LSU commit Jerald Hawkins stood out from the crowd. The senior from West St. Mary was easily the tallest player on the field. In the 6-5 to 6-6 range, Hawkins looked trimmer than expected. He takes almost every snap on offense and defense for West St. Mary, which is a small (Class 2A) school. Hawkins has been listed anywhere from 260 to 285 pounds, and he appeared to be approximately 255 to 260 pounds on Friday. He's lean and doesn't carry much body fat. In other words, Hawkins can and will bulk up considerably during his college career.
Top-ranked John Curtis Christian, which played Thursday night, sent a crew of coaches to scout West St. Mary/Catholic, and the Curtis coaches were impressed with Hawkins. On defense, Hawkins lined up at end and he seemed content to attempt to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage, If that wasn't by design, I would have liked to have seen Hawkins pin his ears back and get after the quarterback more often.
Stanford commit Jontrey Tillman was thicker than expected, and not in a bad way. Projected as a defensive back at Stanford, Tillman plays both DB and RB for West St. Mary. He's heavily muscled and eventually was able to break through Catholic's defense for a 65-yard TD run in the third quarter. Tillman finished the night with 140 yards on 24 carries. Outside of Hawkins, West St. Mary's offensive line doesn't have much beef and it showed against Catholic's run defense. Tillman didn't get many holes to run through. On defense, he did a nice job in run support.
West St. Mary WR Daijuan Stewart, an SMU commit, entered the game as the state's leading receiver, but he only caught one pass for 13 yards vs. Catholic. West St. Mary QB Trevell Dixon had an off-night, connecting on 6-of-16 attempts for 41 yards and five interceptions. Catholic's defensive backs were aggressive and effective in jamming Stewart at the line of scrimmage. While Dixon had trouble tossing the football, he was elusive running it. The junior kept the pigskin 18 times for 130 yards and a touchdown. At halftime, a John Curtis coach made a remark about Dixon being a gifted athlete. On a side note, Stewart got off some excellent punts for West St. Mary. He had to field more than one errant snap, too.
The Curtis staff also had positive comments for Catholic junior QB Joe Lissard, who completed 19-of-35 passes for 269 yards and two TDs.
"Look at the way he (Lissard) is the first one out on the field for warmups during halftime," said the coach. "That's the kind of thing that college recruiters don't get too see often enough. That says a lot about the type of leader a kid is."
Lissard was very accurate on short throws. On a third-and-long situation early in the game, he moved the chains by finding a receiver with a perfectly-placed pass. Lissard isn't extremely mobile, but he has exceptional presence as a field general. Moreover, he has above-average velocity. The junior is among the state's leading passers with over 2,200 yards and 25 TDs (vs. only seven interceptions).
Catholic senior defensive lineman Drew Hebert was phenomenal. Hebert picked off a pass and seemed to always be in the backfield. He made numerous stops near the line of scrimmage.
Both Catholic and West St. Mary were ranked in our preseason Class 2A Top 10, despite finishing below .500 last year in Class 3A. Catholic (9-1) enters the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and will host No. 29 Sterlington (4-6) on Friday. West St. Mary (6-4) also has a home game in the first round. The No. 15 Wolfpack entertain No. 18 St. Thomas Aquinas (5-5).