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Former Coach: Notre Dame’s Cook reaches 300-win mark in style

Eric Narcisse, The Advertiser, September 12, 2014

The state’s 300 win club has a new member.

Lewis Cook, who is in his 30th season as a head football coach, recorded his 300th career victory on Thursday as his Notre Dame Pios routed the Breaux Bridge Tigers 51-21 at Gardiner Memorial Stadium in Crowley.

"Getting No. 300 means a lot," Cook said. "There’s only been seven people to do it, but I believe there is going to be more to come along. What makes this even more special is that we were able to do it here at home."

As if winning 300 wasn’t enough, Cook will never forget the fashion in which he accomplished the feat as his Pios completely dominated the Tigers on both sides of the football.

"I’m just amazed at how our kids came out here," Cook said. "Just to see how prepared they were and how ready to play they were… They did this. With the way they played, I think 300 meant more to them than anyone else."

Entering the game, it was the Tigers’ defense being heralded for being tough and among the best in the state, but by game’s end it was the Pios standing the tallest. Defensively, the Pios held the Tigers to 146 yards (23 rushing, 123 passing) and four first downs, while forcing two turnovers en route to the victory.

In the first half, the Pios held the Tigers to two first downs and 99 yards (107 passing, -8 rushing).

"I told our defense at halftime just how great they were playing," Cook said. "In the first half they hit that one play against us, but besides that we were dominant. Our defense did a great job all night and they gave us great field position and offensively we finished off drives. The kids were pretty excited."

Offensively, the Pios were equally sensational as they recorded 376 yards (249 rushing, 127 passing) of offense propelled by running back Lance Bertrand, quarterback Brad Stoma and tight end Ethan Smith.

Bertrand rushed for a game-high 135 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, while Stoma completed 6-of-9 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. Stoma also rushed for 17 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Smith proved to be his favorite target as he hauled in three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

"Our kids were excited to play this game and you could see it," Cook said. "There is no way I figured we would score this many points. We were trying to figure out how we were going to get points on the board but we were lucky to get out quickly. I’m just amazed at how well we came out and performed."

Athletic Network Footnote: Click here for the AN profile of Lewis Cook, Jr., UL assistant football coach 1984-86 and 1992-95.