Green Wave air it out in big win

Published 2:31 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

NATCHEZ — Cathedral quarterback Caleb Upton couldn’t help but smile when asked about the first half of Friday night’s game against Bogue Chitto.

And really, who could blame him?

Upton completed 19 of 34 passes for 262 yards in the first half as the Green Wave raced out to a 34-14 halftime lead en route to a 47-21 victory over the Bobcats in a crucial Region 4-1A game.

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“Whatever it takes to get a win, we’ll take it how we can get it,” Upton said. “But I’m not going to complain. I want to throw the ball.”

Cathedral was more balanced in the second half as Upton only attempted 10 passes, completing six.

He finished the game completing 25 for 44 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns.

The first half was a Green Wave aerial show as Upton completed passes to five different receivers.

Cathedral coach Ron Rushing said the plan was to throw the ball at least 40 times, and the Green Wave accomplished that goal.

“We thought we’d be able to throw the ball against them, but you still have to execute,” Rushing said. “First of all, Caleb had all night to throw because the offensive line did a great job of blocking. Caleb read the defense well and spread the ball around, and (the receivers) made plays.”

In fact, four different Cathedral receivers had at least 64 yards, led by Carl Hammitte with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

“We planned to use our receivers from the start,” Upton said. “Give them a chance to do what they do best.”

Cathedral’s offense took off from the very start of the game.

Daniel Huffines returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to the Bogue Chitto 17-yard line, and it took Cathedral just 50 seconds to score as Jadarius Ealey ran in from 5 yards out.

Bogue Chitto tied the score on a 63-yard run off a reverse by Brandon Wells, but that momentum would be short-lived.

Upton and the offense took just four plays to drive 63 yards and retake the lead when Ealey caught a screen pass and raced 23 yards into the end zone with 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

That was the first of four consecutive touchdowns Cathedral would score.

After a Bogue Chitto punt, Cathedral drove 72 yards in just nine plays, with the big play being a 35-yard completion to Hammitte.

Hammitte then capped off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown reception on a slant pattern.

Two consecutive fumbles by Bogue Chitto led to two more touchdowns by Cathedral. The first came on a 3-yard run by Khalil Brice and the second was on an 11-yard pass from Upton to Tyler Flemming with 40 seconds remaining until halftime, which made the score 34-7.

But Bogue Chitto wasn’t going to go quietly.

The Bobcats drove 80 yards in 36 seconds thanks to two long passes from quarterback Brock Roberts.

Roberts threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Germie Martin with just four seconds left in the half to make the halftime score 34-14.

The Bobcats seemed to grab even more momentum when they scored on their second possession on a 46-yard pass from Roberts to Martin with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

However, after slinging the ball all over the place in the first half, Cathedral went to the run much more in the second half with great results.

Ealey and Brice combined to run for 26 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run by Brice with 2:22 left in the third quarter that put Cathedral back comfortably ahead.

After stopping Bogue Chitto on downs, the Green Wave put the game out of reach for good by driving 35 yards in seven plays, with four of those being runs.

Upton completed the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Semmes White off of play action.

Cathedral finished the game with 103 yards rushing, 102 of those yards coming in the second half.

“I did a bad job with play-calling on our first series of the second half (which ended in a punt),” Rushing said. “After that, we went back and got the run going and ate the clock. I feel comfortable throwing and also with J.D. and Brice pounding it inside.”

With the win, Cathedral clinched a playoff spot, and will win the region with either a win next week over Dexter or in two weeks against Salem.

It would be the first time Cathedral has won its region since 1993, which was also the year the Green Wave advanced to the Class 1A state championship game.

“This was a huge win for us,” Rushing said. “We were up front with the kids this week in telling them what was on the line. They came out and responded to it.”