Cathedral cruises through opening round of playoffs
Published 12:16 am Saturday, November 15, 2014
NATCHEZ — Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing played eight freshmen and sophomores on defense last season, hoping it would prove beneficial down the road. In the Green Wave’s 49-14 win against French Camp Academy in the opening round of the MHSAA Class A Playoffs Friday night, Rushing felt his young defensive players, like sophomores Will Wallace and Robert Hargrave, led the way.
“They’re starting to get older and more seasoned,” Rushing said. “I’ll take those guys up against anybody.”
Of course, French Camp didn’t help itself, turning the ball over on its first two possessions of the game. On the first play from scrimmage, the Panthers fumbled the ball and Cathedral recovered on French Camp’s 31-yard line. It took Cathedral six plays to march it into the end zone, and it was Dee Fleming who got on the board first for the Green Wave. French Camp never recovered, snapping the ball over the punter’s head on the ensuing drive for a safety and giving up a 35-yard pass from Wyatt Boothe to Jardarius Anderson to make the score 15-0 with seven minutes to play in the first quarter.
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“They’re a good football team, but I thought we came out and played well,” Rushing said. “I was really pleased with the way our offensive line came out and blocked. Dee came out and made some plays, and Boothe made some throws.”
Fleming led the team in rushing, totaling 153 yards on 11 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Boothe threw for 128 yards, completing 8-of-13 passes and producing five scores.
“It makes it easier when you have receivers that can take an average pass and make it a big gain,” Boothe said.
Cathedral piled it on in the second quarter when Boothe ran in a keeper from three yards out to give the Green Wave a 21-0 lead. With less than three minutes to play before the half, Boothe found R.J. Givens for a 26-yard touchdown pass, and after J.J. Jenkins recovered a botched kickoff by French Camp, Cathedral cashed in another score with a 30-yard run by Fleming. Fleming and his teammates were taking advantage of opportunities, not allowing French Camp any possibility to climb back into the game.
“You have to start fast and finish strong,” Fleming said. “Coach preached that we have to stay on them when we’re on top.”
Cathedral continued that trend in the second half when Boothe found Fleming for a 34-yard touchdown with eight minutes to play in the third. Rushing then called off the dogs and put in his second and third strings, and backup quarterback Connor Mire provided efficiency through the air. Mire completed 5-of-6 passes for 64 yards, including a vertical touchdown to Will Sandel, who made a one-handed grab. The play went 46 yards for Cathedral’s final touchdown of the ballgame.
With the win, Cathedral will host Pelahatchie, who defeated Lumberton to advance.
“We like playing here,” Rushing said. “Pelahatchie is a good football team. They put us out two years ago in the playoffs at their place.”