As soon as the Division I (Select) playoff bracket was announced, everybody was keeping an eye on the bottom side of the bracket as two of the most dominant programs over the past decade would most likely collide in the Division I (Select) Quarterfinals. Fortunately, both teams would take care of business in the earlier rounds and thus setting up one of the state’s most highly anticipated playoff matchups between the Catholic High School Bears and the Edna Karr Cougars.
Being two of the state’s best football teams this season, both teams would have their moments throughout the game.
First, it was the Catholic High Bears that threw the first punch as junior quarterback Daniel Beale threw two touchdown strikes with one coming on a 53-yard touchdown pass to 5 star LSU commit Shelton Sampson Jr. and the other coming on a 78-yard touchdown pass to Bradley Wright. Add in a 47-yard field goal by Landon Carter, the Bears jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
Edna Karr would answer before halftime as their quarterback AJ Samuel had a 16-yard scramble to set up a 5-yard touchdown run from Chris Vasquez to put the Cougars on the scoreboard right before halftime as the Bears would take a 17-6 lead into the locker room.
Vasquez would punch in his second touchdown from six yards out to cap off a nice touchdown drive for the Cougars to narrow the scoring margin at 17-12. Starting the fourth quarter out, the Cougars came crawling all the way back to take the lead at 18-17 thanks to Deantre Jackson’s 23-yard touchdown run.
All of a sudden, it looked like that the Cougars were finally going to take control of the game, but Catholic High’s Bennett Castro shifts the momentum towards the Bears’ direction when recovering an Edna Karr fumble. From that point on, Catholic High controlled the football game as Ryland Parker has a 14-yard touchdown run to give the Bears the lead back at 25-18.
Catholic’s defense stepped up when it mattered most late in the game as Colin Coates sacks Samuel on fourth down from Edna Karr’s own 13-yard line with three minutes left to play in the game. Beale would add in a 2-yard touchdown run to provide some separation and extend the Bears’ lead at 32-18.
Samuels and the Cougars offense would respond quickly hitting Makhi Paris for a 24-yard touchdown to make it a 32-24 game with 24 seconds left to play. However, Edna Karr would need to recover an onside kick, score a touchdown, and convert on a two-point conversion just to send it into overtime.
Catholic High would recover the onside kick and run out the rest of the clock to move on to the Division I (Select) Semifinals with a 32-24 win over Edna Karr.
Edna Karr ends its season at 7-4 overall. AJ Samuel ends his great high school career completing 12 of 24 passes for 140 yards and 1 touchdown, but he was most effective on the ground running for 56 yards. The Cougars had success on the ground rushing for 259 yards and three touchdowns as a team, but what hurt the offense the entire game was being 0 for 5 on fourth down and turning the football over three times.
Meanwhile, Catholic High improves to 11-1 and wins its 10th game in a row. Daniel Beale only had nine completions, but he made some big plays including the two touchdown throws and the touchdown run. On the ground, Ryland Parker led the way for the Bears with 98 yards rushing and a touchdown while Bradley Wright and Shelton Sampson both had touchdown receptions. Defense was the story of the night for the Bears with Harold Lawson leading the way with 12 tackles. The Bears forced three turnovers and gave up the lowest number of points that the Cougars scored this season.
Next up, the Catholic High Bears will host the John Curtis Patriots in the Division I (Select) Semifinals for the right to play in the Superdome for the Division I (Select) State Championship game.
Check out the entire photo gallery by Billy Metcalf!