Semifinals: Evangel vs. St. Charles Catholic

Defending 2A state champion Evangel Christian and five-star defensive end Jermauria Rasco have allowed only 14 points through the first three rounds of the playoffs. This Friday, however, No. 3 St. Charles Catholic (12-1) and its high-scoring offense (40-plus points in nine games) will be ready to test the Eagles in the semifinals. Will ECA survive to defend its title the following week?

(Class 2A picks through three rounds: 26-2; Overall, 107-32)

NO. 3 ST. CHARLES CATHOLIC (12-1) AT NO. 2 EVANGEL CHRISTIAN (10-2) -- Don't doubt Jermauria Rasco.

At the outset of this season, there were a smattering of comments from recruiting junkies about Rasco; critics questioning whether the senior defensive end was worthy of his status as a five-star prospect.

Let's put that nonsense to rest.

Rasco doesn't even play offense, but he scored two early touchdowns last week in the Eagles' 41-0 shutout at Loreauville. On the first play from scrimmage, Rasco scooped up an errant shotgun snap and rumbled into the end zone for six points.

Dionte McDuffy
Shortly thereafter, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound blue-chipper swiped a screen pass and returned it 65 yards for another TD. Rasco demonstrated his athletic ability on the return, breaking a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone.

ECA began the year 1-2, but the Eagles have not been challenged since a Week 3 thriller vs. undefeated Class 5A St. Thomas More. Since that heartbreaking one-point (20-19) loss, no team has come within 27 points of Evangel.

Aggressive SS/RB Dionte McDuffy recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown last week, and quarterback David Dee Duron threw first-half scoring passes to Judah Jones and Trey Taylor for the Eagles, who had opened up a 27-0 advantage by intermission.

"St. Charles Catholic is a well-coached team, but Evangel is going to take #4 (SCC's Marcus Hall) out of the game," said Many High School coach Jess Curtis, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs by Evangel in the 2008 and 2009 quarterfinals. "They're (ECA) going to take away your big-play guy, whoever that is.

Jermauria Rasco
"Last year, they took our dual-threat quarterback, D.J. Palmer, out of the equation and they did the same thing to Loreauville's B.J. Greene last week. (Defensive coordinator) Byron Dawson does a good job with the gameplanning and scheming, and he's going to make St. Charles beat them with the passing game.

"To beat ECA, you have to be able to throw the football. You have to be balanced, and I'm not sure SCC is balanced enough do that."

The Comets, coached by Frank Monica, do like to feed the football to Hall, who has rushed for well over 1,100 yards this fall, but they had success in the air last week in a 42-28 win at Winnfield.

Wide receiver John Wood caught six passes for 77 yards, and QB Donnie Savoie also connected with Jeffrey Hall on a 33-yard completion. RB Lazedrick Thompson is a bull who is difficult to lasso in short-yardage situations -- especially near the goal-line.

SCC hasn't lost to a program other than John Curtis Christian in the past two seasons, and the Comets knocked off a couple of Class 4A playoff clubs -- Woodlawn-BR and Vandebilt Catholic -- to open the season.

The Comets won't be intimidated by the Evangel mystique, but will they be able to sustain lengthy drives against the physically superior defense of the Eagles?

Hall, Hall, and Thompson are outstanding athletes, but the matchup in the trenches is an unfavorable one for SCC's offensive line.

Evangel Christian, 47-33

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