It was a perfect ending to a perfect season for the Notre Dame Pios. Their defense got them to the Superdome, and they finished the job.

The Pios held an explosive Riverside Academy team to only three points and collected five sacks and three turnovers on their way to a 13-3 victory. It was a classic Pios performance under Head Coach Lewis Cook, who is no stranger to the Dome. This is his fourth state championship and Notre Dame's fifth. This wasn't a surprise though. Opposing offenses suffocated against the Pios all year long.

"Our starting defense only gave up five touchdowns," Coach Cook said. He didn't mean in the playoffs, or in district play...five touchdowns allowed all year long by his first teamers. Pure domination.

Riverside only amassed 135 of total offense the entire game, but even those numbers fail to describe the level of excellence displayed.

In simple terms, Notre Dame did to Riverside what they did to opponents all year long: shut them down and crushed their spirit. Riverside is known for their athletes running the football, but that wasn't happening in the Superdome. Not against the Pios, who held them to a mindblowing -26 rushing yards. Yes, you read that correctly. Negative yardage in a championship game.

"They couldn't run the ball," Cook said to simply summarize his teams' performance. Defense is part of their identity, and it will continue to be with one of the best high school football coaches in the country at the helm, "We build our team around it."

Another building block to the Pios success was brotherhood. Notre Dame's roster isn't filled with Division I college recruits or guys who check in at 6'7" and 346 lbs. What they lack in size and athleticism, they make up for and then some in heart and chemistry. Would the Pios have scored 13 points in 14 seconds right before half if they lacked discipline and patience? Probably not. Instead, they shook off a slow start against a tough Riverside defense and found away to hang enough points on the board for a win.

Joe Faulk's stat line wasn't exactly gorgeous (5-12, 49 yards passing, 2 TD's, 1 INT, 13 rushes for 34 yards), but his brothers helped him out. He hit two different targets on the Pios only scores of the game right before halftime, then the defense finished the job. For Faulk, it's all about the guys he suited up with.

"The best part about our team is on and off the field, we're family," Faulk said after getting his hands on a state championship.

If I told you a team only put up 212 yards of offense and 13 points in a state championship game, you probably assume they lost. Notre Dame's defense defies logic, which is why it should be remembered in the annals of Acadiana high school football history as one of the best.

Don't think they deserve an "all-time great" type label? Chew on this. They only allowed a single TD, to Calvary Baptist in the second round, in the playoffs. Those aren't chump teams, but the Pios made them look the part. Other teams are trying to move into the future of football with spread offenses and crazy scorelines. Notre Dame will just continue to line up and punch people in the face, in football terms.

Get ready for a celebration, Crowley. There's a state championship coming back to town, and you better give it a warm welcome.

With a coach like Cook, what's stopping the Pios from returning to the Superdome again next year? If the trophy case starts running out of room, just build another. This won't be the last time the Pios dance in the Dome, but it might not feel this special.

Undefeated State Champions. That's a title that lives forever.

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