Ascension Catholic is one of the Baton Rouge area’s feel-good football stories. The Bulldogs (4-1) have already equaled their 2011 win total.
But for first-year Ascension Catholic coach Doug Moreau, it’s not about a feel good story. Moreau wants the Bulldogs to be good and sees Thursday’s District 9-1A opener as the next step in that progression.
“When I first took the job as head coach, people let me know in short order what a big game St. John is,” Moreau said. “And they let me know that it’s been a while since Ascension Catholic has beat St. John.
“For the last nine years it really hasn’t been much of a rivalry. This is the year we hope we to level things off.”
ACHS hosts St. John (0-4) in a 9-1A game at 7 p.m. at Donaldsonville’s Boutte Stadium. The game helps highlight a Week 6 Thursday schedule that also includes two District 6-1A games, Pointe Coupee Central (2-2, 2-0) vs. Opelousas Catholic (4-1, 1-1) at Gardner Stadium and Sacred Heart Ville Platte (3-2, 2-0) at False River Academy (1-3, 0-2). Also, Pope John Paul II (2-2) plays at Springfield (3-1) in a District 8-1A opener.
Ascension Catholic hasn’t beaten St. John since 2003. The Eagles have outscored the Bulldogs 285-45 since that last ACHS win.
This season is one of role reversals for Ascension Catholic and St. John, with its first-year coach Mike Dugan, who also sees the Thursday game as pivotal one.
“Ascension Catholic is definitely improved over last year,” Dugan said. “They have several players who didn’t play for them last year who have come in and made a difference. Their quarterback and fullback are both very good and we’ll have to account for them.
“We’ve played some big, physical teams this year and haven’t given up. We’ve gotten better. But I’ve told our seniors this is the week for us. This is a game we need to win if we want to turn things around and get in the playoffs.”
St. John has lost to two teams ranked in Class 3A top 10, No. 5 Livonia and No. 8 Brusly, along with last week’s loss to Kentwood, ranked second in Class 1A.
“St. John has played some games where they’ve been overmatched physically,” Moreau said. “That’s a tough situation. This game will be different, and because its a rival game, I expect both teams to be ready.”
Wade Bailey ran for 206 yards and five touchdowns in Ascension Catholic’s come-from-behind 42-40 win
over Central Catholic-Morgan City. Bailey is averaging 9.8 yards per carry and leads the Bulldogs with 356 rushing yards.
Quarterback DJ Latino has 223 rushing yards and has passed for 413 yards and two TDs in ACHS’ option attack.
Jacob Caballero leads St. John with 192 rushing yards and one TD. Quarterback Hunter Schnebelen has 167 passing yards.
“We’ve put a lot on his shoulders,” Dugan said of Schnebelen said. “It’s tough to learn a new system. We’ve seen a big difference in him in our practices this week. It’ll be interesting to see how we progress this week.”
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