GONZALES — McDonogh 35 quarterback Sidney Wilson was tired of people asking him what the Roneagles had ever won.
He has an answer for them after Saturday.
Wilson and the rest of the skill players from McDonogh 35 were crowned the first Louisiana 7v7 champs after defeating John Ehret 26-4 in the finals of the Adidas Louisiana 7v7 State Championship at East Ascension High School this weekend.
“We worked so hard for it, so when we win, it feels real good,” Wilson said. “When you put in all that hard work, grind in the weight room, at practice everyday, killing yourself just to get better, it feels real good to accomplish a goal like this.”
The McDonogh 35 defense set the team up with an early lead by picking off John Ehret quarterback Caron Baham twice for three points apiece to help push the score to 8-4 through the first 10 minutes.
But Wilson took control in the second half, connecting for two late touchdowns, one of which was a perfectly placed ball to wide receiver Toreano Miner in the corner of the end zone.
Miner went on to seal the victory with an interception on John Ehret’s last offensive possession.
Wilson finished the game 6 of 12, while Baham went 5-for-13, including three interceptions and a safety.
“Our kids could feel they could do the job and win the whole thing,” McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese said. “(The coaches) didn’t have to say a whole lot because that intensity was there. Like the kids say, ‘We are back.’ I don’t know where we’ve been, but we’re back.”
McDonogh 35 is one of four Louisiana teams invited to Valdosta, Georgia, next month for the southeast regional championships with top teams from Georgia and Florida. Also making the trip will be the rest of the tournament’s semifinalists: John Ehret, Landry-Walker and West St. John.
West St. John fell just short of the championship round, despite earning the No. 1 seed thanks to an undefeated run in bracket play.
The Rams seemed destined for the championship after the first two rounds, where they beat Covington “A” and St. Amant by a combined 60-18, but hit a wall against McDonogh 35 in the semifinals, losing 21-10.
“We have to come out and finish the deal,” West St. John offensive coordinator Chris Peters said. “We wanted to win the trophy, but sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. They made more plays than we did.”
McDonogh 35 also ended the hopes of No. 28 seed H.L. Bourgeois who was in the process of making a Cinderella run at the championship before losing 16-12 in the quarterfinals.
The Braves failed to win a single game in pool play, but upset Dunham and St. Augustine “B” during the first two rounds of the bracket.
H.L. Bourgeois could have also taken down the eventual champs when it gained possession with 40 seconds to play in the quarterfinals, but the Roneagles defense denied the comeback.
“I don’t know what the difference was, but today, these kids really wanted to win,” H.L. Bourgeois coach Carey Melvin said. “I know we shocked some other people around here, but I don’t think we shocked ourselves because I know these kids have it in them.”