Bulldogs roll into state semifinal game

Kyle Riviere
Jai Williams had 270 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs' quarterfinal win over CHSPC. Photo by Michael Tortorich.

For the second straight season, Ascension Catholic went on the road and won a quarterfinal game in dominating fashion.

This time around, the second-seeded Bulldogs visited New Roads and throttled the upset-minded Catholic of Pointe Coupee Hornets, 66-20.

Ascension Catholic trailed 14-13 in the second quarter, but then exploded for seven unanswered touchdowns. Much of their offense flowed through Jai Williams as he put up nearly 300 rushing yards and three scores.

Midway through the first quarter, Catholic took a 7-0 opening lead following a 20-yard touchdown run by Collin Grezaffi.

However, the Bulldogs were quick to tie the game. Williams broke free for an 87-yard touchdown run.

His running mate Jamar Barber later scored from 10 yards out to give Ascension Catholic a 13-7 advantage after one.

To start the second quarter, Catholic quarterback Nick Carriere came up with a 60-yard run. He then finished the drive with a four-yard scoring scamper to put the Hornets ahead by a score of 14-13.

They never led again.

Williams quickly regained the lead for Ascension Catholic as he scored from 59 yards out. And on the Bulldogs’ next drive, he broke loose on a 32-yard touchdown run to give Ascension Catholic their biggest lead of the game at 25-14.

Right before the end of the half, the Bulldog defense forced a fumble that they recovered at the Hornet 26-yard line. It eventually led to a touchdown run by John Mire.

The onslaught only continued in the second half for the Bulldogs.

On just the second play of the third quarter, Barber rolled for a 45-yard touchdown run to extend the advantage to 38-14.

Then the Bulldog passing game got clicking. Quarterback Rodney Blanchard connected with Mire for an 18-yard score. Then he hooked up with Barber for a 47-yard touchdown.

To end the third quarter, Ascension Catholic came up with an interception at the Hornet 13-yard line. It led to another touchdown pass from Blanchard to Tre’ Medine that gave them a 59-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Ascension Catholic’s final score came there. Dorian Barber picked himself up a rushing touchdown that finished up a dominating 66-20 victory for the Bulldogs.

Jamar Barber finished with three total touchdowns—two coming on the ground and one coming through the air.

Williams chewed up 270 rushing yards and three scores.

Blanchard only had to complete five passes. Three of those completions went for touchdowns.

The victory now pushes Ascension Catholic on to a home state semifinal game for the second straight season.

On Friday night, they’ll host third-seeded Vermillion Catholic—who is coming off of a 50-6 quarterfinal victory over St. Frederick.

The Eagles went 9-1 during the regular season. Their only loss was a 54-21 blowout defeat to defending state champion Lafayette Christian.

Ascension Catholic and Vermillion Catholic have met twice in the playoffs. The Bulldogs won both meetings and went on to win state titles.

The two teams met back in the 1973 quarterfinals. The Bulldogs won, 28-7, in Donaldsonville.

They met again in the second round of the 1992 playoffs. In Donaldsonville, Ascension Catholic destroyed the Eagles by a score of 56-7.

If the Bulldogs win on Friday night, it will be the first time since the 1991 and 1992 seasons that they have reached back-to-back state title games.