Short-handed Ascension Catholic’s magical run ends in Division IV title game against Lafayette Christian

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NEW ORLEANS – Ascension Catholic’s football season ended in the Mercedes Benz Superdome with Lafayette Christian’s 10-0 victory Thursday in the Division IV State Championship at the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Prep Classic.

The Bulldogs came into the game limping due to unfortunate circumstances off the field. Running backs Jamar Barber (1,600 yards, 21 TDs) and Dorian Barber (475 yards, 6 TDs) were both out due to an automobile accident on the day before the championship game.

“We are very thankful that Jamar, Dorian and Joshua (Barber’s younger brother) are going to be okay, but not having them changed the complexion of the game for sure,” said Ascension Catholic head coach Drey Trosclair.

The teams traded turnovers in the first half. The Bulldogs recovered two fumbles, one by Defensive back Brock Acosta and the other caused by linebacker Jai Williams which Mason Zeringue recovered. The Knights recovered a fumble and had an interception in the first half as well.

“Hats off to LCA. They stopped our running game in the first half. Injuries or not, we don’t make excuses,” said Trosclair.

Things got worse for Ascension Catholic before the half as star running back Jai Williams was done for the night with a possible concussion. Williams came into the game with 1,600 yards and 25 touchdowns. He finished his shortened outing with 87 yards.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured players. We feel for those guys,” said Lafayette Christian head coach Trev Faulk. “So happy for my team. (We) worked really hard for this.”

The halftime score was 0-0 thanks to a pair of outstanding defensive performances.

The short-handed Bulldogs made halftime adjustments, shifting quarterback John Mire to running back and replacing him behind center with Bubba Gautreau.

“We had no choice, ran out of backs and had to move John there. Bubba has been injured but came in and played like a warrior,” said Trosclair.

LCA finally broke the deadlock with 1:04 left in the third quarter when kicker Colin LaHaye nailed a 43 yard field goal. The kick and a successful extra point earned him the game’s most outstanding player honor.

Ascension Catholic had a pair of drives stalled with interceptions in the fourth quarter, including a back-breaking 46-yard interception return for a touchdown by Knights defensive back Calib Watts.

LCA secured their first football state championship in school history.

Ascension Catholic (11-3) last played for a state championship in 1992. The circumstances for the finale’ could have been better but the pride felt by the accomplishment was not diminished.

“Couldn’t have asked for a better group, our five seniors led the way with leadership. Didn’t end like we wanted but only one team could win,” said Trosclair.

Williams was selected the most outstanding player for Ascension Catholic.

“I did everything I could to not cry after going down. Had to be strong for my team but it hurt not being able to finish the deal,” said Williams.

LCA out gained Ascension Catholic, 162-98, thanks to the efforts of Knights quarterback Errol Rogers Jr. His 139 total yards carried the offense in a true defensive slugfest.

Defensive end Bear Lyons and linebacker Martin Lee were among the LCA defensive standouts with several big plays.

Linebacker Parker Hales along with defensive linemen Dillion Davis and JB Broussard led a valiant effort for Ascension Catholic.

“We will be okay. We return 16 juniors and we have some good young players returning as well. “What a great ride with this team and coaches. We’ll never forget it,” said Trosclair.

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