Defending Class 1A state champion Logansport's return trip to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome ended about 30 miles short Friday night, in the middle of a sugarcane field in Edgard.
No. 1 seed West St. John knocked off the Tigers with a dominating 34-18 victory that sends the Rams to the finals for the first time since 2007.
West St. John (10-2) will play No. 2 seed Kentwood at noon Thursday for the 1A nonselect state title.
Logansport suffered its first loss of the season and saw a 27-game winning streak ended.
“It means the world,” said West St. John coach Brandon Walters, who was nearly drowned out by the Mardi Gras-style party taking place on the turf of Dinvaut Stadium after the game. “We’ve been preparing for it since January. The past two years we felt we were right there, and now we’re one step closer to our goal.”
The Rams got there because of their running game and defense.
Running back Niko Roy (who recently changed his name from Davis) rushed for 126 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns. Kylan Duhe rushed for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries.
“They told me I had to do my job, cause there’s no tomorrow unless I do my job,” Duhe said. “I did my job.”
In all the Rams gained 280 yards rushing. Quarterback D’Andre Gaudia was 5 of 10 for 135 yards and one touchdown, a 19-yard strike to Aason Moll. He attempted only one pass in the second half.
Roy said the game plan was to run right at the Tigers, who came into the stadium with intimidating size.
“It was a pounding game,” Roy said. “We had to pound right at them."
Once again the defense came up big. Quarterback Dalton Shaw, who came in with one interception all season, was intercepted three times — twice by Dontrell Davis. Shaw finished 9 of 27 for 106 yards and two scores, both to TCU commit John Stephens, who had four catches for 35 yards. Stephens also scored on a 55-yard interception return.
“Our guys have gone against some of the best receivers over the years,” Walters said. “They want the best.”
The Rams set the tone early, jumping to a 21-0 lead. Their first drive covered 76 yards, capped by a 19-yard pass from Gaudia to Moss with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Davis stopped Logansport’s next drive with his first interception, but the Rams couldn’t convert it into points. They did score again with 58 seconds remaining in the half on Roy's 1-yard touchdown up the middle to make it 14-0. Then they made it 21-0 with a 1-yard run by Duhe with 5:45 remaining in the first half.
Logansport scored two touchdowns in the span of 30 seconds at the end of the first half. The first came when Stephens stepped in front of a screen pass and returned the interception 55 yards for a score. The extra point was blocked.
West St. John took over with 25 seconds remaining and was kneeling to run out the clock when the Tigers forced a fumble and recovered at the Rams’ 32 with 18 seconds remaining. Shaw threw a 27-yard pass to Trevion Daughtry, then connected with Stephens for a 5-yard touchdown with 4 seconds remaining. The 2-point try failed, leaving West St. John with a 21-12 lead.