a bit here at VSN Louisiana and the NOLA Catholic League.
Rummel and Brother Martin both enter this premier Catholic League matchup at 5-0 overall and 1-0 and 2-0, respectively, in 9-5A. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Joe Yenni Stadium and the Raiders come into the contest fresh off a 42-0 victory over Shaw while Brother Martin took care of St. Augustine, 27-7.
Both teams boast exceptional defenses with Rummel giving up just six points in five games while Brother Martin’s starting unit hasn’t allowed more than 10 points in any game. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the upcoming showdown, and click here to see my picks and capsules for all Catholic League games including this one.
Rummel — Junior Kyle Wickersham is in his first year as a starter after transferring from Jesuit last season, and he’s primarily a pocket passer but has also shown he can hurt opponents with his legs. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder had a couple of bruising runs against Shaw last week, and seems to be finding his footing as a passer throwing five touchdowns over the last two weeks. Through five games, he’s 49-of-91 for 608 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Brother Martin — Sophomore Garrett Mmahat is in his first full season as a starter, but he actually has more in-game experience than his counterpart Wickersham. Mmahat got his first start in Week 10 of last season against Jesuit, and threw for 323 yards with a pair of touchdowns in last year’s Division I quarterfinal matchup against the Raiders. The Crusaders have leaned on their running game so far this season, as has Rummel, but Mmahat and the Brother Martin passing attack has shown it can strike for big plays with 14 completions over 15 yards so far this season. He’s completed 29-of-64 passes for 533 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.
Rummel — The backfield duo of senior Jaelen Sturgis and junior Logan Diggs makes for a common combination of a power back combined with speedy, big-play back. The last place you want to be is in a straight-on collision with the 5-foot-9, 230-pound Sturgis, and Diggs is a threat in both the running and passing game. He leads the team in rushing with 348 yards on 61 carries with a pair of touchdowns while catching nine passes for 106 yards with another score. Sturgis has picked up 281 yards on 50 carries with a score and has previously reported offers from Army, Navy and Nicholls. Diggs is also on college riders with interest form Tulane, Colorado, South Alabama and Missouri.
Brother Martin — Like Rummel, the Crusaders have relied on a two-headed attack in the backfield spearheaded by senior Chris Smith and junior Jaylon Spears. This tandem is a bit banged up, however, with Smith registering just three carries in an emergency situation last week after Spears left the game with cramps. Spears, the bruiser of the two, totaled 32 touches last week for 186 yards with two touchdowns, and he’ll at least have an extra day to recover with the Saturday kickoff.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Rummel — As most know, LSU commitment Koy Moore is the team’s most dangerous weapon on the outside, but senior Ivory Wilright has stepped up as of late with four touchdowns in the last two games. They’re the two primary threats in the passing game for the Raiders with Moore catching 15 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns to Wilright’s 12 catches for 183 yards with five touchdowns. The Raiders don’t use the tight end position much, but sophomore Tyronne Hayes does have five grabs for 56 yards.
Brother Martin — The Crusaders use a receiver-by-committee approach with a group that’s gotten most of its experience this season. Seniors John Louis and Joe Delaney lead the team in receptions with nine and six, respectively, for 118 yards with two touchdowns and 109 yards with one touchdown. Sophomore Austin Jackson also has five catches for 109 yards with two scores, both of which came against Jesuit. Like Rummel, Brother Martin doesn’t really use a tight, but Spears actually leads the team in reception yards with 204 and three touchdowns on six receptions.
Rummel — The Raiders don’t really have any marquee names up front, but they’ve gotten the job done for the majority of the season. They’ve created lanes in the running game and have given up eight sacks, but a handful of those have been due to Wickersham’s propensity to hold on to the ball looking to make plays downfield.
Brother Martin — In another similarity with the Raiders, Brother Martin doesn’t have any standout prospects here — yet. The group is still without a senior, but all five starters received significant playing time last year which has paid off this season. The unit is the backbone of the Crusaders’ rushing attack opening up lanes, and they’ve been solid in pass protection as well keeping Mmahat clean for most of the season.
Rummel — This group is anchored by South Alabama defensive end commitment Jordon Williams and junior defensive tackles Caboz Craig. The duo leads the Raiders in tackles for loss with eight and nine, respectively, and also have one and 1.5 sacks so far this season. Williams also has four quarterback hurries with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. Another name to watch out for in the future is 6-foot-2, 260-pound sophomore Marlon Baker, who moves very well for a player his size.
Brother Martin — A pair of seniors in Noah Labbe and Hunter Lassere are the staples for the Crusaders up front defensively. They are both very capable of rushing the passer as well as being stout defenders in the run game. Senior defensive tackle Kyle West also plays a key role as a run stopper, and the Crusaders also have two young prospects to keep an eye out for in freshman duo Kai Brown and Brenden Leblanc.
Rummel — This group is led by standout junior linebacker Kolbe Fields and senior Southern commitment Aaron Thomas. Fields leads the team in tackles with 25 while Thomas isn’t far behind with 18. Fields also has four tackles for loss and an interception to Thomas’ six tackles for loss with two interceptions, one of which went for a touchdown for the Raiders’ only points of a 7-3 Week 1 win over Charlotte Catholic (NC). Both are sideline-to-sideline defenders and Fields is being pursued by Tulane, Colorado and South Alabama.
Brother Martin — Senior Luke Schexnaildre and junior Noah Chachere are the leaders of the Crusader linebacking core. Both came up with turnovers last week against St. Augustine as Brother Martin racked up a season-high six takeaways. Schexnaildre had a great interception early in the second half and Chachere recovered a fumble that helped thwart a potential scoring drive for the Purple Knights. Senior Trevor Tate and freshman Rylon Johnson are also key pieces to the team’s linebacking unit.
Rummel — The Raiders’ secondary is absolutely stacked with five Division I prospects. Vanderbilt commitment Donovan Kaufman leads the way alongside 3-star safety Quinton Cage, who holds offers from Northwestern State and Houston Baptist among others. Cage also spends a chunk of his time in the box and is second on the team in tackles with 22 white registering two sacks.
The other safety spot opposite Kaufman is Nicholls commitment Corey Smooth, and cornerback Gavin Holmes is committed to Colorado while Malik Woodery recently de-committed from Southern. Woodery leads the team in interceptions with four while Kaufman and Smooth both have two.
Brother Martin — In yet another similarity, Brother Martin’s secondary may be the strength of its defensive unit. Georgia Tech commitment Nicholas Turner headlines the group, but the opposite senior safety Adam Randolph makes plenty of plays as well including back-to-back weeks with interceptions against Ponchatoula and Jesuit.
At cornerback, senior Davonn Moore is a multi-faceted player who stars in several areas for the Crusaders and he had a 45-yard pick-6 last week against St. Augustine. There’s another senior at the opposite corner in Jaiden Watson, who dislocated his elbow in Brother Martin’s jamboree but missed little to no time. He also had an interception last week against St. Augustine and has been very good in coverage deep down the field.
We’ll lump this grouping into one since the teams again share similar traits. Both have reliable senior kickers in Rummel’s Patrick Vanderbrook and Brother Martin’s Jack Landry. Davonn Moore can also be dangerous in the return game and returned a punt for a touchdown against Jesuit. Donovan Kaufman had multiple returns for touchdowns last season and Koy Moore nearly brought back a pair of punts for scores last week against Shaw.
Rummel LB Aaron Thomas — The way we practice (is the key to our defense). We’ve always got to stay disciplined, fit in the right gaps, know the call from our coaches and we’ve always got to play fast. Last week, we kind of played slow, and we didn’t like that because we know these next five games we can’t play slow.
We’re ballaholics. We’re going to ball, do what we’re supposed to do and it’s going to be a great game. Come out and support and it’s going to be a sight to see.”
Rummel CB Malik Woodery — “We have the same expectations (as every other game) — no touchdowns allowed. Anything other than that is an upset.”
Brother Martin LB Luke Schexnaildre — “We’ve been playing as a family, we’re all a bunch of seniors (in the secondary and linebackers) and we’ve just come together keeping our assignments and doing our routine stuff.
Rummel’s got a pretty good running game and I think the key to that game is stopping the run. I trust the DBs back there will make a play on the ball and hopefully we’ll play well as a team.”
Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis — “(Rummel’s) very talented in all three phases…They’ve got tremendous weapons on offense…special teams they do a great job schematically and obviously the defense speaks for itself. They haven’t given up a touchdown all year and they’re loaded with tons of talent and great players.”