St. Thomas More preparing for tough E.D. White team

Coming off a bye week in the first round of the LHSAA Division II playoffs, the St. Thomas More Cougars face a unique challenge in No. 7 E.D. White.

The Cardinals a traditional Wing-T offense, something the Cougars have only seen once this season and not to the same degree as they will Friday night.

“Plaquemine ran something similar, but I would say not nearly as true to the theme as what we’ll see from E.D White,” Hightower said. “Against Loyola last week I thought they ran the ball very well. They have three backs that are all pretty hard runners.”

Hightower said the Cardinals run traditional Wing-T running schemes with the buck sweep, counter and reverse, utilizing their full complement of running backs to keep teams off balance.

E.D White senior running back Jeremy Rounds has been the Cardinals most productive member of the backfield, running for two touchdowns in week nine of the season against Erath.

Hightower said the Cougars would have to play assignment football to keep the Cardinals from opening up running lanes and popping big plays on the ground.

“They do a nice job of running their offense, they look like they overwhelm people up front and block people well. They play very hard,” Hightower said. “They are a run first team, they want to run the ball first. We’re going to have to be sound against the run. If we don’t stop the run they won’t ever stop doing it.”

The Cougars will have to keep their discipline, Hightower said, and make sure they don’t over pursue plays in the backfield and stay true to their keys.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be penetration as much as that we need to know our assignments,” Hightower said. “We need to make sure they are where they are supposed to be and that’s the biggest thing we can get hurt with.

“If their eyes start wandering or they start drifting away from what their responsibility is and trying to make a play somewhere else, then we could get in trouble.”

To combat the Cardinals’ grinding offense the Cougars will try to stay balanced on offense and establish a strong running game to go along with their high-powered passing attack led by the senior duo of quarterback Will Bellamy and receiver Trevor Begue.

Cougars’ running back Evan Trahan, as well as the offensive line, will be called upon to challenge the Cardinals’ defense physically.

The offensive line in particular will have their hands full against an E.D White defense that shows several different alignments to confuse teams in pass protection and their run blocking assignments.

“We want to be balanced. They line up in a lot different places and try to confuse you with their alignment,” Hightower said. “But by this time in the season our guys are secure enough in what their assignments are that it won’t be too much of a problem.

“We’re going to be throwing the ball, but we’d like to establish a running game as well. When we’re pass protecting we have to make sure we know where everyone is coming from.”

After sitting out the first round of action, Hightower said he was happy with the way his team practiced in the bye week and thought the tempo of practice was good enough to keep the Cougars sharp.

Playing at home in this round and being guaranteed a home game for the semifinals if they advance past E.D. White was definitely a plus, but Hightower said they can’t worry about the semifinals right now.

Even if there is a possibility for a rematch against cross-town rival Teurlings.

“It’s good to have (the game at home) if we win, but it means nothing if we (lose),” Hightower said. “We’re happy about where we are in the bracket, but there are plenty of good teams left, so you have to win and beat good teams. That’s the way the playoffs should be.”

Game: 7 p.m., Friday at St. Thomas More

Seed: No. 2 St. Thomas More; No. 7 E.D. White

Last game: St. Thomas More on bye; E.D. White beat Loyola 35-17

Last year: St. Thomas More lost to Jesuit 20-13 in quarterfinals; E.D. White lost to Notre Dame 41-7 in the quarterfinals

Players to Watch: EDW – Jeremy Rounds, RB (No. 5); Brandon Legendre, RB (No. 33); STM – Aaron Monrose, DL; Ethan Broussard, OL; Evan Trahan, RB


St. Thomas More

Sept. 4 beat Sulphur 31-13; 10 beat Eldorado 44-14; 18 beat Plaquemine 35-34; 25 lost Catholic 35-17; Oct. 2 beat Hahnville 52-12; 9 beat Beau Chene 70-0; 16 beat Carencro 28-13; 23 lost Teurlings 42-28; 30 Opelousas; Nov. 6 Northside. PLAYOFFS: NOV. 11 Bye Week; 20 E.D White

E.D. White

Sept. 4 beat VANDEBILT CATHOLIC 34-14; 11 lost Lakeshore 44-42; 18 lost ST. JAMES 28-26; 25 beat KAPLAN 20-16; Oct. 2 beat Franklin 64-14; 10 beat THOMAS JEFFERSON 21-20; 16 lost Patterson; 23 beat North Vermilion 45-28; 30 beat BERWICK 55-33; Nov. 6 lost ERATH 40-14; PLAYOFFS Nov. 13 beat Loyola Prep 35-17; 20 ST. THOMAS MORE

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