by Jerit Roser // GeauxPreps.com Contributor
Catholic (Baton Rouge) teammates and coaches shouted praise of Daniel Beale as the best quarterback in the state on multiple occasions late this season as their senior answered reporters’ postgame interview questions.
And Acadiana coach Matt McCullough seemed to share the sentiment Friday following the Division-I Select state championship game in which the Wreckin’ Rams struggled to slow down Beale and the Bears, 55-21.
“We knew the quarterback was really good,” McCullough said during his breakdown of the challenges the Catholic offense presented. “He was a four-year starter, and, on film, he was the best guy we’ve seen all year.”
The Louisiana (Lafayette) commit completed 19 of 26 passes for 360 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another score to earn Outstanding Player honors.
And, notably, an Acadiana defensive front that had given other opponents fits during the postseason did not record a sack.
Beale will be the first to credit his offensive line, which played well, but his pocket presence and elusiveness had been impressive throughout the playoff run and were again once more on the big stage.
“I thought the quarterback tonight threw some really good balls,” McCullough said. “He has all year, but he looked really good tonight, and we couldn’t get much pressure on him. And when we did, he was able to kind of elude it, get outside the pocket or make a play with his feet. I just thought he played really well tonight.”
Catholic’s 55 points marked the most allowed by Acadiana since the season-opener against Lafayette Christian and LSU-committed standout Ju’Juan Johnson.
The Wreckin’ Rams were far from alone in that regard.
Beale and company scored the most points allowed by Picayune (Mississippi), University Lab, Central (Baton Rouge), Zachary and John Ehret.
“We knew as an offense if we executed every play, if we did our 1-of-11 each person, we knew we could do what we wanted to do, which is end every drive with points and a touchdown,” the quarterback said. “I think with the talent that we have on offense — starting with the offensive line, all five of ‘em, and the receivers, tight ends, running backs — it’s hard to stop when you can do everything, really. So I think once we got going, it’s hard to stop us.”
The Bears needed just two plays from scrimmage to get going after a great opening kickoff return by Brooks Wright set up a short field for an 18-yard pass to Bradley Wright and 16-yard touchdown run by Barry Remo II.
Catholic scored touchdowns on its first four drives and eight of its first nine before kneeling out the game late.
Beale and the senior class won state championships at three different venues during their high school career, adding Caesar’s Superdome to Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium and Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.
“It’s amazing,” said Beale, who grew up around the program watching older brother play and then serving as a ballboy in junior high. “I mean, I always had dreams of it, and I believed in myself. And then the group of guys around me, I could say this every day, I’m thankful for them, really. Every question goes back to that. But to sit here right now is a dream come true.”