As is inevitably the case in Division I, rematches have been prevalent and another is on deck this Friday at 7 p.m. when No. 1 Rummel hosts No. 4 Brother Martin at Joe Yenni Stadium.
Not only will it be the second matchup of the season between the two teams, but the fourth in the last two seasons as they also met in the playoffs in 2018. Rummel has won all three of the previous matchups including a convincing 30-0 victory over the Crusaders in Week 6, which was also played at Joe Yenni.
That was more than a month ago on October 12, though, and much has changed since the two last met. The Raiders are coming off a last-second, 35-34, win over No. 8 St. Augustine in the quarterfinals while Brother Martin ousted No. 5 Scotlandville, 46-13.
Here’s how both teams stack up at each position group, and don’t forget to check out the Catholic League picks and capsules for both semifinal matchups here.
Rummel — Just as he has all season, Kyle Wickersham showed a ton of toughness and grit last week in the Raiders’ wild win over St. Augustine. Sporting a bloody forehead and nose after a big hit on Rummel’s final drive, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder still returned to the game to throw the game-winning touchdown with just 22 seconds left in a perfectly executed 2-minute drill. He completed 5-of-8 passes for 40 yards on the last 57-yard scoring drive, and also had two consecutive runs for 14 yards including a quarterback sneak on fourth down.
He did make one mistake throwing an interception that led to St. Aug’s go-ahead touchdown, but has clearly matured into a player the Raiders can rely on during his first year as a starter. Wickersham has now completed 118 of his 198 attempts (59.6%) for 1,379 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Brother Martin — Sophomore Garrett Mmahat had one of his better outings of the season last week against Scotlandville completing 13 of his 18 passes for 171 yards with four touchdowns, which tied a season-high set against Shaw in Week 7. The Crusaders typically take what they’re given offensively, and with Scotlandville stacking the box to contain Brother Martin’s talented backfield duo, Mmahat was able to make them pay. In his first full season as a starter after a few starts last year as a freshman, the 6-foot, 160-pounder has completed 82-of-158 passes for 1,171 yards with 16 touchdowns to 7 interceptions.
Rummel — It’s been a two-headed attack in the backfield led by junior Logan Diggs and senior Jaelen Sturgis for much of the season for Rummel, but Diggs took the reins last week against St. Aug. The highly sought after Division I recruit had 16 rushes for 89 yards with a 32-yard touchdown that extended the Raiders’ lead to 14-0 in the opening quarter. Sturgis actually had the first score for the Raiders on a short run, but ended the night with just four yards on four carries. They have now rushed for 810 yards with six touchdowns on 138 carries (5.9 per/carry) and 484 yards with three touchdowns on 96 carries (5.0 per/carry), and were highly productive against Brother Martin in Week 6 with Diggs rushing for 143 while Sturgis had 58.
Brother Martin — Senior Chris Smith and junior Jaylon Spears have been the catalysts for the Crusaders’ offense combining for 292 carries for 1,667 yards and 15 touchdowns. They finished third and fourth in the regular season in rushing in the Catholic League, but were held in check for the most part last week against Scotlandville with Smith rushing for 55 yards to Spears’ 74 on 13 and 19 carries. Those numbers, however, were more a product of the success Brother Martin was having through the air, but that wasn’t the case in the last meeting against Rummel.
Spears rushed for just 33 yards on nine carries against the Raiders while Smith was still slowed by a collarbone injury rushing for nine yards on four totes. Conventional wisdom would suggest they’ll have to return to their usual productive selves for the Crusaders to have a chance.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Rummel — LSU commitment Koy Moore and senior Ivory Wilright IV continue to be the headliners of this group, and last week it was the latter who stole the show. Wilright reeled in four catches for 101 yards, and two of those grabs came on Rummel’s final drive including the game-winning 11-yard catch with 22 seconds left. Wilright now has 28 catches for 480 yards with eight touchdown catches on the season, and has proven without a doubt he deserves a spot on a college roster. Moore has 40 receptions for 483 yards with three touchdowns. Junior Tyler Cook also had a touchdown reception last week against St. Aug, and junior Keith Robertson had a key first-down catch on the Raiders’ final drive of the game as well.
Brother Martin — While Mmahat had one of his better outings of the season last week, it was a balanced effort in the receiving corps as no one reached the 60-yard mark. Senior John Louis led the group with 53 yards and a touchdown on three catches, and two of sophomore Austin Jackson’s four grabs for 26 yards went for touchdowns. Southeastern baseball commitment Joe Delaney had two receptions for 34 yards, and he leads the team in receiving yards with 302 while Louis isn’t far behind with 290. The Crusaders also make good use of Spears and Smith out of the backfield, particularly Spears as he’s totaled 266 yards on the year to Smith’s 54.
Rummel — This unit came up big when the Raiders needed them most last week against St. Aug. They gave Wickersham the time he needed in the pocket to find his receivers on the go-ahead drive, and also got the necessary push up front to help convert a crucial 4th-and-inches situation. The group also allowed just three sacks for a total of eight yards lost against an incredibly talented St. Aug defense, and they’re a veteran group with three seniors and two juniors that are comfortable playing in big games against stout competition.
Brother Martin — This is still a young group featuring no seniors, but they have a wealth of experience with all five players in their second full year as starters. They’re a relatively big group who has anchored the Crusaders’ tough running game, and they know they’ll have their hands full against a physical Rummel defensive front.
Rummel — As mentioned before, senior Jordon Williams and junior Caboz Craig are the impact players up front for the Raiders, and they didn’t disappoint against the Purple Knights. While both only had one tackle for loss, they made a plethora of plays near the line of scrimmage, and Williams even found himself hustling downfield for a couple of big hits. They have been a force week in and week out for Rummel over the last couple of years, and there’s no reason to suspect their presence won’t be felt once again Friday night. Williams is up to 72 tackles with 10 for loss and six sacks with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Craig has 56 takedowns with 12 for loss, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Brother Martin — By the Crusaders’ calculations in a formula that weights a variety of different defensive statistics, senior defensive ends Hunter Lassere and Noah Labbe are the team’s most productive players. They entered last week with 53 tackles and 4.5 sacks and 41 tackles with seven sacks, respectively. Senior Kyle West, sophomore Andrew Lion and freshman Brenden Leblanc and Kai Brown also see their fair share of snaps in a deep defensive line rotation.
Rummel — Junior Kolbe Fields and senior Aaron Thomas are two more Division I prospects on a stacked Raiders defense. Thomas, a Southern commitment, was the more impactful of the two last week as he finally looked healthy after battling multiple injuries throughout the season. He made several plays near the line of scrimmage as well as delivering a couple of big hits downfield. Both have great instincts and are sure tacklers in the open field with Fields being the more speedy and explosive player while Thomas brings the power. Fields is tied for second on the team in tackles with 82 including 8 for loss, 3.5 sacks and 3 interceptions while Thomas has a team-high 84 takedowns with 9 for loss, a sack and two interceptions.
Brother Martin — One of the Catholic League’s more unheralded players resides in Brother Martin’s linebacking unit in senior Trevor Tate. He actually finished as the league’s regular season leader in tackles with 78, and was third on the team in production as defined by the aforementioned Crusader calculations. Junior Noah Chachere and senior Luke Schexnaildre are also good players that round out Brother martin’s linebacker unit.
Rummel — This is the most talented and deepest group of any coming into the vast majority of matchups, and this week will be no different. The Raiders boast five bonafide Division I prospects in their secondary, and that doesn’t even include senior Sean Grimes who was one of the defense’s top performers last week against St. Aug. He should absolutely be on some college teams’ radar, though, and had another interception last week to bring his season total to three.
Vanderbilt commitment Donovan Kaufman (82 tackles, 8 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 4 FF, 2 FR, 5 PBUs, 2 TDs) and 3-star Quinton Cage (72 tackles, 13 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 PBUs, 3 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT) call themselves the “Smash Brothers” and they’re the heart and soul of the state’s most productive defense. Former Nicholls commitment Corey Smooth (27 tackles, 7 PBUs, 4 INTs) plays a key role for the Raider defense along with former Colorado commitment Gavin Holmes (18 tackles, 4 PBUs) and former Southern commitment Malik Woodery, who leads the team in interceptions with six including one last week.
Brother Martin — Like Rummel, this is likely Brother martin’s deepest group. Georgia Tech commitment Nick Turner has deservedly earned a reputation as a lockdown corner, and not many teams have dared to try him this season. That’s given more opportunities for one of the Catholic League’s “diamonds in the rough” in senior Davonn Moore, who leads the team in pass breakups with four while intercepting two passes. Senior safety Adam Randolph and senior cornerback Jaiden Watson also have two interceptions in an experienced and athletic secondary unit.
Rummel — Senior Patrick Vanderbrook has been referenced here before as one of the Catholic League’s most reliable kickers, and he demonstrated as much last week going 5-for-5 on his extra points including the game-winning PAT with 22 seconds remaining. He also had a touchback on one of his kickoffs and got good hang time on his punts.
In the return game, Kaufman is one of the state’s most dangerous kickoff returners, but the Purple Knights did a good job keeping him in check last week. Moore, Smooth and Diggs are also threats as returners, and you could see any of the four back for kicks or punts.
Brother Martin — Senior Jack Landry handles the kicking duties for the Crusaders, and he recently committed to Southeastern. Moore is Brother Martin’s most lethal weapon in the return game with multiple returns for touchdowns throughout his career.
*We had interviews with Rummel DB Quinton Cage, DL Evonce Brown and K/P Patrick Vanderbrook along with Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis, but experienced some technical difficulties along the way. We hope to get them to you before kickoff Friday night.
2019: Rummel, 30-0 (Week 6)
2018: Rummel, 17-0 (Week 8) | Rummel, 27-23 (Quarterfinals)
2017: Brother Martin, 21-17 (Week 8)
2016: Brother Martin, 27-22 (Week 8)
2015: Rummel, 59-27 (Week 8)
2014: Rummel, 45-24 (Week 10)
2013: Rummel, 33-13 (Week 10)
2012: Rummel, 56-21 (Week 10)
2011: Rummel, 24-17 (Week 10)
2010: Brother Martin, 28-7 (Week 6)
2009: Rummel, 13-6 (Week 6)