As good as Ascension Catholic has been over the past few years, they haven't been able to get over the hurdle of beating District 6-1A powers Southern Lab and Kentwood.

That all changed on Friday night.

As good as Ascension Catholic has been over the past few years, they haven’t been able to get over the hurdle of beating District 6-1A powers Southern Lab and Kentwood.

That all changed on Friday night.

Hosting top-ranked and undefeated Kentwood, the Bulldogs were fueled by an opportunistic defense and another dominant rushing performance by Jai Williams. They raced out to a 12-0 lead and then did just enough to hold on for a 12-7 upset victory.

“That was a tremendous performance against an undefeated No. 1 team. It’s a surreal feeling. It’s a program-changing win for us, because we finally got over the hump and beat a respected state power,” Ascension Catholic head coach Drey Trosclair said.

It was an extra sweet victory after the Bulldogs came so close but ultimately fell short against Kentwood last season.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Trosclair said. “We played these guys really close two years in a row. It was a 12-0 game two years ago and a 13-7 game last year. Our guys worked so hard for this. We were so close against Southern Lab two weeks ago. We had another chance against a No. 1 opponent, and our kids played their tails off for four quarters. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

On Kentwood’s opening drive of the game, quarterback Terrell Hookfin was sacked and stripped of the ball by John Broussard. The fumble was recovered by Dillion Davis at the Kangaroo 17.

Four plays later, Williams scored on a four-yard run. After the extra point was blocked, Ascension Catholic led 6-0 early.

Kentwood later took over at the Bulldog 40-yard line after turning Ascension Catholic over on downs. However, on their second play, LSU commit Trey Palmer took a big shot from Jamar Barber. The hit jarred the ball loose, and Rodney Blanchard recovered at the Bulldog 32.

Palmer was injured on the play and never returned.

Ascension Catholic again took advantage of the turnover. They marched 68 yards in eight plays and took a 12-0 lead with a six-yard touchdown run by Williams.

The Bulldogs tried to put more points on the board before the half. They quickly moved 60 yards in nine plays, but they had to settle for a 25-yard field goal. It went wide right.

Kentwood was held to just 18 first-half yards.

Ascension Catholic looked like they were on their way to putting the game out of reach to begin the third as they drove into Kangaroo territory, but a Blanchard pass was picked off.

The turnover finally gave the Kentwood offense life. Hookfin completed four straight passes for 69 yards—including a seven-yard score to Edward Magee to cut the Bulldog lead to 12-7 late in the third.

The Kangaroos had two opportunities to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but both times, Ascension Catholic’s defense made huge stands.

The first time, they drove to the Bulldog 47, but Ascension Catholic turned them over on downs. Later, Eric Simon, Jr. came up with a huge interception.

After Simon’s pick, Williams reeled off a 10-yard run that converted a third-and-six and iced the game.

Williams had another monster performance. He carried the ball 33 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Barber added 39 yards.

“The gameplan was to keep the ball on the ground and give it to our good backs,” Trosclair said. “I thought Jai and Jamar did a great job running the football. Our offensive line was fantastic tonight, and those guys deserve a lot of credit. We were able to keep the ball away from them and put two touchdowns on the board.”

Kentwood was held to just 160 total yards. Only 41 of those yards came on the ground, and they were forced into three turnovers.

“We took advantage of some mistakes they made. Our guys made some really good plays knocking the ball out and getting us those turnovers,” Trosclair said. “Then we were able to score off of them and capitalize.”

The huge victory improved Ascension Catholic to 8-1 overall. They’ll play their final game this week as they go on the road to face St. John.