Lakeshore Defense

The Lakeshore High defense held Rayne to only 107 yards of total offense

PHOTO PROVIDED BY HERBERT GOMEZ

In only their ninth year of existence, the Lakeshore High Titans are headed to their first state championship game.

Behind a stellar defensive effort that held Rayne to 107 yards of offense and five first downs, No. 2 Lakeshore remained undefeated with a 33-0 victory over the No. 11 Wolves.

With the victory, the Titans (14-0) advance to the Class 4A state championship and will take on defending state champion Edna Karr at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” an elated coach Craig Jones said after the game. “It is a great feeling, and our team played a great game. The kids played sound, fundamental football and did what they needed to do, particularly on the defensive side of the football.”

The Titans are the first St. Tammany Parish public school to advance to a state championship game since Salmen in 2000 and the first St. Tammany Parish school to make it to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since Archbishop Hannan in 2013.

Leading 13-0 at halftime after a pair of field goals from Joshua Massa and a 1-yard touchdown run from Christian Westcott, the Titans extended their lead with a pair of scores in the third quarter.

After stopping the Wolves on fourth down inside their own 30-yard line, Chris Penton found Jacob Bernard for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 20-0 Lakeshore.

Penton completed 21 of 23 passes for 212 yards and a score. Bernard finished seven catches for 70 yards.

“This feels great. I just feel like we haven’t finished anything yet,” Penton said. “We have one more win we have to get to prove everyone wrong. We did what we needed to do in this game, but the job isn’t finished. I think we were able to pick them apart and we coupled it with an outstanding effort by our defense.”

The lead ballooned to 27-0 later in the third quarter when Maximus Lowery found the end zone from 1 yard out.

After an interception by Michael Gautier, Penton found the end zone for the lone score of the fourth quarter when he rushed in from 5 yards out.

“This feeling, man,” senior defensive lineman Tylan Driver said. “It’s just indescribable. There were so many people that predicted Rayne was going to score a bunch of points. For us to be able to shut them out — I mean this entire defense, the coaching staff for preparing us, everybody just did their job. Now we get to go play for a state championship. You can’t script it any better.

“I don’t care who we play. We are going to just continue to do what we do.”

The story of the game was the play of defensive coordinator Chris Womack’s unit. Wolves running back Trent Winbush, who came into the game with more than 2,300 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns, was held to 48 yards rushing on 13 carries.

“I think we showed people how good this defense is,” Westcott said. “We knew what kind of formations to expect, and that allowed us to just stay home and do our job. It was so much easier after that.”

Follow David Folse II on Twitter, @davidfolse.