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Ascension Episcopal tight end and linebacker Hayden Cormier played a huge role in the Blue Gators' week one victory over North Vermilion.

When the dust settles Friday night in New Iberia, the Ascension Episcopal/Catholic of New Iberia winner will have the inside track in District 7-2A football title.

The Blue Gators and Panthers both have yet to face Loreauville, a 2019 2A quarterfinalist, but the remainder of their league opponents will be heavy underdogs.

Catholic-New Iberia (1-1, 1-0) scored all of its points in the first half of last week's 36-7 rout of Delcambre. Junior quarterback KK Reno ran for two touchdowns and threw for another.

Ascension Episcopal, meanwhile, had to cancel its game against Jeanerette because of Hurricane Delta concerns.

"It was very disappointing that we didn't play last week," AES coach Matthew Desormeaux said. "Especially with the way things aren't guaranteed because of COVID-19."

In Week 1, the Blue Gators (1-0, 0-0) made a strong statement with a 48-13 win at 4A North Vermilion.

"Our defense played really well in that one," Desormeaux said. "Everyone talks about offensive numbers, but our defense kept us in the game by making things happen for us."

The Blue Gators got interceptions from Blaise Blancher, Hayden Cormier and Cole Edmond.

Edmond returned his interception 71 yards for a touchdown.

Last year in Youngsville, Catholic-New Iberia took advantage of early mistakes to cruise to a 41-7 win over AES.

"We had a tough time containing Trey Amos," Desormeaux said of the former CHSNI quarterback. "We'll have to go out there Friday and have a good, crisp game. Catholic lost some really good athletes, but they have some good players who will make plays.

"Protecting the ball is going to be huge. We'll have to throw to be successful because they're pretty good up front, but I'd like to see us run more efficiently than we did versus North Vermilion. In that game, they packed the box but our guys were then able to run good routes and Cole (Simon) hit them."

Simon completed 7 of 15 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Austin Mills (four catches for 141 yards and two TDs).

"Their quarterback always gives them a chance with the way he extends plays," Catholic-New Iberia coach Scott Wattigny said of Simon. "He'll scramble and get an arm's length away from a defender and then chunk it.

"We'll have to do a good job of containing him and covering for longer periods of time. Simon is a kid who has been back there for a long time. He's a veteran."

Wattigny said he wants his defense to make the Blue Gators earn their points.

"When you look at Ascension's games, they don't often have to sustain long drives," he said. "They're not necessarily going for eight-plus play drives. They're consistently getting big, explosive plays in their drives with the way they get behind secondaries."

Looking back at his first win as CHSNI coach, Wattigny said he was pleased after watching the film of last week's game.

"We played fine," he said. "We obviously need to clean up some things. We need to get some guys back there in the return game who feel comfortable collecting punts and kickoffs; guys who are ready to accept the challenge. I'm not losing hope in that.

"Against Ascension, it's about time of possession and eliminating their quarterback's opportunities for big, explosive plays. We also need to execute in the red zone. Going back to defense, we have to remember that we're not off the field on third-and-long. We have to sustain coverage and corral the quarterback."


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.