Bulldogs make easy work of Warriors in first-round game

Kyle Riviere
Jamar Barber rushed for 178 yards and two scores in Ascension Catholic's 63-7 win over Houma Christian. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Houma Christian just completed their best season in school history as they won six games and reached the playoffs, but from the opening kickoff of their first-round road matchup against sixth-seeded Ascension Catholic, it was obvious that they were overmatched.

The Bulldogs looked as powerful as advertised as they used 100-yard rushing efforts from both Jamar Barber and Jai Williams and two interception returns for touchdowns to conquer the Warriors, 63-7.

“We challenged them in the locker room before the game, and we told them that they have to play the best game of the season tonight, because this is the only one that matters,” Ascension Catholic head coach Drey Trosclair said. “It’s win, or go home. There are no do-overs. You can’t go back and redo it if you have a bad game. It’s do or die, and I think the guys did a good job of coming out and really executing the game plan.”

Houma Christian took an early gamble in the first quarter as they went for a fourth-and-two at their own 35-yard line. The Bulldog defense forced the turnover on downs.

On the very next play, Barber broke loose on a 36-yard touchdown run to give Ascension Catholic an early 7-0 lead.

On the Bulldogs’ next drive, they scored in just three plays. Once again, it was Barber running away from Warrior defenders for a 37-yard touchdown.

Williams then got into the act. On another three-play drive, he gave Ascension Catholic a 21-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter with a 25-yard scoring scamper.

From there, it was smooth sailing for the Bulldogs.

To end the half, they added a 45-yard touchdown run by Williams and a 1-yard score by John Mire on a quarterback sneak.

The defense also got involved as Rodney Blanchard picked off Damien Pennison and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to give Ascension Catholic a dominating 42-0 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs added a 3-yard touchdown run by Nick Milano, and Barber added a pick-six in the fourth.

Houma Christian got their first points of the game after that touchdown. Pennison connected with Je’Corie Ward from 55 yards out.

The Warriors were held to just 150 total yards.

Barber and Williams accounted for 283 of Ascension Catholic’s 322 total yards.

Barber piled up 178 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries, while Williams had 105 yards and two scores on seven carries.

“For the season, both of those guys are over 1,200 yards apiece, which says a whole heck of a lot about how good they are, and it says a lot about our offensive line and how well they work together as a unit,” Trosclair said. “Every time you have a chance to hand it to those two backs, something special can happen, and you saw a good bit of that tonight. So, hopefully, we can continue to ride their tails, and they can take us where we want to go.”

The defense came up with three interceptions. Besides Blanchard and Barber, Eric Simon, Jr. came up with a pick.

The Bulldogs now advance to the state quarterfinals for the second straight season, but Coach Trosclair has much more in mind for his team.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Trosclair said. “Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win a state championship, but you have to take it one step at a time, and that’s what we’ve been preaching to the kids all week, and they did a good job of focusing on just this one, because you can’t win the next one if you can’t win the first one. Now, the first one is out of the way, and I was really excited about the effort we put forth.”