Karr has one more road test to pass: Visit to Franklinton _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Karr's Tyrik Luckett tries to escape Cecilia's Anfernee Calais in a Class 4A regional playoff game Nov. 20.

Trailing Bastrop 22-0 after the first quarter a week ago, it appeared as if Karr’s playoff run was going to come to an end in the quarterfinals.

Down, but not out, Karr simply needed to regain its composure to overcome some adversity, which is nothing out of the norm for these Cougars.

Karr has become a bona fide road warrior this postseason, having traveled about 450 miles the past two Fridays to defeat No. 3 Cecilia and No. 11 Bastrop. Success away from 3332 Huntlee Drive in Algiers has given the Cougars a new edge.

“Being on the road builds character,” quarterback Aldon Clark said. “We’ve come together closer. We’ve been successful on the road, but we’ve got to continue to be consistent. Our message before games is that it’s a business trip, and we need to stay focused. If we want to get to the Dome, we need to stay focused.”

No. 14 Karr (8-4) advanced to Class 4A semifinals by erasing a three-touchdown deficit last week at Bastrop. The Cougars posted 41 points in the second half while the defense stood up late en route to a 48-36 victory.

Learning to win on the road has become a theme for Karr in the playoffs. And while the team has been tested, players said they’re better off for it.

“You have to play like it’s your last game,” defensive end Andre Anthony said. “Last week, we said we weren’t going out like this. It sparked a fire.

“On the road, we’re more focused — on the bus, on the way to the game — we focus on what we need to do, our jobs. We’ve gone to hostile environments, places where we’re expected to lose, but we just focus on the game.”

Overcoming adversity has been a theme of Karr’s season, dating to the summer when Anthony, a blue-chip LSU commitment, was ruled ineligible for the first three games.

After battling the likes of St. Paul’s, Landry-Walker and Brother Martin, Karr dropped to 0-3 for the first time in school history. And in Week 8, Clark went down with an ankle injury, sparking uncertainty.

“I’m proud of our guys for the way they’ve handled adversity since the beginning of the season through Aldon’s injury,” Karr coach Brice Brown said. “Adversity reveals character, and that alone builds it.”

Karr has one more business trip left if it’s to advance to the championship game for the fifth time since 2010. This road trip is one this team knows all too well.

Karr will travel to Franklinton for the teams’ third postseason meeting since 2010. The Demons beat Karr in the 2010 title game, and the Cougars exacted revenge in 2013 in the quarterfinals while advancing to the Superdome.

“We understand Franklinton is out for blood,” Brown said. “It’s two quality programs. State championships have to be won at Franklinton, and they have to be won at Karr. And guess what: this is a state championship. Every game in the playoffs is.”