Cathedral dominates Columbia Academy

Published 1:07 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

NATCHEZ — The Cathedral Green Wave are clicking at the right time.

Cathedral dominated from the opening kickoff against Columbia Academy, and took down the Cougars 38-6 to finish the regular season 8-2 overall and 3-1 in district.

“We really hadn’t put it together all year, but we did tonight,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said. “We played great defense, special teams and we ran the ball and threw the ball well. We had some guys step up and make some plays.”

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Cathedral jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on their second drive of the game when quarterback Connor Mire hit Jardarius Anderson for an 80-yard touchdown. It was the first of eight catches for Anderson on the night.

“They were man up and the middle of the field was wide open,” Anderson said of the play. “They were checking run, so I knew they were going to come up, and I just ran past them.”

Anderson ended up being the only Green Wave receiver to record a reception in the game, finishing with eight catches for 179 yards and a touchdown.

“I haven’t been myself this whole season, and the two losses we had hurt me because I knew I could’ve done better,” Anderson said. “But it felt good getting on a roll tonight.”

The Green Wave continued to roll and found the end zone once again on their next drive.

Andrew Beesley rumbled in from nine yards out to push the lead to 14-0, but was flagged for a personal foul on the play.

Early in the second quarter, Beesley halted a Columbia Academy drive with an interception in the end zone, but was flagged again and ended up being ejected from the game. He will, however, be eligible to play next week.

Later in the second quarter, Dee Fleming took over, running over Columbia defenders and eventually scoring a four- yard touchdown to give Cathedral a 21-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the Green Wave, Fleming was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury and didn’t play in the second half.

He finished with 76 yards on 13 carries.

But it was just next man up for Cathedral.

Nic Webb booted a 34-yard field goal to give the Green Wave a 24-0 lead heading into halftime and then on their first drive of the second half, Craig Bradley took off on a 43-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 31-0.

“It was supposed to be an outside run, but they had it sealed off,” Bradley said. “I just saw a lane and cut up field.”

A few minutes later, Bradley was in the end zone again, this time from 23 yards out.

“That one was just great blocking,” he said. “I have to give credit to my offensive line.”

Bradley had just the two carries in the game, both going for scores and finished with 66 yards.

“I knew I had to step up when one of our best players got hurt,” Bradley said. “I just had to do my job.”

Bradley was also getting his job done on defense, where he recovered two fumbles.

“We played the best game we have all year,” he said. “That is a good offensive team and we stepped up.”

The Green Wave held Columbia Academy to just 190 total yards, and Rushing said it wasn’t necessarily them doing anything special.

“We just played our base defense,” Rushing said. “We really worked on closing gaps and run fits, and we tackled well for the most part.”

Columbia Academy tacked on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard run from Heath Greenlee.

Now, the Green Wave turn their attention to the playoffs, and Rushing said either home or away, he believes his team is getting momentum at the right time.

“It is exciting,” Rushing said. “I’ve had teams that have peaked early, but we definitely haven’t peaked yet. We like to play at home and know this is a tough place to come in and play and hopefully we’ll be here in the first round. If we have to go, we’ve got a veteran group. I just hope they are getting focused and getting ready to peak.”