A trip to Natchitoches is on the line when the Catholic High Bears battle the Brother Martin Crusaders in the Yurview Louisiana Game of the Week on Friday night. The winner will advance to the Division One State Championship game.
A contest that will be played at Turpin Stadium on Northwestern State’s campus as the LHSAA has made the decision to hold the Prep Classic at a venue other than the Superdome in New Orleans for the first time since 2005.
The Bears are no stranger to playing in a state championship game. They have appeared in the last three Division One state title games, losing the last two seasons to Rummel and John Curtis. But winning the school’s second state title in 2017 when they defeated Curtis 20-14.
Catholic enters Friday’s contest with a 6-2 record after playing four teams that won a state championship a year ago. They lost to four-time Class 4A champion Edna Karr, Division Two state champion St. Thomas More, but beat Class 5A champion Acadiana and last year’s Division one winner Rummel last Friday.
On offense, the Bears use a bevy of backs. George Hart has 12 rushing touchdowns and is coming off a 192-yard rushing performance in last week’s 42-35 quarterfinal win over Rummel.
— Josh Sibley (@RealJSibley) December 5, 2020
Junior Corey Singleton rushed for 122 in the win over the Raiders, and is the team’s leading rusher with 645 yards and six touchdowns. Singleton is averaging nearly 10 yards per rush.
Freshman Daniel Beale started at quarterback for Catholic in the victory over Rummel. Beale’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Harden was the winning score against the Raiders. He also threw the winning touchdown against Acadiana.
Beale has been taking most of the snaps ever since Landon O’Connor suffered a high ankle sprain in the week seven win over Acadiana. O’Connor could play Friday against Brother Martin. He has thrown four touchdown passes, and is also dangerous running the ball, with 476 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns.
Tre’ Benson is their big play receiver with 17 catches for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Daniel Harden also has three TD grabs on the season.
Another Tre Benson rushing TD.
And Catholic is back even with the XP. pic.twitter.com/xM9YMe3bWP
— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) December 5, 2020
Three-star, Class of 2022 recruit, Emery Jones leads the offense. Jonathan Beale is the starting center and is the older brother of quarterback Daniel Beale. Jonathan has the smarts to play the position as he scored a 36 on the ACT.
Michael Cerniauskas leads the defense. The Army commitment has two interceptions on the season.
Brother Martin is the feel-good team of this 2020 season. Every day is blessing for Head Coach Mark Bonis, who at this time last year was fighting for his life after he needed emergency surgery to repair a ruptured abdominal aorta less than a week after his team lost in the semi-finals to Rummel. He spent eleven days in the hospital.
And this past summer, Bonis’ young child Marc had surgery to correct a birth defect in which his intestines, liver and other organs stuck outside of his body through his belly button.
— BrM Student Section (@TheSaderSection) December 15, 2019
His team has shown the fight the Bonis family has displayed as the Crusaders are 8-0 and won their first Catholic League Title since 2008. Four of their victories were by three points or less, including last week’s come from behind win over Jesuit 36-34. Their second close victory over the Blue Jays this season.
They also had hard fought wins over Rummel and Curtis. They are one win away from playing in their first state championship game since 1989. The school has won only one state championship, a 4A title in 1971.
Brother Martin has a potent offense, averaging 42 points a game. They are led by senior running back Jaylon Spears, who has rushed for 823 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has scored six touchdowns in has last two games after the starting the season by scoring eight touchdowns in his first two contests.
Junior QB Garrett Mmahat has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is coming off a 250-yard passing performance in the quarterfinals.
— Quentin Bienemy ⚜ (@QBienemy504) December 5, 2020
His favorite receiver is five-foot-nine Austin Jackson who has 774 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Jackson had 203 yards receiving and one TD in last week’s win over Jesuit.
Brother Martin’s defense will not shut you down, as they are allowing 29 points a game. But they force turnovers and get key stops at the right time.
Corey Lambert had a critical interception in the Rummel win in week four and Torey Lambert returned a fumble 90-yards for a touchdown in a wild 56-42 win over Tioga.
Here's a look at 2022 Brother Martin safety Corey Lambert Jr.'s INT last night on the Crusaders' first defensive series.
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) November 7, 2020
The team leader is linebacker Noah Chachere. He has a pick six on the season.
Sophomore Leyton Liuzza has made some big kicks for them. Had the game winner against John Curtis.
Catholic also has an excellent kicker Kylan Dupree. He made a game-winning field goal last year against St. Thomas More.
These two teams have a history of playing close games in the playoffs. In 2014, Brother Martin stopped Catholic’s Derrius Guice on a two-point try to win a quarterfinal matchup 25-23, Catholic returned the favor the following year by beating the Crusaders 49-48 to advance to the semi-finals. Catholic ended up winning its first state championship a few weeks later.
Stay in the Loop