Grid preview: Comets, Jaguars, Hawks

    St. Charles Catholic elevated its student enrollment to a number that puts the Comets’ athletic teams in a higher classification. And everyone couldn’t be happier.
    Gone are former opponents John Curtis, Riverside Academy and Newman. The new district – 7-3A – affords the LaPlace school the opportunity to compete against opponents in the western region of Southeast Louisiana.
    Moving up won’t make the competition any easier, but look for Coach Frank Monica’s Comets to prevail in this new district that includes proven winners Donaldsonville, St. James and E.D. White, along with Brusly and Port Allen.
    St. Charles Catholic has experience at quarterback in Donnie Savoie and one of the top one-two punches in 3A in running backs Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson, both capable of rushing for 1,000 yards.
    The defense should be sound despite having graduated some key secondary players. If Monica has any questions that need to be answered, it is how will the rather inexperienced offensive line hold up early in the season against opponents like Tate High of Pensacola, Fla., and Vandebilt Catholic on the road and 5A Northshore at home?
    Monica is one of the state’s most successful and respected head coaches, whose Comets have been especially hard to beat in the post-Katrina era with two 2A championship appearances and four semifinal round showings. And there is no reason to believe the Comets won’t rise to the top again.
    How they’ll finish in 7-3A: 1. St. Charles Catholic, 2. Donaldsonville, 3. E.D. White, 4. St. James, 5. Port Allen, 6. Brusly.

Pope John Paul II
    Most often one can’t judge a team’s true ability by the outcome of a scrimmage, but the way the Jaguars handled Country Day and Ben Franklin in last week’s three-way head-banger, it appears that Coach Mark Jeanmard has the Slidell school on track to compete well in District 8-2A.
    Jeanmard watched his team take its lumps for three years. This year the Jags will be greatly improved to the point they could make the playoffs for the second straight season.
    How they’ll finish in 8-2A: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas, 2. Northlake Christian, 3. Pope John Paul II, 4. Springfield, 5. St. Helena Central, 6. Pine.

Archbishop Hannan
    Still trying to get their football legs under them since the move from Chalmette to Goodbee, the Hawks will be small again  but greatly improved over the fledglings of recent years.
    First-year Coach Pat Lambert will field a scrappy team with a good attitude, and he hopes to build from that foundation.
    The district will again be a Kentwood-Southern Lab dominated league, but Hannan could get some early wins over Haynes, Ridgewood, Pine Prairie and Houma Christian. The Hawks could also knock off Varnado and Mount Hermon in district play. A 5-5 finish might be enough for a playoff slot.
    How they’ll finish in 7-1A: 1. Kentwood, 2. Southern Lab, 3. Houma Christian, 4. Archbishop  Hannan, 5. Varnado, 6. Mount Hermon.

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