Select Division I State Championship Preview: Acadiana vs. Catholic-BR

by Hunter Bower // Owner

No. 3 Catholic-BR (11-2) vs. No. 8 Acadiana (11-2)

Friday, Dec. 8 | 7 p.m. | Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LA
Tickets | Watch – NFHS Network ($)

Distance To New Orleans: Acadiana (139 miles), Catholic-BR (78.7 miles)

No. 3 Catholic Bears (11-2)

Head Coach: Hudson Fuller (1st year at school, 11-2)

State Finals History: 2 state titles – 2021 (DI), 2015 (DI) 1 runner-up finish –  1990 (4A)

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat No. 14 John Ehret, 45-9
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 6 John Curtis, 38-35
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 18 Archbishop Rummel, 28-16

The Skinny:

Catholic High of Baton Rouge returns to the Prep Classic with a rich history of championship success, embarking on its eighth appearance with hopes of adding another title to its illustrious tradition. The journey has been a rollercoaster of memorable highs and heartbreaking lows, a narrative that has shaped the essence of the Bears’ football program.

Under the leadership of first-year head coach Hudson Fuller, a former assistant at Catholic, the Bears have staged a remarkable comeback to the state title picture. Fuller now stands alongside the esteemed Dale Weiner and Gabe Fertitta as the only coaches to guide Catholic to a championship showdown.

The postseason was a testament to the Bears’ resilience, overcoming formidable opponents like John Curtis and Archbishop Rummel with sheer will and determination. Despite stumbling early in the year against University Lab and St. Thomas More, Catholic rallied with an impressive nine-game winning streak, securing signature victories over Zachary, Central, Curtis, and Rummel.

At the helm of the team’s success is senior quarterback Daniel Beale, a committed talent bound for UL-Lafayette. Beale’s exceptional game management skills, attention to detail, and on-field prowess have been instrumental in steering the Bears to triumph. In the ground game, the Bears boast the dynamic presence of Barry Remo, a 5-9, 195-pound force who combines speed with the ability to power through opposing defenses.

As Catholic High of Baton Rouge prepares to once again grace the Prep Classic, the team, under the guidance of Coach Fuller, stands poised to etch another chapter in its storied football legacy, fueled by determination, resilience, and the collective spirit of a championship-caliber squad.

Averages: Scoring 37.1 points per game, allowing 23.5 points per game

Signature wins: Picayune, MS (Sept. 1); Zachary (Nov. 2); John Curtis (Nov. 24); Archbishop Rummel (Dec. 1)

No. 8 Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams (11-2)

Head Coach: Matt McCullough (7th year at school, 67-12)

State Finals History: 6 state titles – 2020 (5A); 2019 (5A); 2014 (5A); 2013 (5A); 2010 (5A); 2006 (5A); 2 runner-up finishes –  2007 (5A), 2005 (5A)

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat No. 9 Carencro, 14-7
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 1 Holy Cross, 28-14
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 5 Edna Karr, 30-24

The Skinny:

In a clash of titans, the Acadiana Rams are gearing up for their ninth state title appearance in the 2023 LHSAA Prep Classic, where they will face off against No. 3 Catholic of Baton Rouge. Regardless of the bracket, whether Non-Select or Select, the Rams, led by the seasoned seventh-year head coach Matt McCullough, consistently bring their A-game, earning them a reputation as fierce competitors week in and week out.

This season, Acadiana has carved a unique path as the only traditional public school to reach a Select state title matchup under the revised playoff format. Overcoming formidable challenges in a grueling schedule, including clashes with powerhouse programs like Lafayette Christian, John Curtis, Carencro, Holy Cross, and Edna Karr, the Rams have proven their mettle.

Coach McCullough and his team faced adversity on the road in the previous two rounds, conquering top-5 teams Holy Cross and Edna Karr. The underdog Rams displayed resilience and determination, securing their ticket to the championship game. This marks their ninth state championship appearance, a testament to their unwavering commitment to excellence.

The Rams’ roster boasts standout talent, with junior receiver Russell Babineaux, committed to LSU, poised for a spectacular performance. On the defensive front, Dominick McKinley, a Texas A&M commit, leads the charge alongside a formidable group known for stifling opposing offenses. As Acadiana prepares for the showdown in New Orleans, their journey to the state championship reflects a season of tenacity, skill, and the indomitable spirit of a true championship contender.

 Averages: Scoring 39.9 points per game, allowing 18.1 points per game

Signature wins: Carencro (Oct. 27 & Nov. 17); Holy Cross (Nov. 25); Edna Karr (Dec. 1)