Edna Karr ground game fuels 48-26 win over Lakeshore in Class 4A championship
NEW ORLEANS — Edna Karr was too much for Lakeshore in the Class 4A state championship game Saturday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The top-seeded Cougars had too much Ahmad Antoine — a game-high 141 rushing yards and a touchdown.
They had too much Ronnie Jackson — four rushing touchdowns and 107 yards.
And there was way too much of Most Valuable Player Skylar Perry — 137 yards and a touchdown rushing and 168 yards and a touchdown passing.
Throw in 11 sacks from the defense and you have a 48-26 victory against the previously undefeated but outmanned Titans in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Football Classic.
“That was one of the toughest games we played all year,” Cougars coach Brice Brown said. “Even with the turnovers (four) and penalties (11 for 113 yards) that we had we capitalized in the end with the three backs in the backfield. And I’ve been saying all year that we have the best defensive line in the state of Louisiana.”
Karr (14-1) won its second consecutive championship in its third consecutive appearance in the title game. It’s the first time the Cougars have won consecutive state titles and came in their seventh appearance in the title game in eight years.
“We knew we had to make history,” Jackson said. “We fought throughout the whole game. We played four quarters. We had the mindset and we played with a chip on our shoulder. We wanted to be remembered.”
They will be — as will the first Titans team to reach the state finals. Second-seeded Lakeshore finished 14-1.
“We knew what we were stepping into,” Lakeshore coach Craig Jones said. “When we made adjustments they had an answer. They’re a phenomenal team and a phenomenal program and they deserve everything they’ve gotten.”
Karr rushed for 402 of its 570 total yards.
“We knew we had to stop the running game,” Titans defensive tackle Tylan Driver said, “but we couldn’t do it. So hats off to them.”
The Cougars extended their eight-point halftime lead to 34-20 when Antoine ran 19 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter.
Jackson ran 5 yards for a touchdown and a 41-20 lead on the next possession. He ran 7 yards for a 48-20 lead with 8:10 remaining.
The Titans avoided a second-half shutout when Chris Penton threw a 15-yard touchown pass to Jake Smiroldo with 3:16 left in the game.
“Nobody believed in us but we got here,” Lakeshore receiver Jalen Willis said. “We just couldn’t finish it.”
Karr out-gained Lakeshore, 363-140 in the first half, but couldn’t shake the Titans.
Perry threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Spurlock, but Jacob Bernard returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a tying touchdown.
Lakeshore took a 10-7 lead on Josh Massa’s 26-yard field goal, but Jackson scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 5 yards to give the Cougars a 21-10 lead.
Bernard caught a 71-yard touchdown pass from Penton to get the Titans within 21-17.
Perry ran 10 yards for a touchdown, but Massa kicked a 30-yard field goal with nine seconds left to cut Karr’s lead to 28-20 at halftime.
“The three turnovers that we got in the first half kept us in it,” Jones said. “But they really controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides.”
The Titans couldn’t keep up in the second half. Nonetheless it was an historic season that showed the Northshore school the path to the Superdome.
“I think our playoff run proved we belong,” Jones said. “People know who Lakeshore is now.”
They’ve known who Karr is for a long time.
“To go back to back is great, but when you win people expect more,” Brown said. “Next year there are going to be T-shirts for a three-peat.”
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Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…