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|Acadiana denies West Monroe, 21-14|
NEW ORLEANS - The Acadiana Wreckin' Rams lived up to their name at the Louisiana Superdome Saturday night.
Acadiana beat West Monroe (14-1) in a 21-14 Class 5A slugfest to win the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championship while wrecking the Rebels 29-game winning streak.
"It was a game in which we made some costly errors," said West Monroe coach Don Shows.
"One was when we were driving and we fumble," Shows said. "I think that was the defining moment."
"I am not taking anything away from Acadiana because they are outstanding," Shows continued. "We just came up short and sometimes that happens. I thought our kids played hard. I thought our defense really played hard."
Acadiana wasted little time in punching the defending Class 5A champions right in the mouth.
Quarterback Ryan Bergeron hit running back Terry Abraham on a 72-yard strike on the games opening play from scrimmage. Abraham raced untouched to the end zone. A PAT kick by Jean Breaux gave Acadiana a 7-0 lead.
Following a three-and-out by the Rebel offense on the ensuing possession, Acadiana struck again. This time the Rams drove the field and came away with field goal from 26-yards away off the leg of Breaux. The Acadiana drive to the West Monroe 9 yard line stalled with a pair of big Rebel tackles of Bergeron.
West Monroe appeared to be on its way to answering the Rams on the second Rebel drive in the game. West Monroe drove to the Ram 11-yard line before being forced into a fourth-and-four situation. On fourth down, West Monroe attempted a fake field goal where backup quarterback Conner Osborne pitched the ball to the outside for kicker Beau Benson to run the ball. Benson lost three-yards on the play and Acadiana took over on downs.
The first quarter ended with Acadiana leading 10-0. It was the largest first quarter deficit West Monroe had ever faced in the state finals in the history of West Monroe football.
Acadiana consistently grinded it out on the ground against the vaunted Rebel defense thanks in large part to the Rams line play.
"Really that may be the best offensive line in the state of Louisiana in high school football," Shows said.
Things went from bad to worse for the Rebels in the second quarter. Acadiana forced Rebel Quarterback Paul Turner to fumble when he was hit from behind by Keon James, forcing a turnover that the Rams recovered.
With under seven minutes remaining before halftime, Acadiana drove to the West Monroe17-yard line. After a 5-yard false start penalty, Acadiana's Breaux nailed a 40-yard field goal to give the Rams a 13-0 advantage with 4:35 remaining in the second-quarter.
West Monroe got one more crack at scoring points in the first half after forcing the Rams to punt with 2:14 remaining in the half.
West Monroe returned the punt to the Acadiana 37-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Turner connected with senior wide receiver Cody Stone for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Dan Mabry added the PAT to cut the Acadiana lead to 13-7 going into the half.
The second half began on a high note for West Monroe. The Rebels returned the opening kickoff for a score behind Devontis Ellis' 94-yards rumble to pay dirt. Following the PAT kick, West Monroe took a 14-13 lead.
West Monroe forced a punt on Acadiana's next possession, and the Rebels looked poised to add to their lead. But a fumble by Rebel fullback Bubba Reeves deep in Acadiana territory put an end to the Rebel threat.
On first down following the fumble, Acadiana turned a swing pass in the flat into a 70-yard gain to set up its final score in the contest.
The Rebels forced a fumble by running back Micah Eugene with four minutes remaining but a reverse in Acadiana territory put West Monroe in hole. Turner misfired on two passes, and the Rebels turned the ball over on downs with 1:20 remaining in the game.
Acadiana ran out the clock to claim the Class 5A state title.
Wrapping up in the season in the state title game and appearing in the Superdome three straight years is something the Rebel seniors will look back on and be proud of. Turner leaves West Monroe 29-1 as the starting quarterback.
"That really doesn't mean anything to me (the record)," Turner said. "It would have been a lot more special if it had been 30-0 and we won this game. I wouldn't be anything without the coaches and the hard work that we have been putting in."
Acadiana showed respect for what the Rebels have been able to accomplish through the years.
"We knew that to be the best you have to beat the best," Bergeron said.