The Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams and the Carencro Golden Bears square off in a matchup featuring two of the prestigious programs in the Acadiana area. Both of these programs came off years in which both teams won state championships in the same season going back in 2020. This year, both schools that have combined for eight state championships are gunning for another long postseason run with two more games left to be played.
With Southside being both of these schools, it looks like the Sharks are in the driver seat of the district, but the winner of this game keeps themselves alive for a district championship.
In recent history, it has been the Acadiana Rams having the upper hand winning four of its last five matchups, but the Carencro Golden Bears are riding a positive wave with an 8-1 overall record and their offense clicking at a prolific level. In fact, three of Carencro’s players made our Gridiron Football Top 15 Performances list this past week as the Golden Bears set eight school records in the 72-55 win.
Dating back to Kevin Faulk, this team can always run the football, but quarterback Chantz Ceaser brings an extra dynamic to this offense in the passing game. Last week, Ceaser set school records for most touchdown passes in a game while also setting school records for touchdown passes in a season and in a career. Carencro head coach Tony Courville loves his quarterback and how he has been able to bounce back from a season ending injury last season.
“Last season, Chantz tore his ACL in Week 8 and missed the rest of the season. A year later in the same week, he is breaking records. We want to throw the ball because we want to because of him. We still want to run the football because it opens up the passing game, but we don’t need to run the ball to open up the passing game. Not to mention, Chantz can run the ball too as he has 800 yards rushing this season.”Carencro Head Coach Tony Courville
Ceaser’s top go to target is freshman sensation Chantz Babineaux, who is coming off a record shattering performance against Sam Houston setting school marks in yards and touchdowns with 10 grabs for 265 yards and 4 scores. Overall, he has 33 catches for 786 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
“Chantz Babineaux is the best receiver we have. He also plays strong safety/outside linebacker for the team and he punts too. I truly believe he is not only a DI football player, but a DI baseball player too.”Carencro Head Coach Tony Courville
Like program greats Kevin Faulk and Damien James, Babineaux has made an instant impact for Carencro on both sides of the ball early on in his promising high school career.
Other offensive players that will be relied upon for the Bears are Isreal Jolivette and Gregory Bush on the offensive line and also Kameron Cyprien at tight end. At 6’3, 220 pounds, Cyprien is arguably the fastest player on the team as he also runs the 4×1 and 4×2 for the track team and is a dominant blocker too.
Defensively, Courville wants his unit to be better as it is a young defense, but guys like senior DE/OLB Ethan Guidry , senior DT Keevon George, and junior CB/FS Joni Martin will have to lead the team’s best defensive effort all season in order to get the win.
“This has to be the best defensive football game that we have to play all year long. We have to play ball control as they got some explosive weapons. Acadiana is even scarier to play against right now as they lost two games in a row and feel that they need to get back on track.”Carencro Head Coach Tony Courville
The Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams are hungry heading into this game as the team is looking to get off the schneid after suffering two straight losses to John Curtis and Southside. Coach McCullough has led one of the most consistent programs in the last five years leading the program to four straight 10 plus winning season and back to back state titles in 2019 and 2020. Acadiana Head Coach Matt McCullough expresses that his team just needs to execute in order to get back to the level of success they had.
“We have to play better offensively and do a better job in moving the football. We also need to do a better job of making plays up front. We need some guys to step up.”Acadiana Head Coach Matt McCullough
Offensively, the split back veer has been the staple of the Wreckin’ Rams offense for years and it continues to be that for this team. The offense is led by senior running back Keven Williams and Cameron Monette running the football in the veer. Senior tackle Jaden Guillory and junior center Jackson Hammond will lead the way in the running game on the offensive line. Although the team does not throw the ball much, sophomore quarterback Caden DiBetta will look towards the speedy receiver Russell Babineaux for explosive plays in the
Going up against Carencro, Coach McCullough feels that his team has had a good week of practice and his team is even more focused as the game was moved up from Friday to Thursday.
“We’ll find out how focused we are on Thursday, but we had a good week of practice and we are ready to take on the challenge.”Acadiana Head Coach Matt McCullough
Defensively, the Wreckin’ Rams have some good talent led by senior linebacker Jaylen Lawrence and junior defensive tackle Dominick McKinley , who at 6’6, 290 pounds with 4.8/40 speed, has offers from TCU, Miami, Baylor, Tulane, ULL, Texas Tech, and Arkansas State. That talent would have to be on display Thursday night in a big matchup between two of the area’s top programs.
The Carencro Golden Bears continued to show its dynamic offense as on the sixth play of the opening drive, the Chantz duo connects for the 11th time this season as Chantz Ceaser hits Chantz Babineaux for a 35 yard touchdown to give the home team an early 7-0 lead.
Acadiana responds quickly to Carencro’s quick score after a big kickoff return put the Wreckin’ Rams in great field position at the Golden Bears’ 36 yard line. Three plays later, sophomore quarterback Caden DiBetta found a crease in the middle of the defense on the option and cut it up field from nine yards out to score the touchdown for the Wreckin’ Rams. The score is tied at 7.
Carencro answers again in a back and forth first quarter of action. On an eight play, 56 yard drive, Ceaser throws his second touchdown in just as many drives when he dumped it off to junior running back Cashmire Batiste from six yards out to give the Golden Bears the lead back at 14-7 with two minutes left to go in the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, both Keven Williams and Cameron Monette were carrying the load on a methodical Acadiana drive, but an errant pitch by DiBetta set them back seven yards and forced the Wreckin’ Rams to attempt a field goal. However, it was a fake as the holder Tayven Lemaire gets the snap and hits Dominick McKinley for the touchdown. Originally, the refs threw a flag, but then, waved the flag off. The score gets notted up again at 14 a piece.
With the score tied at 14, Carencro was looking to score on its third consecutive drive. For a while, it looked like the Golden Bears would get back the lead in this see saw battle, but Carencro decides to run some trickery as well. Unlike Acadiana, it backfires for Carencro as Babineaux’s pass back to Ceaser on the double pass was intercepted by the Wreckin’ Rams star junior defensive lineman Dominick McKinley, who had the presence of mind to know it was a trick play and to step in front of Babineaux’s pass. It was a great sequence for McKinley as he caught a touchdown and intercepted a pass in a matter of minutes.
With the interception return, McKinley gave the Wreckin’ Rams great field position and the offense takes advantage of the first turnover of the game with a one yard touchdown run by Keven Williams. After trading scores for the majority of the first half, the Wreckin’ Rams take their first lead at 21-14.
Right before halftime, Carencro tries to get a quick score. On 4th down, the Golden Bears go for it and Ceaser just misses the outstretched hands of Babineaux. It is a turnover on downs and Acadiana runs out the rest of the first half clock going into halftime with the 21-14 lead.
In the second half, the Wreckin’ Rams started with a promising drive as Williams and DiBetta both had big runs, but it stalled out as they turned the ball over on downs.
After both teams trade possessions with punts, Carencro would then give the ball right back to Acadiana as the Golden Bears suffer their second turnover of the game when running back Cashmire Batiste fumbles. The Wreckin’ Rams recover and stops another promising drive for the Golden Bears.
The third quarter comes to an end as Acadiana tries to create some breathing room on the scoreboard. After a scoreless third period, Acadiana continues to hold on to the lead at 21-14.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Acadiana gets a big play from the passing game on third and long as DiBatta completes a 31 yard completion to sophomore Russell Babineaux, who makes an incredible adjustment to the football and hangs on for the big grab. However, the big passing play would not translate into points as the Wreckin’ Rams turn the ball over on downs for the second time in the second half.
With eight minutes left to play in the game, possessions were running out for the Bears. When in doubt, Carencro went to the quarterback run game. On this late drive, Ceaser had seven carries including one on a 31 yard pickup and a second one on fourth and three to move the chains. The Golden Bears took the majority of the time off the clock marching on a 15 play, 84 yard drive and scored on a four yard touchdown run from Kennon Ryan to cap off the game’s most impressive drive in order to cut the lead at 21-20 with a minute left to play in the game.
Instead of going for the tie and possibly overtime, Carencro head coach Tony Courville decides to roll the dice and play for the win as the Golden Bears go for the two point conversion. After relying on the quarterback run for the majority of the drive, Carencro went back to it again, but this time, the Wreckin’ Rams defense rose to the occasion and stuffed Ceaser out of the end zone.
Carencro’s only hope to come back in this game would be the onside kick and Acadiana would recover. The Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams would run out the remainder of the time and thus holding on to a big 21-20 victory over the Carencro Golden Bears.
Acadiana snaps the two game losing streak and improves their record to 6-3 on the season. Now, the Wreckin’ Rams would need some help in terms of the district championship with Acadiana needing to win next week and Southside needing to lose its last two games of the season, but a big win on the road against Carencro helps the Wreckin’ Rams focus on bigger goals, which includes competing for a state championship.
After the game, I spoke with Acadiana Head Coach Matthew McCullough about the 21-20 victory over Carencro.
Meanwhile, Carencro falls to 8-2 overall and ends the regular season. The next time, the Golden Bears will be suiting up will be playoff time.
The Wreckin’ Rams will be wrapping up the regular season next Friday against Barbe.