By Lyall Boudreaux
St. Charles Catholic pulled off a controversial overtime win over St. James 13-7 last Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Vacherie. With the win, the Comets secured the District 10-3A title.
Controversy erupted after it appeared that St. James had made a game-saving fourth down stop in the closing minutes of the game.
Faced with fourth-and-goal from the Wildcats five, Comets quarterback Justin Dumas threw an incomplete pass with 2:15 left in the game turning the ball over on downs.
However, pass interference was called on the Wildcats despite pleas to the officials from St. James coach Robert Valdez that the ball was tipped, keeping the Comets drive alive.
St. Charles responded on the following play with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Dumas to running back Joseph Chiarella and Cameron Fabre’s extra point kick tied the game at 7-7 with 2:12 to play.
St. James (6-4, 3-2) had one last chance to win the game in regulation as their final drive began with 2:05 left. Quarterback Shemar Smith led the Wildcats on a seven-play, 73-yard drive that reached the Comets 11-yard line.
Alec Mahler’s 28-yard field goal was blocked on the final play in regulation sending the game into overtime.
The Wildcats had the first possession in overtime and drove to the 2-yard line setting up fourth down.
On four-and-goal, Smith’s pass was tipped and intercepted by defensive lineman Jordan Brown of the Comets.
St. Charles Catholic responded on first down on their overtime possession with Dumas racing to the end zone from 10-yards out sending the Wildcats to a heart-breaking loss.
With both defenses dominating, the only points scored in the first half came on the Wildcats third possession of the game. The scoring opportunity was set up by a 70-yard punt by Mahler that pinned the Comets deep in their territory.
Following a three-and-out, St. James started their third drive at midfield and Smith directed a 10-play drive that was capped by Sean Lebeouf’s 7-yard touchdown run and after Mahler added the extra point the home team led 7-0 with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter.
SCC answered with a 12-play drive of their own and marched down to the Wildcats 24. On fourth-and-seven, Dumas threw an incomplete pass and the half ended with SJHS up 7-0.
Both defenses took over in the second half before the Comets starting moving the ball in the fourth quarter.
Again, the Wildcats turned the Comets away after the visitors put together a 15-play, 62-yard drive that ended on a fourth down stop but not before it took eight minutes off the clock.
The ensuing play saw the Wildcats fumble the ball away, setting the stage for the St. Charles game-tying drive that included the questionable pass interference call.
St. James out-gained the Comets 236 to 137 but committed three costly turnovers, including the interception in overtime.
The Wildcats were led by Lebeouf with 22 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown while Smith had 51 yards rushing and added 112 yards passing.
No. 9 St. James (6-4) will host district neighbor No. 24 Donaldsonville (5-5) in a Class 3A bidistrict round game this Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Vacherie. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.
St. Charles Catholic 13, St. James 7 (OT)
St. Charles Catholic 0 0 0 7 6-13
St. James 7 0 0 0 0-7
SJHS: Sean Lebeouf 7 run (Alec Mahler kick)
SCC: Joseph Chiarella 2 pass from Justin Dumas (Cameron Fabre kick)
SCC: Dumas 10 run
ST. JAMES WILDCATS
2018 Football Schedule & Results
8/31 West St. John 43-0 W
9/7 at Lutcher 29-26 W
9/14 at E.D. White 28-27 L
9/21 Wossman 45-28 W
9/28 at St. Amant 31-21 L
10/5 Donaldsonville 22-0 W
10/10 at Haynes Academy 43-7 W
10/19 De La Salle 21-19 W
10/26 Lusher Charter 49-21 W
11/2 St. Charles Catholic 13-7 L (OT)
*Class 3A Playoff Game