LAPLACE, La. — St. Charles Catholic’s first opponent of the 2021 season was one that no football team could properly gameplan for.
Hurricane Ida brought devastation to Laplace and the St. Charles Catholic community, but in the days following disaster, the Comets responded the only way they knew how.
“It’s emotional to go to others’ houses and see your kids you know working their butts off. You’ve met Zack Vicknair he’s got a partially torn MCL he’s out there in his brace hauling out sheetrock, carrying things. It makes you feel good to know that’s the caliber of players, and I have coaches that live in Baton Rouge that every single game come out here and stay here until the jobs are done,” says head coach Wayne Stein days after the storm.
Just three weeks after the storm, St. Charles Catholic would officially open its season with a Saturday game at Tad Gormley Stadium against De La Salle.
In head coach Wayne Stein’s debut, the Comets pieced together a defensive masterpiece, defeating the Cavaliers, 3-0.
An emotional win for a head coach, team, and fan base that had worked so hard to return to the playing field.
“I’m trying not to get emotional like I just did. But, I think we just revealed the guts of our community and everything just now in the last 48 minutes. What you saw out of our football team is what you see out of the river parishes every day. People not running from the problem, picking up the pieces and just getting back to it,” said Stein after the De La Salle win.
In week 7, a 4-0 Comets team played its fifth game at its fifth different venue against Arch Manning and Division III rival — Newman.
Down 7-7 with under a minute to play, the Comets had the ball in Newman territory.
That’s when quarterback Ayden Authement breaks off what would be a game-winning 27-yard touchdown run.
“He’s a rise to the occasion type of player. If there’s two minutes left, or one minute left, if there’s a second left, he’s got an opportunity to make a play. And at the end of the day, he started to feed and started to feel it and you just saw him get better and better and he started running with a different atttitude. The play he makes in the end to give us an opportunity to win is phenomenal,” said Stein after the Newman win.
From there, St. Charles Catholic would cruise to an 8-0 finish and 3 seed in the Division III playoffs.
The Comets shut out Dunham in the quarterfinals and silence a Notre Dame rally in the semi-finals.
A win that would send St. Charles Catholic to its third consecutive state championship game against a familiar foe in Lafayette Christian.
“The most nerve-racking thing is busses on game day,” said Stein.
The day of the state championship game, grid-locked traffic on the interstate forced the Comets to bus 35 players to Yulman Stadium and car-pool the remaining 69 to the game.
“Any itinerary we’ve had in 2021 has not held up,” said Stein.
What did hold up was the Comets’ determination and effort Saturday against Lafayette Christian.
A team — that has shouldered a community and its resiliency all season long — did the unthinkable, defeating an LCA program that had won 4 consecutive state titles.
They celebrated like champions afterward.
A 32-27 win over the Knights gave St. Charles Catholic its second state football title in school history.