It was moving night for Charlotte Catholic, and the Cougars looked rather comfortable in their new home.
Playing for the first time in the Southern Carolinas 3A Conference after four years as a 4A school, the Cougars rolled over visiting Monroe 49-6 Friday at Jim Oddo Stadium. Catholic, ranked third in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, picked off two Redhawk passes, returned a fumble for a touchdown, and registered five sacks.
Monroe, which was making an opposite move – from 2A to 3A – stayed close to Catholic for a quarter and a half but fell victim to turnovers.
The big play for Catholic came midway in the second quarter, after Monroe had cut the Cougars’ lead to 14-6. The Cougars were facing a second-and-39 from their 49 after a holding penalty. But Catholic quarterback Chris Walton found Adam Robbe open over the middle for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Milan Howard raced 46 yards for a touchdown on Catholic’s next possession, and the Cougars then scored on a 41-yard fumble recovery return by Brian Jacobs, building their lead to 35-6 at the half.
Records: Catholic is 5-0, 1-0 in the Southern Carolina 3A; Monroe is 3-2, 0-1.
3 who mattered
Brian Jacobs (Catholic): A junior free safety, Jacobs picked off two Monroe passes, including a first-quarter theft that set up the Cougars’ second touchdown.
Milan Howard (Catholic): The Cougars’ senior running back carried 10 times for 99 yards, scoring two touchdowns.
Rodney Smith (Monroe): Pressed into action at quarterback, Smith completed 9-of-15 passes for 179 yards, but he was picked off twice.
▪ Kevin Coss and Riley Berger had big games for the Catholic defense. Coss, a defensive end, had two sacks. Berger, a cornerback, had a sack and two tackles for losses.
▪ The Redhawks played without injured quarterback Trey Shepherd, going with Rodney Smith. It was Smith’s third career start.
▪ The Cougar defense limited Monroe running back McKinley Nelson, who was averaging 105 yards a game rushing in the Redhawks’ first four contests, to 35 yards on 15 carries.
▪ Monroe and Catholic were rivals in the 1980s and 1990s in the Rocky River 2A Conference, but this was their first meeting in 13 years.
▪ Former Catholic standout Mario Acitelli was among those inducted into the Cougars’ Hall of Fame at halftime. Acitelli, now an assistant coach at William & Mary, played at Appalachian State. Former Apps’ coach Jerry Moore was on hand Friday night for the ceremonies.
What’s next? Charlotte Catholic plays Thursday at defending state 3AA champion Weddington; Monroe plays Thursday at Marvin Ridge.