Thursday night did not go the way Ascension Catholic planned.
The Bulldogs stood in shock as they watched Lafayette Christian celebrate with the Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Division IV state championship trophy following its 10-0 win Thursday night.
Over the course of about a day and a half, Ascension Catholic went from having one of the best rushing offenses in the state to putting its backup quarterback at running back just to have enough players on offense.
It started Wednesday morning when starter Jamar Barber and his brother Dorian Barber were involved in a car crash going to school. They were unable to play Thursday.
Then, in the second quarter, Jai Williams went down with a concussion after making a tackle on an interception return.
Finally, Mason Zeringue, who normally plays wide receiver, broke his finger in the fourth quarter while the Bulldogs were attempting to form a comeback in the closing minutes.
Coach Drey Trosclair didn’t want to make excuses for the loss, but losing four ball carriers on a team that ran for more than 4,000 yards on the season and rarely ever passed took its toll on Ascension Catholic.
“It changes a lot,” Trosclair said. “You’re talking about a kid (Jamar Barber) who had 158 carries, 1,600 yards and 20 plus touchdowns on the season — that’s irreplaceable. We weren’t the same team that rattles off 75-yard touchdown runs tonight. ... We weren’t able to get that done tonight.”
With its stable of running backs depleted, Ascension Catholic had to go to the air to try to move the football, something it wasn’t expecting to do two days earlier — especially considering usual starter Kevin Gautreau had been out since Week 9 with a hand injury.
That put the ball in John Mire’s hands.
Mire completed 2 of 9 passes for 1 yard and had a pair of interceptions.
Gautreau tried to enter the game in the fourth quarter, eventually moving Mire to running back. But he didn’t have much more success.
Gautreaux was 2 of 8 for 13 yards and two interceptions of his own — including one to Calib Watts, who returned it for a touchdown, sealing the victory for Lafayette Christian.
The Bulldogs ran for 84 yards on 36 carries. Williams, who was named Most Outstanding Player for Ascension Catholic, led the team with 87 yards on 15 carries while Meringue followed with 25 yards on 12 touches.
“Our game plan is to run the ball a lot with those two great running backs getting all those yards for us this year,” Mire said. “I knew I had to step up, and I didn’t step up enough, but hats off to Lafayette Christian. They had great DBs.”
Lafayette Christian punter/kicker Colin LaHaye was named Most Outstanding Player for the Knights after knocking through a 43-yard field goal for what proved to be the game-winning points. Just two weeks earlier, he kicked a game winner in the semifinals to send his team to the Superdome.
Quarterback Errol Rogers threw for 94 yards on 11-of-17 passing and ran for another 45 yards.
“I figured that they were really good defensively all year and we’ve been good definitely all year, so I felt like this (low-scoring) outcome could be something like that,” Lafayette Christian coach Trev Faulk said. “I was hoping we would’ve taken advantage of a few opportunities we had early in the game, but any time you hold an opponent that was averaging a lot of points coming into the game to zero, that’s a big deal.”
Lafayette Christian post game press conference pic.twitter.com/Tka3AgATI1— David Folse II (@davidfolse) December 8, 2017
Ascension Catholic post-game press conference pic.twitter.com/sUA7DFcwBf— David Folse II (@davidfolse) December 8, 2017