There would be no showdown between Rummel and Acadiana, both teams defending state champions, on Saturday night at Yenni Stadium.
Rummel all but put an end to that with a big first half, and backed by its defense, finished off the Wreckin’ Rams in the second half in taking a convincing 34-9 victory.
The win was the eighth consecutive, dating to last season, for Rummel (3-0), ranked No. 1 Class 5A, and avenged a 14-point loss to Acadiana last season in Lafayette. Acadiana (1-2), ranked No. 3 in 5A, lost its second consecutive game.
“They out-physicalled us,” Wreckin’ Rams coach Ted Davidson said. “We got an opportunity early, and they stopped us, and that kind of set the tone. After that, we couldn’t get off the field on third down.
“They did to us what we like to do people, and that’s keep the football.”
Rummel unleashed a balanced attack, with quarterback Chase Fourcade passing for 192 yards and the Raiders rushing for 172.
However, Rummel’s defense completely stymied the Wreckin’ Rams as the Raiders built a 27-3 lead by the start of the fourth quarter. Acadiana has three starting offensive linemen out injured, but Davidson said that’s no excuse.
Raiders coach Jay Roth said his staff was better prepared for Acadiana’s offense this time.
“We did much better against the veer this time,” Roth said. “They’re a team that last year rushed for 452 yards a game.”
Both coaches, however, singled out the performance of Rummel’s Brandon Phillips, who powered for 85 yards on 13 carries, helped shut down Acadiana’s running game from his safety position and had a key blocked punt.
Davidson sought him out after the game and told him he was “some kind of football player.”
“We have two running backs hurt, one we lost last week against Hahnville,” Phillips said. “Coach told me I had to be a 48-minute player for this game.”
Behind Fourcade and its usual stout defense, Rummel threatened to make quick work of the showdown, taking a 20-3 halftime lead.
Fourcade completed seven of his first eight passes for 111 yards. His first pass, on the Raiders’ first offensive play after an Acadiana punt, went for 50 yards to receiver David Hensley to the Wreckin’ Rams’ 24.
Three plays later, Fourcade faked a pitch left to Phillips and bootlegged right for a 15-yard touchdown run, giving Rummel a 6-0 lead at 8:02 of the first quarter.
The only pass not completed during the first eight was an interception by Acadiana safety Jarin Wilson at the Rummel 40, one of three Fourcade threw. Wilson returned the ball to the 18, and that set up a 34-yard field goal by Brodie Fontenot at 1:30 of the quarter.
However, Fourcade guided the Raiders on a 17-play, 92-yard drive, capped by his 1-yard touchdown sneak at 4:52 of the second quarter that pushed the lead to 13-3.
Phillips then made consecutive big plays. He dropped Acadiana running back Eric Duhon for just a 1-yard gain on third down after Duhon had taken a pitch from quarterback Peyton Touchet.
Phillips then blocked Fontenot’s punt, and the ball was recovered on the Acadiana 6. One play later, Phillips scored on a 2-yard run.
In the first half, Rummel’s defense, led by its line, held Acadiana to 21 yards rushing and 37 yards on 3-of-8 passing by Touchet. Acadiana gained four first downs, including one by a personal-foul penalty after a late hit on a pass play.
Meanwhile, the Raiders did not punt in the first half in gaining 206 total yards, 131 by passing, and 12 first downs.