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Lions have something to prove

Mark George and the Covenant Christian Academy Lions will host Lake Area Technology Early College Preparatory School of New Orleans at 7 p.m. Thursday at Nicholls State's John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux. (Photo by File)

The Covenant Christian Academy Lions may have won back-to-back Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association state football titles the last two seasons, but they are still a team with something to prove.

After competing in the LCSAA for two seasons and posting a 25-5 record, Covenant Christian decided to make the jump to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for the 2012 season.

Now, the Lions want to prove to everyone that they belong in the LHSAA.

On Thursday night, the Lions will play their first home game as a LHSAA member when they host Lake Area Technology Early College Preparatory School of New Orleans. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Nicholls State's John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux.

"We are so excited to finally get a chance to play in front of the local fans," senior quarterback Mark George said. "It's even more special that it will be our first home game in the LHSAA."

Covenant Christian made its LHSAA debut on Sept. 7 with a 70-41 win over Lusher Charter. The Lions had an open date last week.

"We are really pumped up about this," senior offensive tackle Chris Lirette said. "We have been working hard all summer for this game. We want to come out and show everyone what we are all about. We want to go out there and prove ourselves to everyone."

Covenant Christian coach Blyght Wunstell said making the jump to the LHSAA was not in the school's original plans, but that soon changed after dominating the LSCAA.

"When we first started this program, we never dreamed that three years down the road we would be making the jump already," he said. "To be honest with you, we weren't really planning on making the jump, but this kind of thing just exploded on us. We wanted to give our athletes an opportunity to play tougher competition."

If their season opener is any indication, the Lions (1-0 overall) made a smooth adjustment to the LHSAA. They dominated on the ground, finishing with 563 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.

Jordan McKay led the way with 16 carries for 245 yards and five scores, while Lorenzo Barrow (six carries, 125 yards two scores) and George (nine carries, 114 yards, two scores) also eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark.

Wunstell said several players suffered some bumps and bruises against Lusher, so the team only practiced once last week to give players a chance to rest and heal a few minor injuries.

Originally, the Lions were supposed to be off this week as part of a three-week stretch with no games scheduled. But that changed when Lake Area Tech coaches contacted Wunstell about playing this week.

After the Lions' season opener against Brother Martin was canceled because of Hurricane Isaac, Wunstell said he jumped at the chance to play another game.

Lake Area Tech is also competing in its first season in the LHSAA and is coming off a 59-0 loss to O. Perry Walker last week.

Wunstell said the players are ready to get back on the field and prove to their home fans that they can compete with LHSAA teams.

"We are not going to approach it any different, but we understand that it is our first home game in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association," he said. "We just want to show people that we do belong."

After not playing in two of the first three weeks of the season because of the storm and an open date, George said the players are ready to play a home game. Covenant Christian's last home game was a 47-6 win over Acadiana Home School during a Nov. 3 LCSAA first-round playoff game.

"The team is real anxious to play a (home) game," he said. "Having the first game canceled was disappointing because that was the first game of the year. It was the game where we could go out and prove ourselves."