NAPOLEONVILLE – The No. 11 Assumption Mustangs survived the elements, a muddy field and the tough No. 22 Carencro Golden Bears on Friday night in the first round of the Class 4A football playoffs.
The Assumption defense forced and recovered three fumbles, including one with 2:32 remaining, to seal an 8-6 victory at Mustang Stadium.
Assumption travels next Friday to face No. 6 Leesville in the second round.
“I’m extremely proud of my team. Watching the film, Carencro took some tough 5A teams down to the wire,” Mustangs coach Anthony Paine. “Weather conditions I knew would favor them more than us, but our kids just grinded it out. They refused to give up.”
“I take my visor off to Coach Paine and his staff and his team. They dominated us on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They did a tremendous job,” Bears coach Tony Courville said.
Assumption’s defense made the big play of the game. After the Mustangs muffed a punt to give Carencro the ball deep in their territory, the defense stuffed Bears quarterback Austen Breaux on fourth and goal.
However, Carencro (5-6 overall) struck on its next possession.
Breaux followed a 21-yard quarterback keeper with a two-yard touchdown run.
Assumption’s Trevon Bozerman blocked the PAT for a 6-0 Bears first quarter lead.
Assumption (9-2 overall) began the second quarter by blocking a Carencro punt, getting the ball on the Bears 21.
Three plays later, Mustangs running back Tyran Cassie plowed 10 yards for a touchdown.
On the two-point conversion, quarterback Tijah Parker found Damon Bailey in the end zone for an 8-6 Mustangs lead.
The teams traded turnovers deep in the other’s territory that neither could capitalize on.
Carencro recovered a Mustangs fumble on the 40 at the 8:58 mark. Assumption’s Tremond Williams recovered a Carencro fumble at the 32 with 1:09 remaining.
The Mustangs entered halftime with 8-6 advantage.
“I told them before the game, in weather conditions like this, crazy stuff is going to happen,” Paine said. “We had one score called back for a penalty, another one on a touchdown pass. We had to survive the storm and focus in on the job at hand.”
“We’re a run-dominant offense, but they had a great game plan and shut us down,” Courville said. “The linebackers were coming down real hard and making good plays.”
The second half was about ball control and making the fewest mistakes
Late on the third quarter, both squads again exchanged fumbles.
Cassie ran for 19 yards but lost the ball, and Carencro’s Chukwuma Utomi recovered at the 26.
A minute later, Bear quarterback Tavion Faulk mishandled the snap, and Williams recovered his second fumble of the game at the Carencro 16-yard line.
However, on the final play of the quarter, Parker was intercepted on the 2-yard line to end a potential scoring drive.
On the initial play of Carencro’s last drive, they Trejun Jones fumbled, and Assumption’s Josh Ratcliff recovered it.
Parker picked a first down on third-and-two to seal the victory.
“Our defense has been lights out all year,” Paine said. “Our offense has been grinding it out lately. I’m proud of those guys. They take their lumps here and there. Nobody gives them credit, but they did a great job as well.”
“I’m proud of our defense because Assumption has a high-powered offense,” Courville said. “I’m sure the field position had something to do with that. We just couldn’t take advantage of those takeaways.”
Paine said he hopes his Mustangs can carry the energy of the hard-fought victory into the next round of the playoffs.
“I like the way we hung together,” he said. “We’ll take the win and look forward to preparing for next week.”