When Brent Indest guided Carencro to the Class 5A state championship game in 2011, it was a high water mark in his coaching career with his first appearance in prep football’s championship classic.
Three years later the achievement hit closer to home when Indest, a former Catholic High of New Iberia quarterback, directed the top-seeded Panthers to the school’s first such appearance since 1952 with a dominating 55-35 Division III select state semifinal victory over Newman.
Catholic-NI (12-0) faces second-seeded Calvary Baptist (11-1) in the Division III state title game at 3 p.m. Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“That year at Carencro will always be special because it was my first one,” Indest said. “(Former Loreauville head coach) Kirk Crochet told me when I first got this job, there’s nothing like winning games at your alma mater. Having the honor of coaching my alma mater in the ultimate game is really a dream come true.”
While Catholic-NI makes its first state-championship appearance in 52 years, Acadiana continued to bolster its résumé as one of the state’s most successful programs with a 28-14 victory over Mandeville in a Class 5A nonselect state quarterfinal.
The No. 15 Wrecking Rams (9-4) host No. 3 Zachary (12-1) at Bill Dotson Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday in search of their sixth trip to the state championship game, where they’ve won three state crowns, including last year’s title.
“It’s amazing when you consider where we were,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said. “We don’t talk about the past. Everything’s forward. We’re 5-0 in the semifinals, so we’ll see if we can add to that.”
Catholic-NI didn’t complete a pass nor punt in its latest runaway triumph, rushing for 545 yards. Andre’ Bellafontaine led the way for three backs who went over 100 yards with 22 carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
Running back Seth Pierre added 14 carries for 126 yards and two TDs, while quarterback Jason Pellerin, an Ole Miss commitment, had 13 attempts for 110 yards and three scores.
“I had an inclination they were going to have a hard time stopping us from running the football,” Indest said. “I thought Jason would have the bigger night, but they tried to take him out of the game. The way we feel on offense it’s kind of a pick your poison thing, and it really left Andre and Seth open for some big games.”
Pellerin scored all three of his touchdowns during a span of 34 unanswered points while Bellefontaine and Pierre each had one, setting up a rematch of last year’s Division III semifinal which Calvary escaped with a 34-33 victory.
“They’re arguably the best team in the state in all classes,” Indest said. “We expressed to the kids that we know the task we have ahead of us. They realize we’re about to play a team unlike any team we’ve played this far.”
Not only is Acadiana 5-0 in semifinal play, but the Rams have won three of those at home and are an astonishing 20-0 at home in the playoffs this decade.
“It will be nice to be at home,” Davidson said. “We took our sixth charter bus trip of the year.
“We’ve kind of got accustomed to it, and once the game starts, we just say, ‘hey it’s a football field, let’s play.’ ”
Acadiana’s second consecutive trip to the Florida Parish region proved fruitful a week after upsetting No. 2 Ponchatoula, 38-28.
Tulane commitmentment Malik Eugene (10-126, 2 TDs) scored on the second play of the second quarter —– darting 54 yards — to break a scoreless game and the Rams took a 14-0 lead at halftime.
Mandeville took advantage of a blocked punt to score its first touchdown, but Acadiana responded with a nine-play, 80-yard drive with quarterback Kevin Moore scoring on a 1-yard run with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
Senior tight end Bry’Kiethon Mouton, an LSU commitment, had three catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while Moore passed for 119 yards and rushed for another 33, helping Acadiana solidify its fourth straight victory.
“We played well,” Davidson said. “We didn’t have any turnovers, which is big for us. They gave us some problems early, and we were able to get the ball outside on our option game and hurt them and made some big plays.
“Defensively, we were able to shut them down.”