Behind five touchdown passes from quarterback Chris Vargas, Leesville won its ninth game of the year and prepares for a playoff run.

The Wampus Cats jumped out to an early lead and never surrendered it, defeating St. Louis Catholic 56-34.

"(Vargas) had a good rhythm within the offense," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "We took what they gave us. He had a couple of long throws but he had a lot of short throws for 15 yards, and we outran them. Our kids just wouldn't quit."

Leesville was No. 6 in the Class 4A Power Rankings heading into the last week of the regular season, and the win over St. Louis Catholic should solidify its high spot in the final rankings.

"We weren't very excited last night," Causey said. "We didn't play with the same level of intensity that we should have had, based on what is coming. Going into the playoffs, you hope your kids meet your expectations of respecting everybody and fearing nobody. It's one-and-done, and you have to focus on your preparation and make it meaningful.

"The last time that Leesville won the Hooper Trophy, won the district outright, and hosted a first-round playoff game was seven years ago. This thing doesn't always happen, and I'm proud to be a part of it."

The Wampus Cats got out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter with a pair of passing touchdowns from Vargas and a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Dante Gallashaw.

St. Louis opened the second quarter with a 25-yard touchdown with pass from quarterback Bailey Hardy to Connor Williams.

Hardy threw for five touchdowns and 280 yards out of some looks that Causey had not seen before the game.

"They hit us in the passing game," he said. "They had a big, bruising running back so we had to stack the box a bit. We felt comfortable that they couldn't run the ball on us.

"They did some passing things that we hadn't seen until last night. We had to make adjustments on the fly with our athletes. It didn't work out as well as we'd hoped, but we made the plays when we needed to."

The Wampus Cats answered the Saints touchdown with a 65-yard touchdown run by Tyreke Walker, and Andrew Croker scored on a 42-yard reception with 55 seconds remaining in the half.

After another Hardy passing touchdown, Vargas found Duwon Tolbert for an 18-yard score, his second touchdown of the game.

"He gives you a big body," Causey said of Tolbert. "He's not as fast as he could be and what he's going to be next year if he buys into the offseason. He's got a Division I receiver frame and hands. What's next is open field speed."

Walker scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, and McKenzie Jackson caught a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put Leesville up 56-27.