St. Thomas More’s defeats LCA 35-21 in Division II (Select) State Championship due to strong second half performance

St. Thomas More defeats Lafayette Christian 35-21 due to its strong rushing attack and stellar defense.

After trailing 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, St. Thomas More (14-0) outscored Lafayette Christian (11-2) 35-7 for the remaining three quarters.

“They know it’s not over until the clock shows zeroes. They learned that last year.”

St. Thomas More head coach Jim Hightower

St. Thomas More senior running back John Luke St. Pierre was named the Most Outstanding Player for the Cougars. He finished with 72 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

St. Thomas More wide receiver Sanders Foreman was huge in the Cougars’ win as well. Foreman had nine catches for 104 yards. His performance was huge because star wideout Landon Strother did not catch a single pass. After all, Lafayette Christian wanted to phase him out of the game.

Lafayette Christian had a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter after quarterback Ja’Juan Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns of 25 and 21 yards.

St. Thomas More managed to score late in the second half when senior running back John Luke St. Pierre scored a two-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7 with just 50 seconds left.

LCA still had plenty of time to score to put up a quick scoring drive. However, Johnson made a bad read and St. Thomas More senior linebacker Brody Latiolais intercepted the pass for an 80-yard pick-six to tie the game at 14-14 going into halftime.

“As soon as the ball was in the air I broke on it.The defensive line blocked for me and nobody was there to stop me.”

St. Thomas More linebacker Brody Latiolais

Johnson would score on a five-yard touchdown run to give Lafayette Christian a 21-14 lead. A few plays later, Johnson avoided several would-be tacklers and ran 56 yards for a first down.

St. Thomas More would answer with a 6-play, 53-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by St. Pierre, his second of the game.

After its defense forces Lafayette Christian to punt, St. Thomas More had an 11-play 78-yard scoring drive that was finished off by a one-yard rushing touchdown by its senior quarterback, Sam Altmann. The drive lasted almost five minutes.

Swilley put the final nail in the coffin when he powered his way through LCA’s defense for a five-yard touchdown run.

Altmann had 153 passing yards and an interception. He finished his career as the only quarterback in St. Thomas More history to win two state titles.

Johnson was named the Most Outstanding Player for Lafayette Christian. The state’s all-time total yardage and touchdown leader finished with 270 passing yards and 187 rushing yards with three touchdowns.

Lafayette Christian has now lost in three consecutive trips to the state championship after winning four straight from 2017-2020

With their championship victory, the Cougars have now won five state titles in their program’s history, all of which have been won by head coach Jim Hightower. This is his sixth state title in his career as he won his first with Catholic-Point Coupee in 1978.