The saying goes, “Save the best for last” and that was certainly the case in the LHSAA State Football championships in Natchitoches. After a move to Turpin stadium from the Super Dome in New Orleans, the LHSAA had all Championship games here for Classes 1A-5A and Divisions I-IV.
Action started Sunday, Dec. 27 and concluded Dec. 30. Sunday’s first action had the Many Tigers matched up against the Kinder Yellow Jackets. The Many Tigers have been a perennial contender for a State Championship and last hoisted the trophy in 2014. The Tigers competition in that game was their familiar foe the Yellow Jackets. Kinder won the following year over Mangham. These two teams are no strangers, and the game was mostly Many who had a 9-7 lead into the fourth quarter. The Yellow Jackets did not go gently into that good night and fought till the end, but Many prevailed 16-13. Many Tigers the 2020 Class 2-A Football State Champions.
That game was followed by the Division I game between C.E. Byrd and Catholic of Baton Rouge. Catholic of Baton Rouge won this game handily 35-12 after losing last year in the Championship game to Rummel.
Monday, class 1-A pitted #1 seed Oak Grove against #3 Grand Lake. All Oak Grove Tigers 33-7.
Division III Lafayette Christian Academy vs St. Charles. The lower seed #5 LCA beat the Comets 12-7.
Division II #1 De La Salle vs #2 St. Thomas Moore. Both teams scored in the fourth quarter but STM wins 35-28 in this rematch of last year’s finals. Saint Thomas Moore repeat Champions in Division II.
Tuesday Division IV Calvary Baptist vs Ouachita Christian. Another matchup of perennial contenders in a game that was an offensive track meet. This game featured two high power offenses and Calvary High’s QB Landry Lyddy recorded a record setting 464 passing yards. The teams combined for 103 points and over a thousand yards of offense. OCS Eagle wide receiver Tristan Wiley had 13 catches for 218 yards, a title game record. Calvary Baptist held on to win 62 – 41 over the Eagles.
Class 4-A Carencro 35, Edna Karr 19.
Wednesday, Class 3-A underdog special #9 Madison Prep over #2 Union Parish 50 – 0.
Class 5-A Alexandria Senior High vs Acadiana in the top of the competition in the State. #6 ASH making their first ever trip to the dance versus the #1 seed and defending State Champion Acadiana Wrecking Rams. The triple option Rams started with the ball and drove down the field eating up half of the first quarter. ASH aided the Rams with three penalties during the drive. (2 offsides, 1 facemask) The Rams score first but miss the PAT try and lead 6-0.
Alexandria is forced to punt on their first offensive possession, but the Ram’s turn the ball over on a screen pass as the first quarter expires. ASH is unable to capitalize on the good fortune with a missed field goal. Alexandria is the recipient of a fumble in the endzone. PAT good, 7-6 Trojans leading. Acadiana answers with a nice pass play to set up a score and go for two to take back the lead 14-7. With 2:50 before the half, Ram’s defenders deliver a huge hit causing a fumble that they recover.
Acadiana takes advantage and scores on another pass to #4 and lead 21-7 going into the locker room. ASH Trojans received the third quarter kick starting the second half. Both teams trade three and out series before ASH scores on a pass to the running back sneaking out of the backfield. The point after try hits the upright but bounces through as good. Rams 21 – Trojans 14, 6:20 to go in the third. The Ram offense with their prolific running game proceeds to eat clock and score to lead 28-14. Trojans respond with a score of their own set up by a pass to their big tight end, 6 foot, 4 inch, 235 pounder and Stanford commit, Shield Taylor. Rams 28 – Trojans 21.
ASH is only down by seven and has a chance with 3:35 on the clock in the fourth and three timeouts but turn the ball over on downs as the QB overthrows a wide-open Taylor. With 3:10 to play, the Rams score on a 35-yard run and seemingly ice the game 35-21 and ASH has used their timeouts trying to save time on the clock. “Seemingly” is about to be tested. With 1:45 left, ASH has the ball and face fourth and 10. On a most unlikely play, two Ram defenders collide going for a pass in the middle of the field and the ball is tipped into the arms of a Trojan receiver for the score and PAT is good 35-28.
ASH gets the onside kick at midfield as the cover teams blows up the Ram front line. Trojans have the ball at midfield down by seven with a chance to tie and go to overtime or win outright. First down-play, 9-yard QB run. 1:37 to play. A sideline catch follows that and is under review. The catch is ruled good and Trojans are at the Ram 20. Another QB run for five yards. With 1:04 showing on the clock, ASH faces third and six with the ball on the Ram 15. Senior QB Judd Barton finds #11 in the endzone for the score. A two-point conversion wins it, or an extra-point kick sends the game to overtime. ASH tries the two-point try and is successful, but the play is negated on an illegal formati
on call. That backs the Trojans up five yards and could tie the game, but they try again for the win. They are not able to have the same result on the second try. Barton throws an interception to the Rams. ASH is unable to get a second onside kick and Acadiana goes into victory formation running out the clock for the win.
Back-to-back State Champions!! Acadiana Wrecking Rams hold off ASH in a game that was an exciting conclusion to the four days of games culminating 2020 and the Covid-19 shortened football season.