How LCA football reacted to runnerup finish after winning four straight state titles

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

NEW ORLEANS - Coach Trev Faulk was at a loss for words Saturday.

Lafayette Christian Academy football didn't win the last game of the season for the first time in five years, falling to St. Charles in the Division III state championship game 32-27 at Yulman Stadium. This was a feeling he hadn't experienced in a long time.

"(I'm) just trying to put in the words, the emotions that I'm feeling right now," Faulk said. "I don't even know what I'm going to go and tell my (players) right now man, other than that I love them and kinda just put my arms around them."

LCA had won four consecutive state championships, two in Division III and another two in Division IV. They were poised to repeat again this year, after dispatching five-star quarterback Arch Manning and Isidore Newman 49-7 in the semifinals.

But miscues plagued the Knights (10-2) from start to finish against St. Charles (12-0). LCA threw two interceptions, fumbled twice, had two punts blocked and a third snapped into the end zone that was recovered for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:26 left.

An interception from quarterback Ju'Juan Johnson following the score essentially sealed the Knights' fate. LCA would get one more shot to win the game, but couldn't produce a first down. 

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"We've just been extremely blessed to have won the last game of the season four years in a row," Faulk said. "This feeling right here is awful."

"My heart is broken for our 14 seniors. All that they've meant in building this program, all that they've done to get us to this point is just heartbreaking."

One of those seniors is Fitzgerald West Jr., a three-star recruit committed to LSU. West was vying to become the first player in Louisiana high school football history to win five state titles.

Before West stepped foot on campus, the school had never won a playoff game.

"As a team, for us not going for five is disappointing," West said. 

Johnson, a sophomore, will be back next season for the Knights. Despite throwing two  interceptions, he also had 175 rushing yards and three touchdowns through the air.

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"I can't wait to get back in the lab and start practicing again and just get better for next year," Johnson said.

But for Faulk, this loss cuts deeper than your average state championship defeat. The failure hits harder after four straight titles.

"It definitely does," Faulk said. "But I think at the same time, it also makes you cherish previous (championships) — not that I didn't before. It definitely makes me appreciate it even more, the success we've been able to have."