NEW ORLEANS (The Daily Advertiser) – The No. 3 St. Thomas More Cougars’ offense proved to be too much for the No. 5 Parkview Baptist Eagles in the Division II state championship game of the LHSAA’s All-State Prep Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Senior quarterback Nate Cox distributed the ball all over the field, tossing six touchdown passes on the night, tying the all-time composite state championship record set by Ouachita Christian’s Drew Vidrine in 1997. Cox broke the Class 4A record in passing yards and touchdown passes while leading the Cougars to a 54-29 blowout victory.
The Cougars drove down the field with ease on their opening two possessions, racing out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on the back of a six-yard Chris Primeaux touchdown run and a five-yard touchdown pass from Cox to LaGrange.
Cox tossed three touchdown passes in the first half alone, with a different receiver catching each one. The 6-foot-8 quarterback was named St. Thomas More’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts.
After Parkview Baptist struck back with a three-yard touchdown run for Connor Joffrion, Cox tossed his second touchdown pass of the night to tight end Matthew Gautreaux on a 12-yard completion.
The Cougars then got a crucial touchdown just before the first half ended after forcing Parkview Baptist into a three-and-out inside their own 20-yard line.
Cox engineered a nine-play, 59-yard drive to end the half and capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Griffin Hebert to give the Cougars a 27-8 lead to end the first half.
The onslaught continued in the second half with Parkview Baptist proving incapable of slowing down the Cougars’ impressive passing offense.
Senior Alex Hannie, after missing most of the year recovering from injury, was actually the Cougars’ leading receiver on the night, with a long of 43 on a quick screen in which Hannie made several players miss before being tackled just short of the goal line.
Parkview continued to fight throughout the game, scoring a touchdown to open the scoring in the second half with Joffrion scoring his second touchdown.
Then on the first play of the fourth quarter Parkview Baptist quarterback McKane Kinchen hit Joffrion for 40-yard touchdown to bring the Eagles within 11 points of the lead.
On the ensuing drive the Cougars experienced their first three-and-out of the game and punted to the Eagles, who had the chance to make it a one-score game.
But on the first play of the Eagles’ drive Cougars’ junior free safety Cade Broussard stepped in front of Kinchen’s pass for an interception.
The Cougars punished Parkview Baptist for the mistake, with Cox hitting Hannie for a 53-yard touchdown, Cox’s fifth touchdown pass of the night, to extend the Cougars lead to 40-23.
St. Thomas More added another touchdown with 6:31 left in the game when senior running back Gabe LeBouef plowed in from close range to give the Cougars a 47-23 lead.
Cox’s record-tying touchdown pass went to Hannie for another long strike, this one 55 yards to Hannie to give the Cougars a 54-29 lead with less than four minutes remaining.