Non-Select Division II State Championship Preview: Cecilia vs. Opelousas

by Hunter Bower // Owner

No. 2 Cecilia (12-1) vs. No. 12 Opelousas (11-3)

Friday, Dec. 8 | Noon | Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LA
Tickets | Watch – NFHS Network ($)

Distance To New Orleans: Cecilia (123 miles), Opelousas (139 miles)

No. 2 Cecilia Bulldogs (12-1)

Head Coach: Dennis Skains (8th year at school, 59-34)

State Finals History: 1 state title – 1995 (3A); 2 runner-up finishes – 1993 (3A), 1992 (3A), 

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat 15 Iota, 70-30
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 10 Jennings, 38-14
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 22 Northwest, 55-18

The Skinny:

In a triumphant return to the grand stage, Cecilia High School’s football team has secured a coveted spot in the state championships, marking their first appearance since the glorious year of 1995. The Bulldogs, boasting a rich history with a state title in ’95 and back-to-back runner-up finishes in ’92 and ’93, are now hungry for another taste of championship glory.

Under the seasoned guidance of head coach Dennis Skains, Cecilia High has left an indelible mark on this year’s postseason, culminating in a resounding 55-18 victory over Northwest in the semifinals. This emphatic win not only propelled them to the state championships but also marked the school’s long-awaited return to the Superdome after 28 years.

In a thrilling twist of fate, Cecilia is poised to face off against familiar foe Opelousas for the Non-Select Division II state championship. The Bulldogs had previously asserted their dominance with a 25-22 triumph over the Tigers during the regular season, securing the district title in the process. Now, as they prepare for this championship showdown, the anticipation is palpable for a rematch that promises fireworks on the field.

Fueling Cecilia’s formidable offensive arsenal are the dynamic duo of quarterback Diesel Solari and tailback Corey Broussard, both eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Their explosive combination, coupled with the prowess of an experienced offensive line, has proven to be a relentless force against opposing defenses.

As the Bulldogs aim to etch their names in the annals of school history once again, the stage is set for a gripping finale. Cecilia High School’s football team, driven by a storied legacy and the determination to reclaim glory, stands ready to leave an indelible mark on the state championships.

Averages: Scoring 34.2 points per game, allowing 15.2 points per game

Signature wins: Notre Dame (Sept. 29); Opelousas (Oct. 20); Iowa (Nov. 2)

No. 12 Opelousas Fighting Tigers (11-3)

Head Coach: Jimmy Zachery (4th year at school, 26-15)

State Finals History: 2 runner-up finishes – 1956 (2A), 1938 (1A), 

Road To The Dome:

  • Bi-District: Beat No. 21 Rayne, 57-6
  • Regional: Beat No. 5 West Feliciana, 14-0
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 4 Lutcher, 26-10
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 1 North DeSoto, 28-20

The Skinny:

In a historic comeback, Opelousas High School is on the brink of rewriting its football legacy, storming into the state championship game for the first time in a staggering 67 years. The Tigers’ remarkable journey through the postseason has been nothing short of awe-inspiring, overcoming formidable foes such as West Feliciana, Lutcher, and North DeSoto, all on enemy territory.

What makes Opelousas’ run even more impressive is their resilience on the road, with 11 of their 14 contests played away from home. The Tigers navigated a challenging six-game stretch to kick off the season and capped it with an impressive 8-3 record in away games. This championship-seeking team has thrived under pressure, proving that home-field advantage is not a prerequisite for success.

As Opelousas gears up for the title clash, all eyes are on dynamic playmakers like tailback D’Shaun Ford and quarterback Zack Malveaux, ready to spearhead the offensive charge. On the defensive front, top tackler Travis Esprit anchors a formidable unit that refuses to yield easy yardage. With a defense that ranks among the state’s best, boasting an average of under 13 points allowed per game and four shutouts to their credit, the Tigers are poised to make life difficult for their championship opponent.

Opelousas High School’s resurgence is not just a story of redemption but a testament to the unyielding spirit of a team determined to etch its name in the annals of high school football history. As they take the field this weekend, the Tigers carry the weight of a 67-year championship drought on their shoulders, eager to make this long-awaited moment one for the ages.

Averages: Scoring 36.3 points per game, allowing 12.8 points per gameSignature wins: Lake Charles College Prep (Sept. 15); Leesville (Sept. 29); West Feliciana (Nov. 17); Lutcher (Nov. 24); North DeSoto (Dec. 1)