2021 - OCS at StFred football

Played 2021Sept30 at luffey Stadium, Monroe, La. Photo by TOM MORRIS/The Ouachita Citizen. c.tommorrisphotos.com All Rights Reserved

On the bus ride home after No. 14 St. Frederick’s 31-7 victory against No. 6 Vermilion Catholic, Warriors head coach Andy Robinson sat back and thought about a similar bus ride back from Abbeville in 2018.

“I thought about the time we rode back after that 50-0 playoff loss,” Robinson said. “To be in that division for the first time and try to figure out how far of a gap it was from the top. To figure out what we needed to do as a program and close that gap as coaches after that loss, reflecting on how far we’ve come was just great. That win was huge for our program.”

Robinson began his coaching journey in 2006 and had never coached past the quarterfinals round in his career. That will all change Friday, as Robinson and his staff have pieced together a season that’s produced the second semifinal appearance in school history.

To achieve that bit of history, Robinson and the Warriors had to make a familiar walk that’s provided misery for multiple season. Two of the last three postseasons ended in a loss to Vermilion Catholic, so Robinson wanted to remind his group of the seniors that ended their careers on that same field.

“Their field is about 300 yards away from where your dressing room is,” Robinson said. “We were making that walk to start the game at 6:50, and right before we made that walk, I told them, ‘We’re tired of making this walk the wrong way. We have a chance to make this right. Think about Gordon and Beau Bennett. Think about Will Ellender and Ford Sparks and Nelson Sparks. Think about Andy Williams and all those guys that ended their football careers here. We have an opportunity to correct that.’”

The Warriors did it with defense, as St. Frederick practically shut Vermilion Catholic out on the road. The Eagles totaled just 85 yards on 49 plays and scored their lone touchdown on a botched punt attempt from St. Frederick that led to a recovered fumble for a score.

Offensively, Robinson and the offense were willing to gamble, at least early on. After Ty Newman connected with a 25-yard field goal on the first possession of the game, the Warriors made their way back into Eagle territory early on in the second quarter. Leading 3-0, Robinson decided to roll the dice on a fourth-and-five from the 19-yard line. Quarterback Garrett Taylor rolled out and hit James Maryonne in the flat for a score that put the Warriors on top, 10-0.

“I told our radio people at halftime to get ready for some boring football because I was going to run the ball and play defense the rest of the way,” Robinson said. “I wanted to go for it on that fourth down because I didn’t know how many times we’d get down there against them.”

Maryonne scored on a four-yard run in the third quarter before William Patrick made it a 24-0 ballgame with a pick six. Michael Thompson’s two-yard rush later in the quarter gave the Warriors a 31-0 edge.

Thompson had yet another big night toting the rock, as he rushed for 209 yards on 34 carries.

“That was a tough 200 yards too cause those guys played so hard on defense,” Robinson said. “Credit to both teams for that hard-fought game. That’s what the officials down from New Orleans told us last night too. They said it was great to watch an old school football game like that.”

The Warriors defense held North Vermilion’s Mikie Bazar to just 45 yards passing, as he completed just 12-of-35 passes.

Up next for (9-2) St. Frederick is another road matchup against No. 2 Southern Lab. The Warriors are 5-0 on the road this season, but (10-2) Southern Lab enters this contest having outscored Hanson Memorial and Country Day by a combined score of 95-6. The Warriors will undoubtedly be the underdogs again, but that's no problem for St. Frederick. 

“Our guys have embraced the underdog role,” Robinson said.

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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