by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner

NEW ORLEANS – Plenty of fireworks lit up the Superdome in the first game of Thursday’s LHSAA Prep Classic as Southern Lab outlasted Riverside, 42-35, in a knock-down, drag-out that saw four lead changles.

The win led the Kittens to their sixth official state title in school history and first since 2021 to help complete a 12-1 season. The loss dropped Riverside, in its first Prep Classic appearance since 2016, to 12-2 on the year.

“Wow,” said head coach Darrell Asberry. “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.”

It was a tale of two quarters in the first half as Riverside used a pair of touchdowns from senior Brennan Mause to take the early lead over the higher-seeded Kittens. The two scores occurred quickly after Southern Lab chewed up nearly seven minutes of the first quarter.

However, it was the Kittens that ignited the boosters in the second quarter scoring 27 unanswered points in the final seven minutes of the first half to overtake the 14-point deficit.

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

Southern Lab received scoring plays from four different players including two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown while Ian James closed the first half with a Class 1A/Division IV Prep Classic Record 94-yard interception return for the score and a 13-point lead headed into the half.

In the second half, Riverside’s Dedric Lastie took charge as he broke open for three consecutive touchdowns of 23, 11 and 42 yards to help lead his Rebels back to an eight-point lead. Lastie accounted for 167 total yards in the game, accounting for 107 yards on the ground. Quarterback Brock Bourgeois threw for 281 yards and and a touchdown.

As the final period progressed, Southern Lab’s run game proved to be the difference maker as Jerome Harris took control of the contest and scored consecutive touchdowns in the final six minutes to secure the win and the championship season.

Junior tailback Armariyan Asberry’s performance led him to being named the Most Outstanding Player for Southern Lab after accounting for two touchdowns to help lead the Kittens to a lead at halftime and proved to be one of many deciding factors in the game.

HOW IT HAPPENED

FIRST QUARTER

• :23 – RIVERSIDE | Brennan Maus hauls in a 27-yard reception thrown by Kenric Johnson to take an early lead over the Kittens

SECOND QUARTER

• 8:09 – RIVERSIDE | Brennan Maus helped extend Riverside’s lead to two scores on a 43-yard reception from Brock Bourgeois

• 7:09 – SOUTHERN LAB | Armaryian Asberry helped the Kittens light up the scoreboard with a 10-yard rush to cap a 3-play, 70-yard drive

• 5:57 – SOUTHERN LAB | Anthony Weatherspoon comes up with the big catch on the 1-play drive on a 58 yd reception thrown by Marlon Brown

• 1:36 – SOUTHERN LAB | Asberry accounts for his second TD of the day on a 4 yd rush as the Kittens overcome a 14-point deficit to take the lead

• :05 – SOUTHERN LAB | Ian James stormed the Kittens to halftime with a 13-point lead following a 94-yard interception return

THIRD QUARTER

• 9:00 – RIVERSIDE | Dedric Lastie spun his wheels to find the end zone on a 23-yard scamper that brought Riverside back to within six of the lead.

• 6:05 – RIVERSIDE | Lastie found paydirt again as his 11-yard rush helped lift the Rebels to a one-point lead on a 3-play, 62-yard drive.

FOURTH QUARTER

• 10:40 – RIVERSIDE | On his third touchdown of the day, Lastie burst open on a 42-yard dash that increased the Rebel lead to eight points in the opening of the final period

• 6:13 – SOUTHERN LAB | Jerome Harris punched in a one yard run to cap a 9-play drive while Asberry followed with the 2-point conversion to tie the ballgame at 35-35.

• 2:44 – SOUTHERN LAB | Harris secured the win for Southern Lab on a second straight touchdown run from 27-yards out