Bulldogs all set for title rematch against Knights

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Catholic enters the Division-IV title game at 12-1 overall and averaging 46 points per game. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

A year has passed, and we're right back where we started.

In the 2017 Division-IV title game in the Superdome, Ascension Catholic was dealt terrible luck the day before the game and during the contest itself.

They lost multiple starters to injuries. Despite being drastically undermanned, they fought to the end, but it just wasn't enough. They had to watch in devastation as Lafayette Christian hoisted the state championship trophy.

Ever since then, they wanted a second chance, a chance to prove that at full strength, they are the best team in the state. Now, they have it.

For the second straight season, it's Lafayette Christian vs. Ascension Catholic for the Division-IV state championship.

“This is awesome," Bulldog head coach Drey Trosclair said. "We played Lafayette Christian last year and fell a little short. We get another chance against them for the state championship. I’m so proud of our guys. I’m happy for them. They deserve every opportunity.”

Last year, the Bulldogs were faced with tremendous adversity a whole day before the first snap.

Starting running back Jamar Barber and his younger brother Dorian (No. 3 back) were involved in a car wreck. They fortunately escaped serious injuries, but they were too banged up to play in the state title game.

Once the game began, starting running back Jai Williams was sidelined with a concussion before halftime. Later, running back Mason Zeringue broke his finger.

After the game, Trosclair said, "Four of our top backs were out. It kind of handcuffs you as far as what you can do offensively. Some of the different things that we wanted to do, we just weren't able to do them. We weren't able to put any points on the board."

He went on to say, "The game plan was shot at that point. We're a running football team. We rushed for over 4,000 yards. If you take four running backs away from a team that runs for over 4,000 yards, the game plan obviously changes. We had to go to the air. That's not our thing. That's not our bread and butter."

Also in the game, safety Brock Acosta was injured in the first half.

With Barber, Williams and Zeringue also starting on defense, the Bulldogs were without four defensive starters at one point in the second half.

But now the Bulldogs are at full strength, and they want to prove they're better than Lafayette Christian.

It certainly won't be easy. Lafayette Christian has been absolutely dominant all season. They are outscoring their opponents by an average margin of 57-6 per game.

As impressive as their offense has been, it's the defense that has been even more sensational. During the regular season, they amazingly pitched shutouts in nine of their 10 games.

They held Southern Lab running back and LSU commit Tyrion Davis to just 61 yards on 21 carries. Davis rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns in the Kittens' regular-season win over Ascension Catholic.

The Lafayette Christian defensive unit is expected to be strong with Trev Faulk as their head coach. Faulk was one of the greatest linebackers LSU ever produced.

The Knight offense is led by running back Logan Gabriel, who is fresh off of a 245-yard, two-touchdown performance in Lafayette Christian's 35-20 semifinal win over Southern Lab.

Quarterback Zachary Clement is a duel-threat. He had 49 yards rushing and a score against the Kittens.

But Ascension Catholic's defense certainly cannot be discounted. The Bulldogs come into the championship contest giving up just 13 points per game.

In last year's title game against Lafayette Christian, despite missing four starters, they still held the Knights to just 149 total yards.

The Bulldog offense is averaging 46 points per game and is led by Williams on the ground. He rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season.

In the semifinal win over Vermilion Catholic, he rushed for 293 yards and two scores.

Jamar Barber rushed for nearly 700 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season.

The Bulldogs were only down 3-0 to Lafayette Christian late in the fourth quarter of last year's title game, until a pick-six put the game away. That victory contributed to what is currently a 19-game winning streak for the Knights.

The teams have played two common opponents this year in Vermilion Catholic and Southern Lab.

Lafayette Christian beat Vermilion Catholic, 54-21. Ascension Catholic beat them, 37-13. The Knights beat Southern Lab, 35-20. The Bulldogs lost to the Kittens, 22-19.

Lafayette Christian and Ascension Catholic will square off for the Division-IV state title in the Superdome on Thursday evening, at roughly 3:30.