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Assumption has edge over St. Martinville

Assumption’s Dejuawn Oliver (4) prepares to run through Morgan City defenders in last week’s game. The Mustangs begin the Class 4A state playoffs against St. Martinville Friday at Mustangs Stadium in Napoleonville. (Photo by File photo)

If experience means anything in the state playoffs, then the Assumption Mustangs has an advantage over St. Martinville.

After a three-year playoff absence, Assumption made its return last season while competing as a Class 5A team.

Similar to Assumption last season, St. Martinville hadn’t made the playoffs in the past five seasons, but are making their return at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mustangs Stadium.

Assumption coach Don Torres said that having playoff experience should help his team in its preparation.

The Mustangs lost to Zachary, 44-35, in last season’s Class 5A bi-district playoff game.

Assumption enters the Class 4A playoffs as the No. 5 seed, while St. Martinville is the No. 28 seed.

“It will be tremendous,” Torres said. “We hadn’t been to the playoffs in three years and we didn’t know what to do and how to do it. It isn’t the same like having experience. Looking back at that game, we could’ve beaten Zachary and we discussed that last year. We made it to the playoffs with a team that, in the past, hadn’t been successful.

“It was hard, emotionally, to get them in the right frame of mind. Losing that game and knowing what our goals are, this year, we have a totally different frame of mind.”

All season the Mustangs have been in offensive frame of mind.

Led by quarterback Hunter Gauthreaux and running back Chris Johnson, Assumption (9-1 overall) has outscored its opponents 397-191. The Mustangs offense was on display in last week’s 42-13 win over Morgan City, and Torres said that the win gives his team momentum going into the playoffs.

“We had a couple of games, back-to-back, that we didn’t play our best,” Torres said. “We didn’t play well against Lutcher and Vandebilt, but the competition had a lot to do with that. I thought (last week) we had a total team effort. We came out of that game feeling good about ourselves and you are always happy when you play well.”

Even though St. Martinville (5-5) hasn’t participated in the playoffs in five years, its district has them battled tested.

St. Martinville competes in District 5-4A with Breaux Bridge, St. Thomas More, Teurlings Catholic, Cecilia and Northside.

“Arguably we play in the toughest Class 4A district in the state. As far as our wins and losses, I am pretty pleased on how the season turned out,” St. Martinville coach Gary Adkins said. “This program hasn’t won but seven games the past four years. We knew the challenges were tough, but the kids responded well. The good thing when you play in a league like this, it makes me a better coach and it makes the players better. We are going into the playoffs battled-tested.”

Adkins is the former coach at Donaldsonville and he is very familiar with Assumption’s program.

Adkins said that Assumption always has an athletic team and he is real impressed with its offense.

“What impresses me is their trigger man (Gauthreaux). Their quarterback is real good, not only physically, but he has great control of their offense,” Adkins said. “Of course, their receivers and running backs are skilled. They have a big back (Johnson) and a little back (Chris Skidmore) that are talented. Defensively, they all get to the ball well and they are very well coached team.”

Offensively, St. Martinville runs a Wing-T led by quarterback Clifton Chaisson and running backs Jude St. Julien and Jamiah Nelson.

Torres said that St. Martinville’s offense reminds him of South Terrebonne with the mix of speed and power, but it is the Tigers defense that has his attention.

“They are a solid running team. A Wing-T running team with a quarterback, running back and speed back that all run well,” Torres said. “(On defense) they are very good. Their front four has three outstanding defensive linemen. Our offensive line will have to play extremely well. They will have to give us some protection to throw the ball.

“We are hoping to get some protection, find some holes (in their secondary) and score points. We will need to score points to win this game.”

Torres said St. Martinville reminds him of the 2006 Mustangs who didn’t win a district game, but were a tough out in the playoffs.

“I equate them to Assumption in 2006 when they were 5-0 out of district and 0-5 in district and hosted a playoff game,” Torres said. “They are the same exact way. Everyone in their district is awesome. Their district schedule has them ready for the playoffs. They are about the best 28th seed that can possibly be (in the state). We will have to play well to be successful.”

NOTES: The last time Assumption won a playoff game was in the 2000 season... Johnson leads all area rushers with 1,097 yards on 154 carries and 11 touchdowns... Gauthreaux is the area’s top passer completing 98-of-170 attempts for 1,573 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions... St. Martinville rushed for 350 yards in last week’s 56-36 loss to Teurlings Catholic... The Assumption-St. Martinville winner will play the East Jefferson-Alexandria winner in the regional round ... The game will be broadcast on KXOR 106.3-FM.