Ju'Juan Johnson's 9 TDs lifts Lafayette Christian past Teurlings Catholic in LHSAA semis

After advancing to five consecutive state championship games, there aren't many ways to make a statement.

Unless you're Ju'Juan Johnson.

The four-star junior quarterback accounted for all nine of Lafayette Christian's touchdowns as the No. 6 Knights exacted revenge on District 4-4A rival and No. 2 Teurlings Catholic at Rebel Stadium on Friday.

The 68-46 victory sends LCA (10-3) to the Select Division II state championship game against No. 1 St. Thomas More (12-1) at the Caesars Superdome. St. Thomas More, another district rival, beat E.D. White 38-7 on Friday.

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"This whole year, our seniors have had a word (the team) broke down to every time," Johnson said after the victory. "It was a statement. We had to come out and make a statement and I feel like that's what we did tonight.

"We had a great game in all three phases of the game and it was a great game all around."

In the first meeting between the two, the Rebels' defense was opportunistic in forcing Johnson into a couple of mistakes and limited him just enough. But not when it mattered most in the semifinals.

Johnson amassed 660 total yards with an epic turnout of nine TDs.

"He made a lot of good plays for those guys," Teurlings coach Dane Charpentier said. "A tremendous athlete and they put him in a lot of situations that make it very tough to deal with him. You can do a lot of different things but you have to pick your poison. Whenever you face a true dual-threat quarterback that had the vertical threats on the outside like he does, it makes it a lot harder to defend than a typical offense.

"They got something special."

A big part of LCA's vertical ability that's smoothed itself out in the playoffs has been the emergence of wide receiver Trae Grogan, who hauled in five touchdown passes among six catches for 161 yards. He also made the play of the year on his first TD catch, a one-handed snag with his left hand while his right was behind pulled by a defender into the end zone.

"It feels good to get the job done for my team," Grogan said. "I didn't think I'd have five touchdowns (coming into tonight) but I thought I might have two or three. They were giving one-on-one coverages and I knew I could take advantage of that,"

Despite what felt like an unstoppable Knights offense that built a 40-10 lead early in the second half, the Rebels didn't lay down. Junior quarterback Preston Welch powered a barrage of Teurlings TDs that cut the deficit to 40-32 by the end of the third quarter.

Welch finished with 312 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough for Teurlings, which fell short of its first state title game berth while suffering its sixth semifinal defeat in program history.

"We knew that those guys were a resilient bunch," LCA coach Trev Faulk said. "They can score in bunches and they weren't going to lie down and go away quietly. But we knew we had to keep competing and try to find a way to get a couple of stops defensively. Thankfully, we were able to stop the bleeding there. And offensively, we scored and went back on another run."

Whether LCA would be able to keep in its state championship game streak alive looked to be in peril earlier this season with three losses in the regular season. Johnson said the goal never changed, despite the ebbs and flows, and while the team has scored 138 points the last two weeks, he feels there's more the Knights can do.

"I think our offense can lock in more, make less mistakes. I got to stop throwing a lot of picks like I am," Johnson said. "On the defensive side, I feel like we can control the teams little bit more. We just got to keep getting better at those things as the week goes by and we'll be ready for championship game.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Ju'Juan Johnson scores 9 TDs, lifts LCA past Teurlings to state title game