Acadiana senior tight end Javonis Isaac calls it “playoff mode.”
A week after a bye the Wrecking Rams responded with arguably their most complete game — a 49-0 victory over New Iberia — to complete the regular season with a 7-2 record and polish off a District 3-5A championship.
What comes next has been something Acadiana’s almost turned into an art form.
Not only is Acadiana the reigning two-time Class 5A state champions, but they’ve won four state titles since 2006 and look to start such a push at 7 p.m. Friday, when the No. 11 Rams host No. 22 Central Lafourche (6-4) at Bill Dotson Stadium.
“We go week by week and don’t look farther into the bracket,” Isaac said. “Coming off of that bye we were really hungry, and New Iberia was the only thing in our way. Now we’re in playoff mode.”
Acadiana enters this part of the year with plenty of momentum.
With only one returning starter playing the position he played last season, the Rams were a little slower out of the gate than normal.
Consecutive losses to Ponchatoula (26-0) and Carencro (24-21) signified the same number of losses the Rams encountered in 2014, but there was no sign of panic throughout the roster.
“It was still early so we knew we still had a chance,” said Isaac, the team’s leading receiver with 14 catches for 192 yards and three TDs. “We didn’t get our hopes down. It made us want to work harder and go into the games with a vicious mentality to beat teams more.”
Perhaps the first defining moment in the season took place in Lake Charles where Acadiana trailed Barbe 27-14 midway through the second quarter in the 3-5A opener for both teams.
Instead of having to deal with a third-straight loss, the Rams dug down deep and executed a drive for the ages — going 20 plays in over 10 minutes — with quarterback Myles Hutchinson finding wide receiver Bralen Trahan for the game-winning score with six seconds to go.
A week later, they nearly squandered a 32-22 lead against Sulphur.
The Rams allowed a touchdown following a dropped punt snap and failed to recover the ensuing onside kick, but managed to hold on to a 32-30 victory.
It hasn’t been close since.
Acadiana’s average margin of victory has been 32 points during its four-game win streak, suggesting they’re starting to hit their stride at the right time.
“It seems that way,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said. “It’s that time of year where it’s sudden death; that you are ready to perform when it’s time. It seems like we’re kind of reaching a peak when you need to. Hopefully that’s the case.”
Acadiana’s offense, which averages 34.2 points, has revolved around the steady hand of Hutchinson (26 of 37, 411 yards, seven TDs) and a rotation of running backs led by Jayrin Wilson, also a standout defensive back, with 89 carries for 797 yards and nine TDs and Ziggy Francis with 91 rushes for 629 yards and seven TDs.
Senior middle linebacker Kevin Moore, a Texas Tech commitment, is the team’s defensive leader with 89 tackles and 10 stops for loss, while Wilson has 67 tackles and three interceptions.
“We’ve reduced our turnovers on offense tremendously this year,” Davidson said. “That’s a big issue for us. If we can control our turnovers we’re usually in good shape.”