Bulldogs cruise past East Iberville in homecoming shutout

Michael Tortorich
Ascension Catholic receiver Joel Landry scores on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Leonard. Photo by Michael Tortorich.

Undefeated Ascension Catholic turned in a monster first half to coast to a 37-0 win over East Iberville Friday night.

Bulldogs senior Jai Williams accounted for four touchdowns, three rushing and one fumble recovery return. Quarterback Bryce Leonard threw a 40-yard touchdown strike to Joel Landry. And a safety rounded out the scoring just before halftime.

Ascension Catholic head coach Benny Saia said a rain-soaked field can serve as an equalizer, but heavy rainfall held off throughout the game. Friday's conditions did not hamper the Bulldogs’ quick start.

"I thought we came out hot," Saia said. "We really hit the ground running. I didn't know when the sky was going to open up. We just played really well in all phases.

East Iberville head coach Ron LeJeune gave credit to the Bulldogs.

"I knew Ascension Catholic was very good," LeJeune said. "I thought we could have played a better game than we did. I'm not taking anything away from them. They're a very good team. They were a lot better up front than us, stronger and more physical. We couldn't stop them running, and we couldn't get first downs. It's going to be a long night when that happens."

Ascension Catholic's Khai Prean led all rushers with 60 yards on six carries, while Williams gained 44 yards on seven tries.

Defensively, Ascension Catholic held East Iberville to 37 passing yards and 35 rushing yards. Nicholas Hillard and Trent Landry registered sacks, while Sam Melancon and Lex Melancon accounted for half a sack each. Williams and Brayden Duhon tallied fumble recoveries. Brock Acosta and Eric Simon Jr. each hauled in interceptions.

"They're playing really well," Saia said of the defense. "All three levels: line, linebackers and secondary. We just have to keep working and get better and better."

Saia also gave credit to the backup players who were called into action and preserved the shutout.

"We're hitting on all cylinders and we're healthy," Saia said. "That's always good. At the end, our JV guys buckled up and got after them. That was big."

Ascension Catholic scored four times in the first quarter. Williams crashed over a defender to reach the end zone on a 6-yard run.

Just 34 seconds later, Williams crossed the goal line on a 4-yard carry to capitalize on Simon's interception and 40-yard return.

Leonard found Landry on a route to the right corner for a 40-yard touchdown connection.

At the close of the first quarter, Williams broke free on a 12-yard touchdown run.

In the second, Williams scooped a fumble and accelerated past the Tigers for a 37-yard touchdown return.

On the safety play, the Tigers attempted to punt near their own goal line when the snap ended up crossing the back of the end zone.

Notably in special teams, Ascension Catholic's Matthew LaFleur finished with two punts for a 34.5 average. Jacob Dunn went 5-for-5 kicking extra points.

Ascension Catholic improved to 7-0 (2-0 in district), while East Iberville fell to 5-2 (1-2 in district).

The Bulldogs will host Ascension Christian on Nov. 1, while the Tigers meet Thrive Academy at home.