Ascension Catholic used a punishing running game in wet and muddy conditions in Donaldsonville on Friday night, beating Vermilion Catholic 37-13 to punch its ticket to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the Division IV select bracket.

Jai Williams ran for 316 yards on 40 carries for the Bulldogs.

The halftime score was 15-13 Ascension Catholic, but then the rain came and forced the Bulldogs to move away fro their spread-pistol formation to a more conventional I-formation.

“We mad some adjustments on offense at the half to go under center and run the football” said coach Drey Trosclair.

The result was three rushing touchdowns, milking the clock and allowing a solid defense to go to work.

“The offensive line played great; we gave the ball to Jai Williams and Jamar Barber, plus steady play from quarterback John Mire to seal the victory," Trosclair said.

The Bulldogs went ahead 7-0 on Williams' 19-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

The Eagles answered back with a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Lege to wide receiver Ethan Lege to tie the game 7-7. ACHS and Vermilion Catholic (11-2) traded possessions and punts until the Bulldogs recorded a safety as defensive end Dillion Davis tackled Drew Lege in the end zone for a 9-7 lead with eight minutes left in the second quarter.

“Our defense played strong as always; we gave up two touchdown passes to an outstanding receiver in Ethan Lege but didn’t allow a point in the second half," Trosclair said.

ACHS defensive backs Mason Zeringue and Brock Acosta each had a big interception.

ACHS added a Mire touchdown on a sneak and a 15-13 lead at the half. Rain and mud made playing conditions very difficult in the second half.

Barber added 72 yards rushing to Williams' total. Williams had three touchdowns rushingand Mire two.

Vermilion Catholic was a pass-first team most of the year and with the conditions had to adjust.

“Conditions certainly were not ideal. Their offense is built for this; we had some opportunities in the second half but could not execute. Credit to Ascension Catholic," said Vermilion coach Kevin Fouquier.

The Bulldogs (12-1) head back to the Superdome for a rematch of last year's final with Lafayette Christian, who beat Southern Lab in the other D-IV semifinal. LCA won last year's game after Ascension Catholic had several players injured in a car crash.

“Our team respected Vermilion Catholic," Trosclair said. "They are a good team. We get an opportunity to play LCA again for a state championship; both teams should be at full strength this time. Just super-proud of my team."