There was vulnerability in the St. Edmund pass coverage on Friday night and Opelousas Catholic was more than eager to seize the opportunity.
The Vikings threw for 254 yards in the first half to help keep OC undefeated following a 35-0 victory over St. Edmund in a game played at Donald Gardner Stadium.
OC scored all the game’s points in the first two periods, as quarterback Sam Jarrell and wide receiver Adam Purser collaborated on six receptions for 198 yards.
Jarrell, a senior, completed all but three of his 12 passing attempts as the Vikings benefitted from mismatches in the Blue Jays’ secondary.
OC head football coach Thomas David said there were some obvious advantages to throwing the football against St. Edmund (1-2).
“I thought after looking at them that there were some opportunities that would be available in the throwing game and that we could take advantage of that. I thought (Jarrell) did a nice job of getting the ball out and there were guys who were making plays once the ball was thrown,” David said.
David said Purser, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who aligns at various positions in the OC passing game, caused problems for defenders past the line of scrimmage.
“Purser’s a big guy and he is going to cause matchup problems. I thought we would be able to use him in situations like that where in the first half, he would be open because of the matchups,” David said.
St. Edmund head football coach Andy Hargroder said the Vikings were effective with the passing game.
“We didn’t have the speed. I thought they (OC) had a good scheme and they got that with putting a 6-3 guy up against a much shorter guy,” Hargroder said.
OC led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. Vikings’ running back Kane Armand scored the period’s only TD on a 24-yard run that ended an eight-play, 79-yard drive. Jarrell had two completions of 45 yards to Devin Thierry and Purser.
The remaining 28 OC points came on four successive second period drives.
Running backs Nick Mouret and Evan Moody scored on runs of 17 and three yards. Then with 4:04 left before halftime, Jarrell connected with Purser on a 70-yard scoring throw.
With 13 seconds remaining, OC scored the final TD on Moody’s three-yard run. That touchdown covered 57 yards in six plays, following a punt.
Hargroder said his team’s momentum was affected early after the Jays’ Luke Doucet ran 47 yards for an apparent touchdown with 8:06 left in the first quarter. The TD was nullified, though, as the Jays were flagged for illegal procedure.
“I think that took the wind out of our sails,” Hargroder said.
The Jays had some success moving the football early in the game, but Hargroder said his team was eventually hurt by depth issues.
“We didn’t have replacements coming off the field. By the time you get to the third offensive series after two defensive series, it starts taking its toll.
“I feel good about our guys. They played hard. When you’re behind at halftime 35-0, like we were, the guys said they were going to continue playing hard and they did that. That is something that is going to build confidence,” Hargroder said.
OC ran 29 times for 147 yards, while St. Edmund gained 62 on 36 ground attempts.
Mouret ran for 83 yards on nine carries, while Jarrell gained 11 on 30 attempts. Armand have five carries for 28.