September 14, 2023
Chat with Coach Bonis #3: St. Paul’s Review, St. Thomas More Preview
by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. (CJ ’57)
"Brother Martin traveled across the Causeway and, for the second straight season, defeated the St. Paul’s Wolves in a game that was a tale of two halves.
The Crusaders jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 37 yard field goal by Grayson Smith and a 9 yard touchdown run by Jordan West.
However, Brother Martin self-inflicted wounds such as penalties and negative offensive plays helped the Wolves pull into a 10-10 tie at halftime.
The second half was a different story. Sparked by interceptions by junior defensive backs Treshoun Ware and Camden Buras, the Crusader defense pitched a shutout while the offense scored on three of their final four drives to win 23-10.
Martin regained the lead in the third quarter on Smith field goals of 36 and 29 yards. But the failure to complete the drives with touchdowns kept the Wolves within a touchdown at 16-10.
But the Crusaders finally put the game away in the fourth quarter with a time-consuming march against the tiring St. Paul’s defense. Stocky junior RB Sidney Harris carried 15 times on the drive for a total of 80 yards. He finally plowed into the end zone from 4 yards out with less than two minutes to play to seal the victory.
Junior QB Seth Dazet completed 15 of 20 passes for 118 yards.
Coach Mark Bonis, what did you tell the team at halftime that made such a difference in the game? (Spoiler alert: It was not a Knute Rockne-style halftime speech.)
“St. Paul’s didn’t give us anything we weren’t expecting. It comes down to executing. The plan was in place. That’s what we talked to the team about. Carry out the plan. We needed a sense of urgency. We had talked to our players all week about that, but we didn’t have a great week of practice.
“We needed to be more efficient on offense. We had five incompletions in the first half, and three of those were possible explosion plays when receivers were wide open. We moved the ball but shot ourselves in the foot.
“We ran the ball down their throat the second half, especially after we got the lead. We went with Harris down the stretch because he was hot. But we need Julian Cutter to carry more so we have a third running back in the rotation with West and Harris. And we have a possible fourth in sophomore Alex Diaz.
“Our offensive line has played well the last two weeks. We have eight guys in the rotation, not counting tight ends. Coach Zeringue does a great job of challenging those guys.”
Continuing the same pre-district schedule as last year, the Crusaders face St. Thomas More Friday night in Lafayette. The Cougars won 30-16 last year on their way to the 4A state championship, their third of the past four seasons. Coach Jim Hightower, with over 460 wins to his credit, was inducted into the LHSAA Hall of Fame in 2022.
“They’re as talented as ever,” says Coach Bonis. “This will be a great chance to see exactly where we are in week three. They’re one of the best, if not the best, teams across the state.
“Everything they do is top notch. They have seven starters returning on defense and six or seven on offense. Their defense flies to the football. The offense is very explosive. In all three phases of the game, they play with great intensity."
Photos Courtesy of SVP Media Group, LLC