Division 4 State Championship Tale of the Tape

Ascension Catholic vs.. Lafayette Christian

When: Thursday

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Ascension Catholic Bulldogs (11-2)

No. 6 seed

District 6-A

Head coach: Drey Trosclair, third year

Youngest head coach (27) to lead a team to the state championship

Offense: Spread

Defense: 3-3 stack

Top players

Offense

Jamar Barber: 158 carries, 1,643 yards rushing, 21 touchdowns

Jai Williams: 155 carries, 1,628 yards rushing, 25 total touchdowns

Quarterback John Mire: 570 total yards, 6 touchdowns

Wide receiver Tre Medine: 11-227 receiving, 4 touchdowns

Wide receiver Eric Simon: 6-189 receiving, touchdowns

Offensive linemen Nick Hilliard and Charlie Gianelloni

Kicker/punter Rodney Blanchard: 55/61 PAT and 3/7 field goals (long of 36), 37.8 punt average

Defense

Defensive end Dillion Davis: 14 sacks (second in state), 87 tackles

Defensive end Charlie Gianelloni: 6 sacks, 93 tackles

Nose guard JB Broussard: 6 sacks, 91 tackles

Linebacker Jai Williams: 111 tackles, 2 int

Linebacker Parker Hales: 105 tackles

Linebacker Bubba Gautreau: 92 tackles

Defensive back Rodney Blanchard: 4 interceptions (touchdowns)

Defensive back Mason Zeringue: 67 tackles

Defensive back Eric Simon: 37 tackles, 4 int.

Defensive back Jamar Barber: 54 tackles, 3 int.

Defensive back Brock Acosta: 31 tackles, 1 int.

Lafayette Christian Knights (12-1)

No. 4 seed

District 7-A

Head coach: Trev Faulk (second year)

Former LSU and NFL player

Offense: spread

Defense: 3-4

Top players

Offense

Running back Logan Gabriel

Quarterback Errol Rogers

Wide receiver Sage Ryan

Wide receiver/slot Trey Breaux

Wide receiver Montreal Felix

Offensive lineman Connor Thibodeax

Offensive lineman Beau Badon

Defense

Defensive lineman Fitzgerald West

Defensive lineman Tanner Guin

Linebacker Jaylen Dauphin

Linebacker Martin Lee

Linebacker Logan Gabriel

Defensive back Errol Rogers

Defensive back Collin LaHaye

Kicker Collin LaHaye

This matchup will include teams that are very similar in size and speed.

The Bulldogs rely on a strong running game led by Barber and Williams. Quarterback John Mire has taken over for the injured Bubba Gautreau and has done a nice job running the Bulldogs’ spread offense. The Bulldog defense has given up 28 points in three playoff games and is always in the right spot. They have allowed only one 100-yard rusher — Tyrian Davis, of Southern Lab — all season.

Strong defensive line play has been consistent all year, and the linebackers have led the team in tackles. The Bulldogs’ secondary has shown the ability to stop high-powered passing games as in the semifinal win over St. Mary.

The Knights have overcome the loss of quarterback Zach Clement to a knee injury in their only loss versus Vermilion Catholic and have inserted Logan Gabriel in the offense. Gabriel is a converted linebacker and has responded with over 600 yards rushing in the playoffs. Errol Rogers has taken over at quarterback and uses his feet to make big plays. Trey Breaux has returned from an injury and is explosive in the pass-and-run game.

The Knights play aggressive on defense and tackle well in space. Special teams are so important in big games and both teams have excellent kickers in Rodney Blanchard (AC) and Collin LaHaye (LCA). LaHaye booted a game-winning 30-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to beat Vermilion Catholic in the semifinals.

This matchup comes down to who makes the least mistakes. The Knights’ offensive line vs. the Bulldogs’ defensive line is a matchup that will be key. The Knights’ defense can match the speed of Ascension Catholic's offense. Tackling will be important for both defenses, plus which team can be more physical.

Ascension Catholic, which has played football for 90 years, last played for a state championship in 1992 and beat West St. John, 34-13. Lafayette Christian is a relatively new school and has ascended to the top surprisingly fast.

Only one team can raise the championship trophy. and the fans are certain to watch a really good game. Live coverage is available on the Bulldog Network starting at 2:30 p.m.

Ascension Parish volleyball 2017 All District selections

Ascension Catholic

Hannah Settoon: first team

Isabelle Abadie: second team

Lauren Landry (junior): second team

St. Amant

Baylee Rambin: District Defensive MVP, first team

Gracie Duplechein: first team

Megan Arceneaux: second team

Taylor Baxter: second team

Megan Benoit: second team

East Ascension

Diamond Jones: District MVP, first team

Truli Joseph: first team

Meagan Ross: second team

Brylee Brown: second team

Dutchtown

Jaela Drumgole: first team

Zoe Wooten: first team

Lauren Launey: first team

Kathleen Vasterling: second team

Troy LeBoeuf covers sports for the Ascension Advocate. He can be reached at troyleboeuf@hotmail.com or ascension@theadvocate.com or on Twitter @Troyleboeuf.