Southern Lab Doesn’t Panic and Comes Back From Behind Twice To Defeat Riverside Academy 42-35 in Division IV Select State Championship

It was an incredible game to kickoff the LHSAA Prep Classic as the Division IV Select State Championship between the Southern Lab Kittens (12-1) and the Riverside Academy Rebels (12-2) came down to the wire with the Kittens edging the Rebels 42-35 for their eighth state championship in program history. This would also be head coach Darrell Asberry’s second state championship as the program’s headman.

“Wow! Hats off to this team, the administration and coaches. We have had a remarkable year and this is by far the best team I’ve ever had. These kids have been resilient all year!”

Southern Lab Head Coach Darrell Asberry

It was a fun back and forth game between both teams as both the Kittens and Rebels had to overcome double digit deficits to put themselves in striking position. The Kittens had to comeback from being down twice in this game including a 14-0 deficit early in the game and a 35-27 deficit in the fourth quarter.

“I always tell my kids that if I don’t push the panic button than neither should you. Our kids didn’t flinch today. What more can you ask from them?”

Southern Lab Head Coach Darrell Asberry

For Southern Lab, the Most Outstanding Player was Armariyan Asberry, who ran for two touchdowns along with a two point conversion He along with Jerome Harris, who ended up scoring the game winning touchdown accounted for rushing scores for the Kittens while quarterback Marlon Brown completed 11 of 16 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown pass to Anthony Weatherspoon.

Defensively, perhaps, the biggest play came from that side of the football as Ian James set a Division IV state championship record with a 94 yard pick six. The Kittens also added five sacks on defense as well. Not once, but twice

The Rebels, led by head coach Lee Roussel, made the Kittens earn the title game as star 2025 running back Dedric Lastie ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns while Kenric Johnson finished with six grabs for 124 yards and Brennan Maus finished with two touchdown grabs. Quarterback Brock Bourgeois finished completing 19 of 34 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels had a 35-27 lead, but 15 unanswered points were scored by the Kittens to prevent them from winning the title.

“That team we played was very talented. They got good size on both sides of the ball. They have tremendous skill. We saw a lot of man coverage. We made some big plays in some big moments. These three guys next to me including Dedric Lastie have been making plays all season. We are here because of those guys. We are so proud of them.”

Riverside Academy HC Lee Roussel

It was a great run for the second year head coach from Nicholls State as the Rebels made it all the way to the state championship game after defeating the likes of Catholic Pointe Coupee, St. Martin’s, and Vermilion Catholic to get there.

Meanwhile, the number two seed Kittens continue to show why they are one of the best small school football programs with their second state championship in three years.

How They Got There:

After forcing a Southern Lab on the opening possession, the Rebels offense struck first marching the ball 81 yards on 9 plays. The combination of Brock Bourgeois and Dedric Lastie got them inside the 20 yard line, but it was the unique combination of Kenric Johnson and Brennan Maus for a 27 yard touchdown that got the Rebels the first lead towards the end of the first quarter.

Maus was once again on the receiving end of a wide open touchdown as this time, Bourgeois was the one who threw the pass to give the Rebels a commanding 14-0 lead early in the first half.

Just as quickly as Riverside Academy went up by two touchdowns, Southern Lab responded back just as quickly to retake the lead.

First, Armariyan Asberry would score a 10 yard touchdown run to cap off a 70 yard scoring drive. Then, quarterback Marlon Brown quickly found Anthony Weatherspoon on a 58 yard touchdown pass, and finally, Asberry scored his second touchdown from four yards out to give the Kittens a 20-14 lead with 1:36 left to play in the first half.

Riverside Academy would try to at least tie the score, but the Rebels’ first offensive mistake of the game proved to be costly as Ian James took an interception and returned it back 94 yards for the score giving the Kittens a 12 point cushion. This continued a run in which the Kittens scored 27 unanswered points and happened to be the longest interception return in the LHSAA Division IV (Select Championship) history. The Kittens took a 27-14 lead to the locker room.

After recovering a Southern Lab muffed punt, the Rebels took advantage as Dedric Lastie scored on a 23 yard touchdown run and then the shifty Riverside running back was able to score again on a 11 yard touchdown to give the Rebels a 28-27 lead over the Kittens halfway through the third quarter.

After Riverside fumbled the football on a sack by Ethan Jupiter, Brown tried to take a shot deep to Denim Hunt, but the pass was intercepted by Kaden Brumfield to give the Rebels the ball right back.

Lastie continued his stellar second half with his third rushing touchdown from 43 yards out to give the Rebels some extra cushion at 35-27.

Southern Lab’s offense responded in crunch time with a touchdown run from Jerome Harris followed by a two point conversion from Asberry. That notted the game up at 35 a piece halfway through the fourth quarter.

With 2:34 left to play, Jerome Harris scored his second touchdown of the game and it was a big one as it gave the Kittens their first lead since early in the third quarter with a seven point advantage at 42-35.

The Kittens’ defense would hold forcing a turnover on downs to secure the Kittens’ victory.

Check out the photos from Andy Bryson!