Cardinal Newman spotted Laurence Manning 14 points over a full half of their game in the first round of the SCISA 3A State playoffs.
The Cardinals needed just a few minutes to erase that lead, and the running of Jalen Montgomery to bring on the rout.
Montgomery rushed for 133 yards and four second-half touchdowns on just nine carries to lead Cardinal Newman to a 40-14 victory over the Swampcats at Cardinal Newman.
“We talked about the intensity and the urgency with which you have to play these games,” Cardinal Newman coach Doug Dutton said about his team’s first playoff appearance in four years. “but you can’t talk about it until you get into it. We had to understand the intensity, and I think we grew up a little bit tonight.”
The win moves Cardinal Newman (7-3) into a second-round matchup with Hammond. The Skyhawks were 37-0 winners over Wilson Hall on Friday night.
The game was a tale of two halves.
Brewer Brunson had 108 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries for the Swampcats (6- 5) in the first half — but just 50 yards on 16 carries in the second.
Montgomery had 10 yards on five carries in the first half — but his 123 yards and four scores in the second half put the Cardinals’ woeful start in the distant past.
“We just didn’t have the ball that much in the first half,” Dutton said. “We weren’t getting the first downs and they were, and they held the ball almost the first half.”
Brunson led his team on an 8-play 78-yard drive that he capped with a 37-yard touchdown run at the 6:20 mark of the first.
He scored again from three yards out to give Laurence Manning a 14-0 lead before the first quarter expired.
Cardinal Newman had minus-two yards rushing through the first quarter, to go with seen yards passing in that frame.
The Cardinals finally broke through for a score when Jake Rehling pulled in an A.J. DePalma pass in the second quarter for a 44-yard gain.
DePalma finished off that drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to DeonTay Smith with 43 seconds left in the half.
That was the first of six straight possessions ending in a touchdown.
After punter Jackson Lee mishandled a snap, the Cardinals took over at the Laurence Manning 5-yard line. Montgomery walked into the end zone on the next play.
DePalma’s 2-point conversion pass to Smith tied the game at 14 and Cardinal Newman never looked back. Montgomery then scored on runs of 2, 46, and 70 yards to put the game out of reach.
“We didn’t tackle well in the second half at all,” Laurence Manning coach Robbie Briggs said. “With the amount of kids that we had out, in the third quarter they just started wearing on us. They’ve got a good program and I think they stepped up their game plan and didn’t lose patience.”
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Cardinal Newman defenders figured out Laurence Manning quickly. The Swampcats dominated the first half, but had just 55 total yards and zero points in the second half.
2. Cardinal Newman blew past Laurence Manning with just 8 first downs and 270 total offensive yards. Credit the light offensive effort to a short field and Montgomery’s long runs.
3. Laurence Manning’s crisp white uniforms were probably not the best choice for a field soaked from afternoon thundershowers. All of the starting Swampcats uniforms were dark gray by the half.
HOW THEY SCORED
L – Brewer Brunson 37 run (Jackson Lee kick) 6:20
L – Brunson 3 run (Lee kick) 3:15
C – DeonTay Smith 10 pass from A.J. DePalma (kick failed) :43
C – Jalen Montgomery 5 run (Smith pass from DePalma) 9:18
C – Montgomery 2 run (Jake Cowan kick) 5:45
C – Montgomery 46 run (kick failed) 2:20
C – Montgomery 70 run (pass failed) 8:25
C – Shanye Monsanto 11 run (Cowan kick) 4:45
Rushing: LMA: Brewer Brunson 30-158, Burgess Jordan 13-9, Jake Jordan 4-0. CN: Jalen Montgomery 9-133, Shanye Monsanto 5-25, A.J. DePalma 5-25, Jalen Crumpton 1- (-1).
Passing: LMA: 4-11-1-57. CN: A.J. DePalma 6-11-0-110.
Receiving: LMA: Grayson Gamble 1-27, Jake Jordan 2-25, Justus Boone 1-5. CN: DeonTay Smith 3-38, Tylen Hill 2-28, Jake Rehling 1-44.