John Curtis-Zachary Showdown Highlights State’s Top Football Contests

by Hunter Bower // Owner & CEO

The 2022 Louisiana high school football season began in impressive fashion last week with overtime shootouts, rain-soaked thrillers and ole fashioned rivalry games highlighting the opening week.

It doesn’t slow down as teams prepare for Week 2 as breaks down the top game in each region along with other contests that are sure to grab attention in their respective areas.

GeauxPreps/LSWA Top 10 Rankings listed. Games and times are subject to change.


No. 7/6 Avoyelles (1-0) at Teurlings Catholic (1-0)

Rebel Stadium • Lafayette, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

This game is not usually one that people would be drawn to. However, those who attend Friday night’s contest at Rebel Stadium are sure to be entertained.

Head coach Andy Boone brings his Avoyelles squad down south for a rare matchup against Teurlings Catholic. The Mustangs are known for running their double-wing offense along with three returning tailbacks who each rushed for over 1,000 yards a year ago. Match that with the high-octane offensive threat from Rebels quarterback Preston Welch and you are sure to have a classic in the making.

Defense could be the deciding factor in this ballgame but expect the very best from each sideline.

Other Top Area Games: Alexandria at St. Thomas More; Cecilia at Southside; Lake Charles Prep at Westgate; Notre Dame at St. Martinville; Sulphur at Acadiana; Woodlawn (BR) at Lafayette Christian

Capital Area

No. 5 John Curtis (1-0) at No. 1/1 Zachary (1-0)

Bronco Stadium • Baton Rouge, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 6:30 PM

Zachary enters Friday’s game with the state’s longest win streak (17) in tow. This week it will be the John Curtis Patriots who are up for a chance to try and snap the streak in a battle of Class 5A giants.

The Broncos are led by Alabama commit Eli Holstein who helped guide his team to a convincing victory over East Ascension while John Curtis shut out Central Lafourche on the road last week. The Patriots return a load of depth on offense that could spell trouble for Zachary’s young defensive unit. However, if Holstein can get past a stout defensive front, he will have a chance to make it a long night for the Patriots. It’s the “next man up” mentality that has won both programs a ton of championships. They don’t rebuild, just reload.

Other Top Area Games: Archbishop Rummel at University Lab; Edna Karr at Scotlandville; Madison Prep at Southern Lab; Opelousas Catholic at Ascension Catholic; West Feliciana at Central (BR)

Central Louisiana

Leesville (1-0) at Jena (0-1)

Jena Football Stadium • Jena, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

For the first time in recent memory, Leesville will take on Jena in a non-district tilt as both teams enter with more to prove in the 2022 season.

A young Wampus Cats squad took a convincing win against Jennings last week while Jena fell to Mangham in its season opener. The Giants hope to right the ship this week as they open up in front of their home crowd against an inexperienced but determined Leesville contingent.

With seven total starters returning from a year ago, head coach Robert Causey will be tasked with keeping his Wampus Cats focused in a game that could have huge power rating implications at the end of the season. His team has already proved once that it’s up for the challenge but it will be Jena that has the task of stopping a motivated roster.

Other Top Area Games: Breaux Bridge at Tioga; Caldwell Parish at Winnfield; Pineville at Holy Savior Menard; St. Mary’s at Buckeye

Greater New Orleans & Northshore

No. 3/4 Catholic-BR (0-1) at No. 2/2 Warren Easton (1-0)

Pan American Stadium • New Orleans, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

The Catholic Bears hit the road Friday to renew its series with Warren Easton following last year’s 39-14 victory that saw the Eagles fall to the defending Division I champions.

Expect a bigger crowd to come to witness an even bigger showdown as the highly-anticipated rematch kicks off at 7 p.m. as quarterback Daniel Beale and wide receiver Shelton Sampson hope to revive their Catholic teammates following a one-point loss in their season opener last week.

However, it will be tough to tame Warren Easton as it rides a strong wave of momentum following its overtime win on the road over Ruston last week as the Eagles make a bid for another shot at the state title in 2022.

Other Top Area Games: Belle Chasse at South Plaquemines; Brother Martin at St. Paul’s; De La Salle at Holy Cross; Riverside at Newman; St. Augustine at L.B. Landry

Northeast Louisiana

No. 6/5 Oak Grove (1-0) at No. 2/1 Ouachita Christian (1-0)

Steven Fitzhugh Field • Monroe, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

Two programs that once were district foes will now battle it out for good ole bragging rights this week as Oak Grove travels to battle Ouachita Christian.

The Tigers made the move up to Class 2A leaving their counterparts behind but electing to keep the rivalry alive for at least two more years. Oak Grove has been tabbed as a team that could contend for a championship this season while Ouachita Christian remains atop nearly all Class 1A state polls.

The Eagles are led by quarterback Landon Graves but will have to make adjustments in the ground game following a season-ending injury from senior tailback Chad Strickland. Oak Grove brings 16 total starters back led by Oklahoma State commit Kam Franklin on defense.

Expect a hard-nosed, slobberknocker when these two collide for northeast Louisiana supremacy.

Other Top Area Games: East Ascension at West Monroe; Jesuit at Ruston; Mangham at Sterlington; Neville at Ouachita Parish; Northwood (SH) at Wossman

Northwest Louisiana

No. 5/7 Calvary Baptist (1-0) at No. 8 Captain Shreve (0-1)

Lee Hedges Stadium • Shreveport, Louisiana • Thursday, Sept. 8 • 7 PM

Captain Shreve head coach Adam Kirby notched his first win as the lead of the Gator program last week but will have his work cut out again as Calvary Baptist makes the trek over to Lee Hedges for an inner-city battle.

Both squads were forced to wait an extra day to enjoy the spoils of their first victory as inclement weather became a factor across the state last week. Nevertheless, Calvary Baptist handled Logansport while Captain Shreve took down Loyola Prep in their first step for a deep playoff run.

Expect an all-out aerial assault as both teams like to throw the ball but expect a good ground game from Captain Shreve as well while Calvary Baptist’s defense looks to turn in another dominating performance.

Other Top Area Games: Harmony Grove, AR at Haynesville; Homer at Minden; Huntington at C.E. Byrd; North Webster at North Caddo; Parkway at Red River; Texas High, TX at Benton; Union Parish at Airline

South Central

No. 6/6 Lutcher (1-0) at No. 3/2 St. Charles (1-0)

Thomas J. Dupuy Stadium • LaPlace, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

For the second week in a row, LaPlace will serve as the location everyone and their cousin will be hustling to as St. Charles welcomes Lutcher to Dupuy Stadium in a rematch of the 2019 thriller.

The Comets topped Lutcher, 23-21, that year and were scheduled to play again in 2021 until damage sustained from Hurricane Ida forced the two schools to cancel the meeting. Both teams enter the contest undefeated as St. Charles blanked Archbishop Shaw while the Bulldogs used a seven-touchdown performance from start quarterback D’Wanye Winfield in a 62-35 win over Thibodaux.

St. Charles will be tasked with containing Winfield and company in this year’s matchup while Lutcher hopes to gain its first win in the series since 2007. Either way, both teams have a lot to play for.

Other Top Area Games: John Ehret at Destrehan; Mandeville at Hahnville; West St. John at St. James

Southwest Louisiana

Carencro (1-0) at Barbe (1-0)

Buccaneers Stadium • Lake Charles, Louisiana • Friday, Sept. 9 • 7 PM

Carencro proved in Week 1 that it belongs with the big boys. The Bears made the move back up to Class 5A after a brief hiatus but made up for lost time as they dominated Alexandria on the road last week.

This week will provide another challenge as Barbe welcomes Carencro to town for its first district contest and the word challenge won’t be taken lightly for either team. The Buccaneers still have a lot to prove after being forced to sit the 2020 season out due to Hurricane Laura thus getting a late start in building the program back. Meanwhile, Carencro can make its mark on Class 5A with another convincing victory against a program that has become a maintain the state’s highest classification.

Barbe all-state receiver Jamaal Levi and quarterback Will McLain provide the biggest challenge while Chantz Ceasar and company look to make it a long night for the home team.

Other Top Area Games: Church Point at Kinder; Eunice at Jennings; Many at DeRidder; Westminster Christian at Grand Lake; Welsh at Westlake