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Chaminade is ready for ‘big game atmosphere’ at De Smet

The Chaminade Red Devils take a two-game winning streak in Friday’s game De Smet in a Metro Catholic Conference game.

Chaminade quarterback Brady Cook hands the ball off to senior running back Loren Fortune Jr. The Red Devils will play Friday at De Smet.

The Red Devils are 4-1 and 1-1 in MCC action. De Smet is 5-0 and 3-0 in conference play.

A Chaminade victory keeps its hopes alive to share in a league championship. The Red Devils have to play St. Louis University next week for their last conference game. A win by De Smet will clinch the Spartans’ first MCC championship since 2009.

Coach Antoine Torrey knows this game is important. It has several factors in it that are important to this program.

“Every MCC game provides a big-game atmosphere,” Torrey said. “As I told our football team; this games offers us more opportunity than it offers De Smet. We have the opportunity to get back into the MCC race, to play a high caliber Class 6 ballclub to help us improve and prepare for the Class 5 playoffs.”

Torrey said he is pleased with how his team has played in the start of the season.

“We are happy with where we are after playing three top 10 teams,” Torrey said. “We know we have to continue to improve as we still have two top ranked teams on our schedule, including two tough MCC opponents.”

The Chaminade offense is averaging 42 points a game.

“Our weekly goals have always been to score at least 35 points per game,” Torrey said. “We are not surprised with how well our offense is producing this early in the season. We know we have to continue to improve in all phases of the game.”

Senior Brady Cook had played well at quarterback. Cook, who has verbally committed to play at Missouri, has completed 79 of 129 passes for 1,402 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has completed 61.24 percent of his passes. He has three interceptions.

“Brady Cook has done a tremendous job leading our offense and team this fall,” Torrey said. “He has played with great confidence and poise in the pocket and his leadership off the field has improved as well. All summer, Brady’s primary goal has been to lead his team and not play for personal accomplishments.

“He is performing at a very high level thus far distributing the ball around to several receivers and he continues to bring others up to his level.”

The Red Devils have several players to help complement Cook. Senior running back Loren Fortune Jr. has gained 370 yards on 53 carries. He has six touchdowns. He also has caught 25 passes for 573 yards and six touchdowns. His 12 touchdowns leads the team.

“Loren Fortune Jr. is off to a great start,” Torrey said. “(He) continues to play unselfishly as he has been a dual threat with both rushing and receiving. This balanced attack has helped our offense produce big numbers each week and we hope that continues.”

Junior running back Amar Johnson also is having a great season after five games. He is leading Chaminade in rushing with 502 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging nine yards per carry.

“We will continue to get the ball into his hands as much as possible,” Torrey said.

Chaminade junior running back Amar Johnson runs in a recent game.

The offensive line shares in the credit for the output by the unit.

“Our offensive line have already proved a lot of people wrong as we have been able to run the ball effectively and protect our quarterback for the first half of the season,” Torrey said. “Our offensive line thus far has helped us rush for 236 yards per game and we have six players with six or more yards per carry.

“We are very happy with our young offensive line and know they will continue to improve. (Senior) Julian McBride has been our rock up front and we will continue to lean on him to lead our offensive line.”

While CBC put up 56 points in the Red Devil’s lone loss this year, the defense has played well, Torrey said.

“Our defensive unit continues to improve each week,” Torrey said. “They prepare and practice at a very high level each week and really enjoy working with each other. Our secondary is the strength of our defensive unit and we will continue to improve in front each week.”

Chaminade won on the road last week. The Red Devils earned at 50-21 win last Friday at Jefferson City. The Jays are a perennial state power.

The road trip helped his team in several ways, Torrey said.

“Last week in Jeff City was a great atmosphere. It allowed us to travel and grow closer as a team on the road in front of a big (homecoming) crowd,” Torrey said. “Our offense was clicking on all cylinders and our defense flew around and made big plays on third down all night. We were able to jump on them early and allow several players to get on the field so we could rest our starters for a big game this week.”

This week, the Red Devils remain on the road although the trip is a short one to De Smet. Chaminade has had the Spartans’ number in recent years.

However, Torrey noted this is a new season.

“Although we have won four of the last five games against De Smet, our players are well aware as to how talented De Smet is this season and they know we will have to play at a very high level all night to meet our goals,” Torrey said. “We know De Smet will be well coached and well prepared for us.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to get back into the MCC race with a win Friday night and we will be ready for the challenge.

Chaminade lost 34-16 to the Spartans last year. Torrey remembers it well.

“Last season we lost to De Smet in a game we felt we should have won and we know we can’t make those same mistakes we made last season,” Torrey said. “We know this De Smet team is much better than the one we played last year, so we will have to do some special things to win.”

De Smet owns a big win this year over CBC. That 42-14 win snapped CBC’s 37-game undefeated streak in conference play.

“This De Smet team is an extremely talented group particularly on the offensive line and has one of the best defensive lines we have ever played against,” Torrey said. “Both lines allow them to keep things very simple both offensively and defensively as they rely on their physicality to produce wins. We hope to force them to do things they haven’t had to rely on in recent weeks.

“De Smet wants to run the ball down your throat for four quarters and stretch the field periodically with their Division 1 wide outs. Defensively, they rely on their physical defensive front to force turnovers and they fly around in the secondary very well.”

Torrey knows what the Red Devils have to do to score a win in this league game.

“In order for us to have success Friday night against this talented group, we will have to make big plays defensively on third down, take away what they love to do and score points in several ways,” Torrey said. “Our goal is to find a way to be in the game down the stretch.”

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