The dominance of St. Paul’s over District 6-5A is officially over.
Behind three rushing touchdowns Brian Rodgers, Ponchatoula clinched at least a share of 6-5A crown with a 52-16 win over the Wolves on Friday night.
With the victory, Class 5A No. 3 Ponchatoula (9-0, 6-0) stopped a streak of St. Paul’s capturing eight of the past nine district championships on the Northshore. The Green Wave will go for the school’s first outright 6-5A crown next week against Hammond.
CJ Cole got Ponchatoula’s high-powered offense going in the first with a 49-yard punt return that resulted in the first of Rodgers’ three touchdowns — this one from 4 yards out to make it 7-0.
After forcing St. Paul’s (6-3, 4-2) into a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, senior quarterback Christian Campbell quickly made it 14-0 with a 19-yard touchdown run.
Up 14-3, a 6-yard touchdown run by Rodgers capped an impressive 14-play, 75-yard drive, extending the Ponchatoula lead to 21-3.
Rodgers’ third touchdown, from a yard out, was sandwiched between a 20-yard run from Timotheius Anderson and a 36-yard field goal by Aaron Malik to finish out the first-half scoring for Ponchatoula.
“We had three goals coming into this season,” Green Wave coach Hank Tierney said. “We wanted to go undefeated, win the district championship and then we would start to talk about the last one (going to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome). We have one of them now down and have the chance now to achieve the other two.
“Since last season ended, we had been talking about a district championship,” he continued. “It was something we believed we can do, and our team realized that we could achieve it. Credit our squad for getting that job done.”
Campbell, who led the Green Wave with 120 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown and threw for 124 more yards, Campbell said capturing a share of the district crown was the first step in what he and his teammates can be a magical season.
“Can’t tell you how excited I am,” Campbell said. “This game pretty much sealed the district title up. We were fortunate enough to get off to another quick start. It is hard to really tell other people once we get the momentum like we do offensively it is a machine that really just doesn’t stop rolling. We are a really hard team to stop once we get going.”
Austin Means’ 43-yard field goal midway through the first-quarter got the Wolves on the scoreboard to make it 14-3.
In relief, Ryan O’Krepki led the Wolves to a pair of touchdowns in the second half.
“Man those guys (Ponchatoula) are probably one of the best teams I have gone up against since I have been a head coach,” Wolves coach Ken Sears said. “They are outstanding, and I put them right up there with those Acadiana teams we played in the quarterfinals a couple of years ago.”
The win was also the 250th career victory for Tierney.
“That just shows how old I am,” Tierney joked. “But all jokes aside, it is the product of having some outstanding teams and outstanding football players at multiple schools. All the credit goes to the kids. They did it on the field.”
A win over Hammond next week on the road would also mark the first undefeated regular season for the Green Wave since 1940.