Ascension Catholic Bulldogs football will play for Division 4 State Championship

Sixth-seeded Ascension Catholic punched its ticket to the Division 4 State Championship with a 35-21 victory over No. 10 seed St. Mary's at Floyd Boutte Stadium in Donaldsonville.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 lead on sophomore Jai Williams’ 1-yard touchdown. Ascension Catholic junior Jamar Barber set up the touchdown with a 63-yard run. The Bulldogs struck again when Williams busted off the right side for a 50-yard touchdown. Junior Rodney Blanchard added the extra point, and the Bulldogs led 13-0.

The Bulldog defense forced four turnovers on the night and cashed in after a St. Mary fumble with Williams getting his third touchdown with 11:15 to go in the second quarter and the Bulldogs leading 21-0.

St. Mary's, led by senior quarterback Aaron Howell, got the Tigers moving offensively but was intercepted by sophomore Eric Simon of Ascension Catholic. The Bulldogs responded with a drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown by junior quarterback John Mire. Ascension Catholic led 28-0 with 5:41 left in the second quarter. Howell marched St. Mary's down the field and scored from 6 yards out to make the score 28-7 in favor of Ascension Catholic at the half.

St. Mary's came out and scored on an 80-yard touchdown from Howell to wide out Bailey Shelton to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-14. The Bulldogs responded with a drive and Mire added his second touchdown from 2 yards out, with the Bulldogs regaining their 21-point lead. St. Mary's added a late touchdown from 3 yards out by Howell, but the Bulldogs were able to nearly run the clock out for the final margin of 35-21.

The Bulldogs were led defensively by junior Dillion Davis with four sacks and senior Charlie Gianelloni with two sacks. Williams had 196 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns for Ascension Catholic. Barber added 115 yards on 20 carries for the Bulldogs.

Coach Drey Trosclair has led the Bulldogs to the Superdome in his third year.

"We prepared to play our best. We did that for most of the game," coach said. "Our defense played well against a well-coached team that has put up a ton of points this year.

“Our goal was to win a state championship and we will get that chance. Love my team," he said.

St. Mary's finished the year at 10-3.

"They were a well-prepared team, jumped on us early, mixed it up well defensively. Hope they can go win it," head coach James Aldredge said.

The Bulldogs moved to 11-2 on the season and will return to the Superdome for the first time in 25 years, their last state championship. Ascension Catholic will play the No. 4 seed, Lafayette Christian, at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Trosclair, at 27 years old, will be the youngest head coach to lead a team to the finals.

"The support from administration, faculty, staff, my coaches, medical staff/managers, alumni and parents and The Purple and Gold Club has been phenomenal," Trosclair said. "The players have done everything asked of them, they believe in TOTT (toes on the turf) — just have to finish the deal against a really good team."

Call Ascension Catholic at (225) 473-9227 for ticket and game information.

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