by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
THE ROAD WARRIORS
What a rush! The St. Frederick football improved to 5-0 in road games this season with a 31-7 upset of No. 6 Vermilion Catholic Friday night. The Warriors’ success in away games during the regular season has translated into big situations during the playoffs. Both of St. Frederick’s postseason wins have come on the road and against higher seeds. The Warriors hope to continue the magic Friday night when they travel down to Baton Rouge for a semifinal showdown with No. 2 Southern Lab.
The regulation periods were not enough for three playoff games last week as two went into double overtime and the other a close finish.
St. Pauls 20, Scotlandville 17 (OT)
Rosepine 43, Red River 42 (2OT)
Cecilia 44, Lakeshore 37 (2OT)
LOWER SEEDS CONTINUE TO OVERCOME THE ODDS
A slew of upset victories occurred in the second week of the LHSAA football plays as 14 higher-seeded squads were upended throughout the nine brackets. Class 1A saw three upsets, the most amongst all brackets.
Loreauville was the highest seed through each class and division to suffer defeat at the hands of a lower seed. The Tigers, ranked No. 2, were upset by No. 15 Franklin. West Feliciana, a No. 20 seed in Class 3A, was the lowest-ranked school to score an upset when the Panthers toppled No. 4 Iowa, 35-27.
STORYLINES BY CLASS
- No. 1 Zachary welcomes West Monroe into town Friday night for a semifinal showdown between the two football powerhouses. It’s a rematch of the 2018 Class 5A state title game where the Broncos took home the hardware with a hard-fought 27-24 victory over the Rebels. Zachary holds a 2-1 advantage in playoff games played against West Monroe since 2016.
- Ruston has not advanced past the quarterfinal rounds of the playoffs since the 1998 season which resulted in a trip to the Class 5A state championship game. The Bearcats look to make history Friday night in a contest with higher-ranked Destrehan. The Wildcats are two seasons removed from an appearance in the state title game and have advanced to at least the semifinals the last three seasons.
- The Ponchatoula football team has not advanced into a semifinal round game since 1952. The Green Wave has a tall task ahead of them in their quest for a historic season. Ouachita Parish, winners of five straight, is participating in its first quarterfinal contest since the 2012 season but the Lions have their sights set on history themselves. The Monroe area team has not advanced to the semifinals since 2005. Will the momentum continue for the home squad or can Ponchatoula secure the historic win on the road?
- Parkway entered the postseason having lost three of its last five on-field contests but the Panthers have reignited a spark that has helped them pull of upsets of defending state runner-up Alexandria and No. 2 seed Captain Shreve to set up a showdown with two-time defending state champion Acadiana. Parkway’s last semifinal appearance came in 2013 with an eventual trip to the Superdome.
- G.W. Carver has never advanced to the semifinal round of the playoffs. The Rams have particpated in the quarterfinals just twice in school history and will have the opportunity to make history. However, it won’t come without the biggest uphill battle against No. 1 Edna Karr. The Cougars are hoping to advance into the semifinals for the seventh year in a row.
- Westgate must make the trip up to Shreveport Friday night for a date with Northwood High. The Tigers hope to advance into the semifinals for the first time since 2010. The Falcons advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 with a win over district rival North DeSoto and are looking to punch their ticket to the semifinal round for the first time in program history.
- Belle Chasse converted a 40-yard field goal to take down favorited Huntington in Shreveport last Friday night. The long, six hour drive back was alot sweeter but the work is not over as the Cardinals must now turn their attention to a Warren Easton squad that has allowed only 12 points in its last three outings. Can Belle Chasse carry the momentum off of an emotional victory and take down the team that some thinks could compete for a shot at the state championship?
- Neville went toe-to-toe with the defending state champion last Friday and came out on the plus side for a trip to the quarterfinals. The Tigers host Cecilia, whose only losses have come to St. Martinville and Notre Dame earlier in the year. The Bulldogs have not lost on the road since the first week of the season. Neville has allowed just 15 points in its last six games.
- It’s the one that everyone has been waiting for. No. 1 Sterlington will play host to defending Class 3A state champion Madison Prep Friday night in what is sure to be one of the top games across the state. The Panthers are perfect through 12 games and average 44 points per game. Madison Prep lost a few key players for its state title run last season but that has not slowed the Chargers at all, rolling to convincing victories in the first two round, including a 33-10 win over St. James. Madison Prep has posted two shutous and have not allowed more than 16 points in the playoffs. Expect a slobberknocker of a game in what could be the most intense, craziest atmoshpere in recent NELA high school football history.
- West Feliciana has had a magical run through the first two rounds with upset wins over Jewel Sumner and Iowa. However, the Saints must take down one of the stingiest defenses in the Southern region in No. 5 Church Points. The Bears have posted seven shutouts and allowed only 26 on-field points through 12 contests. The West Feliciana offensive unit has its hands full on Friday but will momentum continue to be on its side and provide yet a another upset. Maybe the third time is the charm.
- St. Martinville advanced to its third quarterfinals in four years with a 62-28 win over Iota on the road last Friday night. The Tigers are now winners of seven straight but this week’s quarterfinal showdown with Lutcher could be its toughest task to date. The Bulldogs have been through it all with having to play at difference locations each week due to damage sustained to its campus from hurricanes back in September. However, they have thrived through destruction, having lost only to undfeated E.D. White on the road. This contest has Game Of The Year tendencies when looking at what is at stake.
- Abbeville survived a thriller at Wossman last Friday night and must continue its road to the Dome through another northeast Louisiana team this week. The Wildcats welcome Union Parish and its all-start tailback Trey Holly, who has rushed for close to 2,000 yards this season. The Farmers used a beefed-up, non-district slate along with league games such as Sterlington and Wossman to help prepare them for the long road. Abbeville utilizes one of the top backs in the state in Blake Saddler in its quest for championship gold. The battle of running backs will surely be one to watch this week as both squads fight for a trip to the semifinals.
- Rosepine won its first trip to the state quarterfinals following a double-overtime victory over Red River. The Eagles must now put that win behind them and focus on the present which is date with the mighty Many Tigers this week. Since dropping a Week 1 contest to Union Parish, Many has rolled through the last 11 games, leaving no doubt that the road to New Orleans stops in Sabine Parish. Can Ethan Frey and the Rosepine Eagles slip past the red-hot Tiger offense or will Tackett Curtis and London Williams continue to slice through the opposition in a quest to repeat as state champions?
- North Caddo and Avoyelles have never advanced to the quarterfinal round of the state football playoffs so forgive each team if they are just a bit excited. The Titans are riding through a magical season with talent such as Omarion Miller helping to lead the way but it will be a challenge to get past a Mustang squad that never likes to punt and is very good at hogging the possession time. Look for North Caddo to win the game through the air while Avoyelles hopes to control the clock and wear down the Titans on the ground. Either way, history will be made, and each fan base will arrive in Vivian ready to dance the night away.
- General Trass has outmatched almost every opponent throughout an undefeated run as the Panthers hope to continue the Cinderella it began to author last season. The northeast Louisiana squad hope to make it two conesecutive straight trips to the semifinals but it won’t be without its biggest challenge thus far. The Amite Warriors come to Lake Providence with visions of championship gold in the cross-hairs. Amite has proven to be one of the teams to watch for in the race for New Orleans and despite having to forfeit two of its games, they do not play like a two-loss team. Expect a ton of points and don’t even think about blinking or you may miss a touchdown scored in the process.
- Logansport wants to get back to the Class 1A state championship game as it has prepared itself for all season. The Tigers boast one of the toughest strength of schedule percentages in the state and it was all by design. Now, it will be put to the test as a talented Basile squad welcomes the DeSoto Parish team down for a quarterfinal date. Basile has been battled-tested in its own way holding teams such as Grand Lake to only one score. Always expect the best out of everyone this time of year but double that when playing Basile.
- Oak Grove and West St. John is the quintessential Class 1A quarterfinal matchup. There has not been a playoff in the last few years that has not included these two squads vying for a shot at another state title. Throw out the records and forget what these two squads have done so far this year… It will be a battle of two of the best teams in the class going at it for 40 minutes.
- Haynesville is synonymous with high school football in Louisiana, especially in the postseason. You never can count out the Golden Tornado, no matter what their record or seed. With that said, Grand Lake has defitnately earned the respect of those within its own classificaiton over the last few years. The Hornets want to get back to the state title game and what better way to solidify their place than by defeating the 17-time state champions. Expect a close game between the two squads.
- Homer has a chance to get back to the semifinals should it take down No. 10 seed White Castle Friday night. The Pelicans have showcased some of the best offensive production throughout the state this season but don’t count out White Castle who has flown under the radar. The Bulldogs know what it takes to get to the state title game. Does the long travel have an effect on the Pelicans Friday night or do they fly high into the final four once again?
- Catholic of Baton Rouge survived a thriller with St. Augustine last Friday night as it made its way back from being down by a couple of scores to take down the Knights, 42-35. Considered one of the most talented teams in the country, the Bears will have to get past a determined St. Paul’s squad in order to punch its ticket back to the state championship. The Wolves have only lost to a pair of undefeated teams in Zachary and Ponchatoula and have taken score of business the rest of the way. Could the Bears be put on upset watch for this game? Who is going to want it more? That shall remain to be seen.
- It was a close game the first time around. Why would a semifinal showdown be any different? Jesuit and Brother Martin will go at it in a Catholic League rematch that saw the Crusaders take a close 21-14 win on the field. The Blue Jays have the momentum after taking down John Curtis, 14-13. Jesuit coach Ryan Manale knows what it takes to get his teams prepare for a state title game but will they be able to shut down the train that is Brother Martin?
- E.D. White has been unstoppable all season long having limited opponents to 10 points or less in seven of its nine games this season. The Cardinals are on a roll and determined to avenge a semifinal loss last season. To do so, they must slow down the recharged St. Thomas More squad that struggled earlier in the season due to the loss of start quarterback Walker Howard. With the LSU commit back in the saddle, the Cougars have not looked back and are destined for another run at a Division II state championship appearance.
- On the flip side, University Lab looks to get back to the state title game for the first time in three seasons as it takes on Vandebilt Catholic. The Terriers have worked their way through two upset victories to set up a quarterfinal showdown with the Cubs in Baton Rouge. Vandebilt looks to get back to the state title game for the first time since 1977.
- The drive for five consecutive state titles must go through Arch Manning and the Newman football squad as Lafayette Christian prepares to face the Greenies for the second consecutive season in the semifinals. The Knights took care of business last year in a 21-7 victory but an experience Manning comes to Lafayette with more determination than ever. Newman has never advanced to the state title game and what better way to get to the dance than to take down the four-time defending champions. It won’t be easy but it is possible.
- In another rematch from last season, Notre Dame hopes to avenge a 24-22 loss to St. Charles on Friday night as they welcome the Comets to Crowley. St. Charles has truly dominated all who have stood in its way, allowing just 21 points all season and shutting out its last four opponents. Notre Dame has two losses on the year but has won its last four by a combined score of 179-13. Don’t expect anything less but a close and physical game from these two championship regulars.
- In what will be the rubber match of these two football giants, Ouachita Christian welcomes Calvary Baptist to town for a high-scoring shootout contest. Since losing to the Cavaliers in the state title game last season, OCS has not lost and has dominated on the gridiron in its quest to avenge last season’s loss. Calvary Baptist hopes to glide into Monroe and again provide an upset over the Eagles in a battle for Division IV supremecy. Expect a spectacular showing from the state’s leading passing leader Landry Lyddy but don’t avert your eyes from Eagles quarterback Landon Graves and wide receiver Tristan Wiley.
- Will St. Frederick be able to upset the mighty Kittens of Southern Lab? It won’t be easy but that is how the Warriors like their playoff football, a challenge on the road. St. Frederick has had to travel the last two weeks but provided upsets against Vermilion Catholic and Opelouas Catholic in their bid for another state title appearance. Southern Lab has scored 40 or more points in three of its last four ballgames and allowed only 19 points.