All-Star games are designed to put the spotlight on top talent, and the stars from Lafayette shined bright in the first ever I-10 Bowl.
Lafayette picked up the championship with a 35-27 win over Lake Charles, thanks to a massive first quarter breakout led by Acadiana's Bralen Trahan.
Trahan, who recently committed to play for the Ragin' Cajuns, came up with three takeaways in the opening quarter to spark a 28-0 start to the game. He picked off two passes and returned a fumble 39 yards for a touchdown, which was enough to earn him MVP honors for the game. The Wreckin' Rams' do-it-all man seemed to be everywhere on defense, and the award was well deserved.
Trahan wasn't the only one who had a fantastic day out at Sulphur. A few of Lafayette's finest hooked up and formed some quick chemistry for the win.
Erath's Elijah Mitchell, another Ragin' Cajuns commit, scored the first touchdown of the game and later found the endzone for the final score to finish off a drive set up by one of Trahan's interceptions. Mitchell led the state in rushing yards in 2016, and he left his mark on the I-10 Bowl running behind a solid offensive line.
One of the smaller players on the field, Comeaux's Tanarious Achan, had a huge performance. He caught his first touchdown pass from STM's Nate Cox to make the score 14-0, then he put Lafayette up by four scores (after Trahan's fumble return) with a touchdown reception from the hands of Notre Dame's Bryant Thevis. Achan finished the game with over 100 yards receiving, and he might have caught the attention of a couple more college recruiters working against the best defensive backs in the Lake Charles area.
After the 28-0 start, the Lake Charles All-Stars started to crawl back in the game. Once they cleaned up the turnovers in the first quarter, they made things interesting.
Jennings QB Kendrick Lejeune led the comeback for Lake Charles, and he finished as the top passer in the game with 184 yards and three touchdowns through the air.Lejeune tossed his first score to Iowa's Andre Sam, his second to Barbe WR Nate Briscoe, and his final touchdown went to Laqaaron Mingo from Marksville, who made a pretty diving grab.
With the help of his teammate Travis Etienne (125 yards rushing, 1 TD), one of the top running backs in the country, Lake Charles came all the way within one score before the clock ran out.
During the game, Etienne also narrowed down his selections for college to three schools, including one big time program within the state.
Etienne and Mitchell weren't the only backs to strut their stuff either. Kirkland Banks, a versatile running back from Barbe, also found the endzone in the outing, which ended up being an entertaining game for everyone involved.
In the inaugural I-10 Bowl, things went about as smoothly as possible. Nobody got hurt, it seemed like the players and coaches loved the experience, and friends and family members got to see their favorite players suit up one more time.
This matchup should only get better and better throughout the years. The Lafayette and Lake Charles areas already have plenty of rivalries, and the I-10 Bowl provides some friendly competition to determine bragging rights after the intensity of the season concludes.
This year, Lafayette brought home the trophy, but will it stay in the Acadiana next year or make it's way west on I-10?