A lot has changed for both teams since the Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams captured a thrilling 38-28 state regional playoff win at Ponchatoula last November.
Ponchatoula’s All-Everything quarterback Christian Campbell is off to Georgia Tech, most of the faces in Acadiana’s offense have changed and even the coaching staffs aren’t identical.
While those differences must be addressed in preparation for Friday’s 7 p.m. road encounter with the Green Wave at Ponchatoula, Acadiana coach Ted Davidson definitely wants his Wreckin’ Rams to remember the intensity of that second-round game a season ago.
“Believe me, they’re going to be chomping at the bit for us to go there again,” Davidson said. “I think we really messed up their plans last year. They were really good. They probably were the best team we beat in the playoffs last year.
“That was a 48-minute slugfest last year. That was an intense game. I talked to the kids about that this week. They know. They understand that this is going to be a big challenge.”
With Campbell gone, the Green Wave’s focus offensively has shifted to bruising 235-pound fullback Juan Gross.
“He’s a load,” Davidson said.
Not only is Gross big, but he’s running behind a huge line, led by 6-5, 345-pound LSU commitment guard Donavaughn Campbell. Besides one 6-2, 220-pounder, the other four linemen average 300 pounds.
Defensively, the Wave have the advantage of seeing the Rams for a third straight season (Rams won 49-7 in 2013 regionals).
“They have a three-year starter at linebacker who is a good player and their defensive line is very athletic,” Davidson said.
The Rams, meanwhile, are hoping to build on their season opener, which was highlighted by a 337-yard rushing performance against Northside.
Safety Jayrin Wilson got five carries to complement Ziggy Francis’ big 145-yard rushing night, but his availability on offense may be dictated by how many downs Acadiana’s defense has to play.
Acadiana at Ponchatoula
Game: 7 p.m., Friday, at Ponchatoula.
Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.
Records: ACAD 1-0; PON 1-0.
State Ranking: ACAD No. 1.
Last year: ACAD won 38-28 in regionals.
Players to Watch: ACAD – RB Ziggy Francis (7-145, 1 TD); RB Jayrin Wilson (5-92, TD); QB Myles Hutchinson; TE/DE Javonis Issac; PONCH – QB Jeb Kraft, RB Juan Gross, WR Tyrell Anderson.
Sept. 4 Beat NORTHSIDE 49-0, 11 Ponchatoula, 18 CARENCRO, 25 Barbe, Oct. 2 SULPHUR, 9 Comeaux, 16 Lafayette High, 23 SAM HOUSTON, 30 OPEN, Nov. 5 NEW IBERIA.
Sept. 4 Beat Sumner 35-7, 11 ACADIANA, 18 LORANGER, 25 COVINGTON, Oct. 1 Mandeville, 9 Slidell, 16 St. Paul’s, 23 Fontainebleau, 30 NORTHSHORE, Nov. 6 Hammond.
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