It’s one thing to have to overcome the defending state champion, which also happens to be the team that knocked you from the playoffs last season.
It’s another to have to overcome that team and your own to win a championship.
Destrehan could do neither Saturday night.
A slew of miscues combined with Acadiana’s veer offense — plus a few well-placed passes — helped the No. 15 Wreckin’ Rams defend their Class 5A title with a 23-7 victory over No. 4 Destrehan in the Class 5A final of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It is Acadiana’s third title overall as the Rams finished 11-4. Destrehan (14-1) is the runner-up for the second time. The Wildcats have won five titles, the most recent in 2008.
“This bunch is a pretty special group,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said.
“We started out 2-3, and we were kind of left for dead there for a while. We said this week we were playing with house money. There was no pressure on us. We just went out there and played football.”
“I’m just so proud of my kids for the year,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “They did a tremendous job to get us into this position. You can’t turn the ball over against a team like Acadiana.”
“We had an unbelievable season,” Destrehan running back Will Matthews said. “After losing to them last year. We did all we could. We just couldn’t execute.”
Rams quarterback Kevin Moore passed for 121 yards and a touchdown. Bry’kiethon Mouton, named Acadiana’s Most Outstanding Player, had two receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. Eric Duhon ran for another score in the second quarter and finished with 44 yards. Brody Fontenot kicked three field goals, all in the second half.
The Rams defense held Destrehan to its lowest point total of the year, but the Wildcats outgained Acadiana 325-274. Matthews, named Destrehan’s Most Outstanding Player, rushed for 82 on 21 carries.
But the quarterback rotation of Marquise Darensbourg and Kohen Granier was less than successful. Granier, who got his first start, was 8-of-14 for 56 yards and had his team’s touchdown — a 2-yard run in the second quarter. But he was intercepted twice. Darensbourg was 8-of-15 for 112 yards and an interception.
The Wildcats didn’t capitalize when they had chances. Destrehan’s opening drive went to the Acadiana 29 on 15 plays, largely behind the running of Matthews. But on fourth-and-9 at the 29, Granier’s pass to John Williams fell incomplete.
A drive later came the Wildcats’ first mistake. Granier was intercepted by Acadiana’s Charles Campbell at the 37. From there, it took the Rams just one play to score — Moore connecting with Mouton for the touchdown with 2:42 remaining in the quarter.
Destrehan’s next drive went worse and ended the same way. With Darensbourg under center, the Wildcats went from their 20 back to their 5 thanks to a holding penalty and an offside call. Matthews made up a little ground with two runs, but on third-and-18 at the 13, Darensbourg was intercepted by Acadiana’s Javonte Edmond.
Acadiana turned it right back over, with Allen Pittman recovering at the Destrehan 4. But they punted four plays later.
Acadiana capitalized five plays later, with Eric Duhon scoring on a 2-yard run to give the Rams a 14-0 lead.
Destrehan finally put something together late in the half following an Acadiana punt. Williams returned the ball to the Acadiana 25, but a personal foul penalty pushed it to the 40. It took Destrehan 10 plays to reach the end zone, with Granier running the final 2 yards for the score with 52 seconds remaining in the half.