Edna Karr traveled Saturday to where no Orleans Parish public school has gone.
Riding a stout defense and relentless ground game, the Cougars almost made it look easy, rolling to a 48-26 victory against Lakeshore in the Class 4A state finals of the Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Karr became the first member of its school system to record consecutive state championships.
Karr’s state championship was its fourth, the most by any Orleans public school and double the two state championships won by Warren Easton in 1942 and 1921.
The Catholic League hasn't been a problem for John Curtis.
Top-seeded Karr (14-1) completed its historic season with 12 consecutive victories while making a third consecutive trip to the Class 4A finals and seventh overall in eight years. The Cougars defeated Neville 34-21 in last year's championship game and have advanced to 10 state finals.
“I just can’t believe that at a school like Karr that we’ve never went back-to-back before,’’ Karr coach Brice Brown said in almost disbelief after directing his alma mater to its second straight title. “We’ve been to so many state championships and we’ve lost some. So I sit here very humble and appreciative.’’
Second-seeded Lakeshore (14-1) had a 14-game winning streak broken, but it was the most prolific season in the eight-year history of the program. The normally high-scoring Titans also won their first playoff games in program history (four in all).
On Saturday, however, they were no match for the Cougars as Karr rushed for 402 yards and six touchdowns while amassing 570 total yards and 26 first downs.
Lakeshore’s had 205 yards from scrimmage and 13 first downs.
Running back Ronnie Jackson rushed for three of his four touchdowns in the second half to break open a 28-20 Karr halftime lead. Jackson’s touchdowns covered 1, 5, 5 and 7 yards as he totaled 107 yards on a team-leading 22 attempts.
Jackson’s backfield mates excelled, as well. Running back Ahmad Antoine had 141 yards rushing, and quarterback Skylar Perry added 137 yards rushing. They both scored touchdowns.
The Cougars also had a 33-yard scoring run by running back Lonte Nettles negated by a first-quarter holding penalty.
Perry was named Karr’s Most Outstanding Player after totaling 305 yards and accounting for two touchdowns with his running and passing. The Cougars junior and first-year starter completed 11 of 17 passes for 168 yards, including a 43-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Anthony Spurlock for the game’s first points.
Three touchdowns by the Cougars in both the second and third periods proved to be more than the Titans could match, despite an outstanding performance by wide receiver Jacob Bernard.
Bernard was named Lakeshore’s Most Outstanding Player after totaling 201 all-purpose yards and scoring Lakeshore’s first two touchdowns via an 83-yard kickoff return and 71-yard reception from quarterback Chris Penton.
Karr’s defense, meanwhile, held Lakeshore to minus-1 yard rushing while limiting Penton and the Titans to 205 yards total on 55 plays. The New Orleans metro area’s most prolific passer, Penton completed only 13 of 30 attempts for 206 yards and touchdowns to Bernard and wide receiver Jake Smiroldo.
“We knew what we were getting into,’’ Lakeshore coach Craig Jones said. “I thought they really controlled the line of scrimmage. Their defensive line got the best of our offensive line. But I think our playoff run proved that we belonged here. We went up against a very good group of traditional powers. People know who Lakeshore is now.’’
Karr’s collective effort helped the Cougars avoid the pitfall of the 2013 team that missed a repeat after being upset by East Jefferson 38-28 in the finals.
“It all started on Tuesday,’’ Jackson said. “Coach Brown reminded us of the loss to De La Salle (28-26 in week three) and the 2013 team. He said, ‘Don’t be like them. You can go out and make history.' We had a mindset and a chip on our shoulder that we didn’t want to be like the 2013 team.’’
Karr’s 48 points also was its most in a state championship effort. The Cougars and Titans additionally combined to establish a record for most points, 74, in a Class 4A final in the Prep Classic. The previous mark was 71 set in Neville’s 45-26 victory against Karr in 2015.
“We can’t overlook this win at all," Brown said. "We’ve gone back-to-back in one of the toughest states to play high school football in America. So you’ve got to appreciate it. I’m happy for these guys. I love these guys. They’re like my sons.’’
Day 3 of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's state championship games at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.