Good field position is a good start.
Catholic High of Pointe Coupee took advantage of that and finished each possession of the first half with a touchdown to top Livonia 48-24 on Friday.
The Hornets (1-0) started each possession on Livonia’s side of the field, thanks to stopping the Wildcats (0-1) three times on fourth down, causing two turnovers and recovering two onside kicks.
“Hats off to our defensive coaches for creating turnovers,” said Vinnie Bullera, Catholic-PC coach. “Our defensive coaches came out with an outstanding game plan against two great athletes.”
“They were more physical than us … period,” Livonia coach Josh LaBorde said. “They wanted it more and they executed, and that’s how football works.”
“They’re a well-coached team and the staff Coach Bullera has did a very good job. They beat us from the start of the game, through all four quarters.”
Bullera pointed out field position was only one part of the equation for success.
“That’s obviously the key to the way we play football,” he said. “We need to have good field position.
“But the way our offensive coaches prepared this team this week in terms of executing their assignments was big,” Bullera said.
“We ran our basic offense tonight and they executed it to perfection. Field position is important, but so are great coaches and great kids.”
Quarterback Hayden Elliott led that offense with 114 yards on 10 carries and four first-half touchdowns.
“The progress he has made from last year to this year, freshman to sophomore, has been tremendous,” Bullera said.
“His reads are much better, his footwork is much better, he is much more confident under center.”
Elliott provided some deception on Catholic-PC’s first offensive play on his handoff to Connor Kimball, who flipped the ball back to Connor Achee who found Leighton Elliott open downfield for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
Achee also contributed 6 carries for 70 yards and a TD.
Matthew Breaud recovered the onside kick and the Hornets drove 43 yards in seven plays, capped by Hayden Elliott’s 16-yard touchdown run and 14-0 lead.
But Livonia came back with a quick six-play drive.
Four consecutive rushes by Rico Louis (10 yards), John Cato (12 yards) Jaylin Noil (15 yards) and Cato again (16 yards) reached the Hornet 9.
Two plays later, Cato connected with Dallon Louis for an 8-yard touchdown strike and Rico Louis ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-8 game.
Cato was 4 of 8 for 44 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, while rushing 10 times for 43 yards.
Another onside kick fell short and Catholic-PC was set up at the Wildcat 49. The Hornets ran to a first-and-goal at the Wildcat 5 and Hunter Beard scored, then ran in the two-point conversion.
Livonia’s fourth-down try was stopped and Catholic-PC took over at the Wildcat 49, where Elliott later scored on a 35-yard sweep.
The Hornets repeated the scenario again, stopping the Wildcats on fourth down, driving to the Wildcat 8 and Elliott scored again for a 35-8 lead.
Three plays later, Cato connected with Louis on a pass, but Catholic-PC’s Matthew Morrison knocked the ball loose and recovered it.
On second-and-goal at the Wildcat 10, Elliott scored his fourth touchdown.
Achee, playing defensive back, intercepted Cato’s pass at the Hornet 15 to end the first half.
“I have a great group of young men – and I emphasize ‘young,’ “ LaBorde said of his Wildcats. “We’re extremely young and we have a lot of young guys who are trying to figure out the stuff.
“We have a lot of growing up to do, but we have to get it right from the top.
“The coaches and I have to get it right, and we have to have ourselves so we can know what to do to make the fixes,” he said.
“I’m proud we kept fighting, we got some scores on the board and John Cato is very young.”
Catholic-PC’s lone score in the second half came on its first possession when Achee broke loose for a 42-yard run to the Wildcat 1, then carried the ball in for a touchdown.
Livonia stopped Catholic-PC on its next possession when Darius Ford recovered a fumble.
Ge’marion Hollins pulled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cato and Louis ran in the conversion for a 48-16 game.
Catholic-PC drove to the Wildcat 3 in eight plays, but Noil recovered a fumble for Livonia.
Livonia stymied Catholic-PC on its next possession when Mario Acevedo recovered a Hornet fumble.
The Wildcats got their final score on Cato’s 31-yard pass to Dallon Louis and Connor Greavis added the two-point conversion.
Leading Livonia in rushing was Rico Louis with 6 carries for 57 yards. Noil had 9 carries for 52 yards and Greavis, 5 carries for 32 yards.
Catholic-PC rushed for 364 yards. Contributing were Adam Beatty with 5 carries for 38 yards and Parker Jewell, 4 carries for 34 yards.
Also rushing for more than 20 yards each were: Connor Kimball, 3 carries for 31 yards; Beard, 6 carries for 28 yards; and Landon Frey, 3 carries for 20 yards.
Catholic-PC 48, Livonia 24
First Downs 26 11
Rushing Yards 46-364 29-180
Passing Yards 44 70
Passes (C-A-I) 1-1-0 4-11-1
Punts (No.-Avg.) 0-0.0 1-25.0
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 3-1
Penalties-Yards 6-70 5-18
Catholic-PC 14 27 7 0 – 48
Livonia 8 0 8 8 –24
CATH – Leighton Elliott 44 pass from Connor Achee. (Pass failed.)
CATH – Hayden Elliott 16 run. (Hunter Beard run.)
LIV – Dallon Louis 8 pass from John Cato. (Rico Louis run.)
CATH – Beard 5 run. (Beard run.)
CATH – Elliott 35 run. (Elliott kick.)
CATH – Elliott 8 run. (Kick failed.)
CATH – Elliott 10 run. (Run failed.)
CATH – Achee 1 run. (Andrew Jewell kick.)
LIV – Ge’Marion Hollins 26 pass from Connor Greavis. (Louis run.)
LIV – Dallon Louis 31 pass from Cato (Greavis run.)