Ascension sports year in review

Kyle Riviere
The Ascension Catholic girl's track team won their second straight state title in 2017. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The year has been a bad one in many aspects, but Ascension high-school athletics hasn’t been one of them.

In fact, it’s been a great 2017 for parish sports.

You can look to each of the six high-schools in the area and point to at least one significant athletic achievement for each program.

Ascension Christian has continued to make strides in the field of athletics. This year was no exception.

They began 2017 with a first for two of their programs.

Under first-year head coach Conrad Gayle, the Lion baseball team won their first ever playoff game and reached the state quarterfinals.

This was a feat that was duplicated by the girl’s basketball squad. They too won their first postseason game and came just one victory away from the semifinals.

Also, the football team continued to win. They completed their third straight winning season.

The seven victories they earned in 2017 was the second-most in the program’s history, only behind the eight they picked up a year earlier.

Their Class 1A counterpart, Ascension Catholic had arguably the best season of any school in the parish.

The softball team again reached the LHSAA Softball State Tournament in Sulphur, and this year, the baseball team joined them.

The Bulldogs reached the state tournament at McMurry Park, before dropping a 5-4 epic 11-inning classic in the semifinals to top-seeded Central Catholic.

The football team went a step further.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and steamrolled through the playoffs, punching their ticket to the state title game for the first time in 25 years.

Unfortunately for Ascension Catholic, they were dealt some terrible luck. Running backs Jamar and Dorian Barber were both injured in a car accident the day before the game, and during the contest, Jai Williams and Mason Zeringue were both injured.

With so many starters out of action, they dropped a 10-0 contest to Lafayette Christian.

Though, the girl’s track team finished the job at LSU. For the second straight season, they took home the Class 1A state title.

This victory was headlined by Sophie Daigle as she won individual state championships in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 events.

Donaldsonville failed to win any state championships, but two of their sports programs made terrific progressions in 2017.

Under first-year head coach Garrett Maum, the Donaldsonville baseball team went 12-2. This was the team’s first winning season in at least 17 years.

In the seven prior seasons, the Tigers had collected a grand total of nine victories.

Also, the football team experienced a nice resurgence under second-year head coach Brian Richardson as they improved from 4-6 to 7-3 and won their first playoff game since 2014.

The Griffins’ boy’s basketball team opened 2017 with their first trip to the playoffs in three years.

Dutchtown saw their volleyball team beat St. Amant for the first time in at least a decade and claim a share of the district championship.

Under first-year head coach Guy Mistretta, the Griffin football team improved from 3-7 to 6-4 and won a playoff game.

To start 2017, the East Ascension basketball programs dominated the area.

Both the boy’s and girl’s teams went undefeated in district play, on their way to league titles.

The boy’s team entered the Class 5A playoffs as the No. 1 seed, while the girls entered at No. 2.

Like Dutchtown, the East Ascension volleyball team beat St. Amant for the first time in at least a decade and claimed a share of the district championship.

Also, the football team went 8-2 under second-year head coach Darnell Lee and shared a district title with archival St. Amant.

St. Amant had the most wide-range success of any parish school in 2017.

Amazingly, the softball, football, volleyball and boy’s and girl’s soccer teams all won district championships, and all of those teams except the football and girl’s soccer squads (second round) reached the state quarterfinals.

They shared the league title with East Ascension in football. It was their first under longtime head coach David Oliver.

Their league championship in boy’s soccer marked the first time they took back-to-back titles in the program’s history.

Finally, the girl’s soccer district championship was their first in 12 years.

What an incredible year for Ascension Parish athletics.