Photograph by Mike Curley
Editor and Contributing Writer
Continued playoff advancement for the Opelousas Catholic football team will require further trips aboard the team bus.
If the Vikings plan to win out and capture a state championship trophy, those potential victories will have to occur away from Donald Gardner Stadium.
It’s not easy being a No. 15 playoff seed, but that’s a reality OCS can’t change, says Vikings’ head football coach Thomas David.
“Our one chance of hosting another playoff game was if Riverside beat Ascension Catholic (last Friday night), but that didn’t happen. We (OCS) are the lowest seeded team remaining on our side of the bracket, so we have to play our remaining games away,” David said.
In fact the Vikings, which eliminated No. 2 Central Catholic-Morgan City last Friday night (52-12) are the lowest seeded team remaining in the Division IV non-select playoffs. OCS will travel to Donaldsonville for the second time this season to meet 10th-seeded Ascension Catholic in a quarterfinal matchup this Friday night.
OCS lost to Ascension Catholic (12-2) in Week 2 (34-32). The Vikings then lost two of the next three games, but since then OCS has won eight straight games in addition to an outright district championship for a second straight year.
In 2018 the Vikings lost to Lafayette Christian in a quarterfinal.
The only losses for Ascension Catholic this season have been consecutive non-district defeats to Dunham and Episcopal-Baton Rouge. The Bulldogs scored no fewer than 48 points in any of their district contests.
OCS or Ascension Catholic meet the winner of the Ouachita Christian-Glenbrook game this Friday night. Ouachita Christian is seeded third, while Glenbrook is No. 6.
Opelousas Catholic-Central Catholic
David once again gave credit to his linemen on both sides of the football for the Central Catholic victory.
“We didn’t do anything differently than what we have been doing. Our big uglies up front did a good job of getting up on people and we found ways of scoring points with the defense. We created several turnovers and then recovered a fumble in the end zone,” David said.
The Vikings added David, also did a credible job of neutralizing Central Catholic running back Demondrick Blackburn.
“(Blackburn) is a big guy, but we used the committee approach and sort of got everyone involved,” David said.
Braylin Ford and Markaas Daugherty both had interceptions for OCS.
Offensively quarterback Mark Collins ran nine times for 90 yards and three touchdowns against Central Catholic. Running back-wide receiver Chris Brown also scored three times in addition to rushing 14 times for 75.
Vikings’ fullback Eli Chelette gained 80 on 15 attempts.
“I thought all our running backs had good nights. (Chelette) had a good night running the ball from fullback,” David said.
OCS kept the ball on the ground, rushing for 302 yards.
Collins only passed for 26 yards and Brown caught both of Collins’ completions.
Overall Season Picture
David said he’s convinced the keys to the Vikings’ playoff and district schedule successes had their roots earlier this year.
OCS lost to Oak Grove in the season opener and then dropped games to Ascension Catholic and Southern Lab. All three teams remain in the playoffs in their divisions.
“I think the biggest thing for us looking back is that because of who we played that we grew up. That we are 9-3 since (Sept. 23) is not really a surprise due to that. I think playing some of the better teams in the state required us to become more physical and our linemen especially really fed off those experiences,” David added.
The Vikings are attempting to open the offense up more as the season continues, said David.
“We are attempting to do more things with our throwing game. We have been getting the ball to (Brown). He had a touchdown catch (against Central Catholic),” David said.
OCS has scored 166 points during the last three games.