Championship pedigree will be on the field in Baton Rouge at Memorial Stadium as the Class 4A St. Thomas More Cougars clash with the 5A Catholic Bears in this week’s GameTime Louisiana week 3 matchup Friday, October 16th at 7:00 pm CT.
These two programs played in a state title game last year, with STM beating De La Salle for the Division II title, while the Bears lost to Rummel in the Division I title game.
St. Thomas More won the school’s second state championship and it was the third title for legendary Cougars Head Coach Jim Hightower, who is the second winningest coach in Louisiana High School Football history with 431 victories.
The Cougars have 2 impressive wins under their belt so far this season, a 56-17 victory over Plaquemine, and last week they defeated Walker 61-7.
Last year Catholic went across the Atchafalaya Basin and left with a 52-50 victory over St. Thomas More. Kylan Dupre hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired to end a classic high school football game at Cougar Stadium.
Catholic has won the last five matchups between these two teams.
St. Thomas More Players to Watch
STM is the favorite to win the Division II title as they once again feature an explosive offense led by first-year starting quarterback Walker Howard. The son of former LSU QB Jamie Howard is one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2022 and is already committed to his Dad’s alma mater.
The 4-star junior is considered the top quarterback in Louisiana in the class of 2022, and ESPN JR 300 has him ranked as the 29th best player in the country from that class. Howard has thrown for 607 yards, and 9 touchdowns through the first two games of the season.
— Walker Howard (@Walker_Howard4) September 1, 2020
Howard’s favorite target is 4-star senior WR Jack Bech, who’s headed to Vanderbilt in the fall, but not before breaking some school records. He is currently #1 of all time in career receiving yards at St. Thomas More. Bech has 6 receptions, 208 receiving yards and 3 TD’s through the first two games of the season. He also has a punt return TD.
Congratulations to #7 Jack Bech @jackbech7 who is now #1 in all-time career receiving yards at @STMCougarFB with 2010 career yards after his performance last week. @STMathleticsnow @STMCatholicHS pic.twitter.com/98djFiX0Jr
— STMCougarFootball (@STMCougarFB) October 9, 2020
On defense, St. Thomas More only has three starters back from last year’s title team, but the front seven is loaded with seniors including middle linebacker Bryce Boullion who is the school’s all-time leading tackler.
Boullion enters the game with 278 career tackles. He is described as the heart and soul of the defense. He currently holds offers from Louisiana College, Sterling College and Carthage College. Expectations are that he will receive several more offers after this season.
— Bryce Boullion (@bryceboullion) October 7, 2020
The defensive secondary is led by 3-star senior and Yale commit, Dominic Zepherin, who had 7 interceptions and led his team in tackles last season, while also managing a 3.9 GPA.
— dom zepherin (@domzepherin) July 27, 2020
Catholic enters the game with a 1-1 record. The Bears beat crosstown rivals University High 27-7 in the season opener and lost 34-31 to four-time 4A champion Edna Karr last Wednesday, so they’re coming into this game with experience.
Catholic has been to the state title game every year since 2017, winning a championship in Head Coach Gabe Fertitta’s first season and finishing as a runner-up in 2018 and 2019.
Catholic High Players to Watch
The Catholic Bears have a first year starting quarterback in senior Landon O’ Connor, who is a dual-threat. He has several standout wide receivers to throw the football to, including sophomore Shelton Sampson, who already had multiple Power 5 offers.
O’ Conner is widely recognized as a 2021 sleeper prospect. He’s already holding 13 offers from smaller schools, but analysts recognize big talent in the making.
SLEEPER PROSPECT climbing the recruiting rankings from Baton Rouge?!
— Brian Holland (@BHollandSports) October 9, 2020
The Bears defense returns five starters including Joshua Wax, who led the team in interceptions last season. Junior Joshua Robertson already has two picks in 2020. In the front seven, Christian Mannino and Wes Woodward are two good run stoppers.
DB Michael Cerniauskas is a 3-star senior and an Army commit. Both the Air Force and the Navy put their hats in the ring for him, as well as Lamar, Colgate, ULM, Southeastern LA, Furman, Southern and Nicholls State. He is a 3-year starter on defense who has not
played a down yet this season due to an injury sustained while doing home workouts
during the offseason. He is expected to make his return to the field on Friday.
— Michael Cerniauskas (@michaelc0207) June 7, 2020
George Hart III leads a deep running back group. The 2-star RB already has 4 touchdowns in 2 games. Recruited under the ATH category, Hart is a versatile player who the Bears sometimes put in at Wildcat QB. He has offers from Georgetown and McNeese St.
— George Hart III (@G_Hart_3) August 5, 2020
Sophomore Wide Receiver Shelton Sampson is a speedy receiver that has the ability to beat defenders deep. According to his coaching staff he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash this summer. As a sophomore, he already has offers from LSU, Florida, Florida State, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, to name a few. 247sports has Sampson listed as the third best player in the state.
— Ken Anio (@KenAnioJr) September 28, 2020
3-star Junior Offensive Lineman Emery Jones is listed as the 12th best offensive guard in the country by Rivals. He is currently holding offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Louisiana, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, and several others.
— Mike Scarborough (@ScarboroughMike) September 29, 2020