SCOTT — St. Amant coach David Oliver said that Acadiana is not your normal 6-4 team, or a typical No. 15 seed in the Class 5A playoffs.
The Wreckin’ Rams certainly didn’t resemble those numbers Friday night, especially in a dominating second-quarter performance that overwhelmed the visiting Gators and sent the defending 5A champs into the second round of the state playoffs.
Behind linebacker-turned-quarterback Kevin Moore, Acadiana scored four times in an 11-minute stretch to take a 28-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 37-0 victory over the No. 18-seeded Gators.
“They’re a team built for the playoffs,” Oliver said of Acadiana, which has not lost a home playoff game in 15 seasons. “They’re a veteran team, and they just started wearing us down.”
The Rams (7-4), who travel to meet top-seeded Ponchatoula in the second round, rolled up 371 rush yards in the game behind Moore, who played linebacker in Acadiana’s first nine games of the season. He made his first start under center in directing the Rams’ veer offense last Friday in a 42-13 win over New Iberia.
Acadiana had 10 fumbles in that win, losing five, but none in Friday’s first half, when the Rams scored on each of their four offensive possessions. Moore finished with 74 rush yards and a score, and also threw for two scores as Acadiana was an uncharacteristic 5-for-5 throwing for 68 yards.
“He’s a special kid and a pleasure to coach,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said of Moore, who connected with tight end and LSU commitment Bry’Keithan Mouton for scores of 18 and three yards. “With that extra week, he was much more confident running the offense and did what he wanted to do.”
The Rams struggled some in the second half with a pair of lost fumbles, but the Rams’ defense held up its end in claiming a pair of turnovers of their own. St. Amant (6-5), which had scored 106 points in its last three wins entering the playoffs, managed only two first downs after the 7:00 mark of the first quarter, and had only 33 offensive yards in the second half.
“(St. Amant) can score in bunches,” Davidson said, “but our defense did their job and got the ball back for us.”
The Gators drove 53 yards with the opening kickoff down to the Ram 23 behind six early completions from quarterback Tyler Dixon, but after a penalty and a sack Briggs Bourgeois was short on a 46-yard field goal attempt. The rest of the night, the Gators took four snaps in Acadiana territory after a second-half Ram fumble, and that drive was stymied when Jayron Wilson intercepted Dixon midway through the third period.
“That was our best drive of the night,” Oliver said of the opening march. “After that, we started getting three-and-outs and got behind the chains. By the time they started turning the ball over, the game was out of reach.”
The Rams marched 80 yards in 14 plays after the missed field goal, with Moore breaking loose for the final 22 yards and a 7-0 lead. Acadiana’s defense then forced three straight three-and-outs and set up short fields, with the Rams offense marching 52, 56 and 61 yards for its other first-half scores.
Moore connected with Mouton on an 18-yard flip over the drawn-in Gator secondary with 6:06 left in the half for a 14-0 lead, and Donavin Soloman broke loose on a 51-yard scoring ramble one play after a St. Amant punt to make it 21-0. Soloman finished with 120 rushing yards and backfield mate Eric Duhon added 108 as part of a Rams rushing attack that now has 760 yards in its last two games.
The Rams went 61 quick yards in the final three minutes of the half, with Moore hitting Mouton for an apparent 35-yard touchdown that was negated by a holding penalty. Three plays later Moore hit Mouton again, a 3-yarder in the back of the end zone.
“In the last two weeks we’ve really built up a lot more chemistry,” Moore said. “That first drive gave us our rhythm. It felt good to go down and score like that. Everybody was just doing their job.”
The Rams added a clinching score on the first play of the final period on Soloman’s 7-yard TD burst and Brodie Fontenot hit a 23-yard field goal with 1:09 left.