Todd’s Takes: Class 2A, Division I State Championship Preview

by Todd Black // ESPN 104.5 Baton Rouge – Louisiana Prep Scoreboard

Class 2A State Championship

No. 1 Many vs No. 6 Kinder

Since the split, the Kinder Yellow Jackets have won two state championships and the Many Tigers one.  In 2013 & 2014, these two teams matched up against one another in the Superdome, each team winning one.  In 2015, Kinder returned to the Dome and defeated Mangham 35-20.  In 2019, Many returned to the championship for the first time since 2014, losing to Ferriday 56-17.  Since 2013, Kinder has been the 8th seed or higher every year while Many has been the number 1 seed six times.  These are two teams that have had a lot of success since the LHSAA split in 2013.

The “tale of the tape” looks like this.  Many’s offense is scoring 46.1 points per game (ppg) while the defense is giving up 19.1 ppg.  Kinder’s offense is averaging 32.7ppg and the defense yielding 12.5.  Using the height and weights in the program, the Many offensive line is averaging roughly 6-0, 225.6.  They will be up against a Yellow Jacket defensive line averaging 5-11 ½, 206.  The Yellow Jacket OL is averaging 6-0, 211; Many DL averaging 6-0, 248.  Many has 15 seniors starting while Kinder has 12.

The question in both of the state championship’s opening day games is “does defense win championships?”  If so, then look for both of today’s underdogs to win; however, let’s look into these match-up’s a little deeper.

Many comes into the game undefeated with their closest challenge coming from Amite as the Tigers win 34-30.  Many runs a 3-3 scheme defensively and Wing-T offensively.  These two schemes are tough to prepare for, especially if this your opponent’s first time to see them.  Both are very difficult to simulate in practice.  A 3-3 defense always brings pressure, the problem for the offense is you never know which LB is coming.  The linebackers will “stim” (bounce around) every play helping disguise the pressure.  Offensively, the wing-T pulls guards and no matter how hard your scout team tries, it will never equal what your defense will see come game time.

The Yellow Jackets have two losses on the year, one in the very first game of the year versus St Louis and the other versus Lake Charles Prep.  In the playoffs, Kinder has won the last three playoff games by 7 points are less.  Kinder’s offense will line up in the pistol and run the option game while their defense is going to line up in a 4-2-5.

This game is going to boil down to whose defense is the most disciplined.  The wing-T and option schemes have success off of the defense’s mistakes.  These two teams have one common opponent, Avoyelles.  Many won 28-12; Kinder won 28-22.  Avoyelles offense runs a version of the ‘Wing’ so this will help the Yellow Jackets.  In the film I have seen of Many, they are crisp on both sides of the ball; 8 of 9 of the Tigers on their offensive and defensive lines are seniors.  Kinder has two big men who play both ways which can be a huge factor in the outcome of this game.  The Tigers win 33-18.

Division I State Championship

No. 3 C.E. Byrd vs No. 4 Catholic-BR

Catholic has playoff wins versus Rummel and Brother Martin; Byrd has wins versus St. Augustine and John Curtis.  Which team faced the tougher two opponents?  That is arguable.   Which team’s wins were the most unexpected?  Without a doubt, Byrd. The Yellow Jackets continue to prove me wrong as I didn’t believe they could contain St. Aug’s speed and passing game and I thought John Curtis would out muscle Byrd upfront.  The Bears have been in two shootouts with two familiar opponents, Rummel and Brother Martin.  At halftime of these two games, the Bears trailed 21-14 and lead 24-21.  In the first half, Catholic has been outscored by Rummel and Brother Martin, 45-42.  In the 2nd half of both games, Catholic’s offense has been nothing short of spectacular scoring 49 points. For Byrd, in both of their games, the Jackets were tied 7-7 and 0-0 respectively at the half.  The Jacket’s 2nd half’s have been different as well, outscoring their opponents 38-20.  But, as we know, games are 48 minutes.

On most occasions, a one-dimensional team does not give the Bears trouble; however, Ruston scored 42 on the ‘black hat’ defense.  Byrd is extremely one dimensional, attempting only 39 passes all year while running the ball 474 times, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.   Catholic High’s offense is scoring over 38 points a game while Byrd’s defense is giving up only 12.6 ppg. However, I don’t believe Byrd is the best defense Catholic has faced.  In my opinion, that would be Acadiana’s defense in which Catholic put up 27 points.  I think the deep ball is going to be a tough matchup for the Byrd secondary, especially #6 Shelton Sampson who is a 6-6 speedster. 

Catholic has had the tougher schedule of the two; the Bears have played Acadiana (5A Championship), St. Thomas More (DII Championship), Karr (4A Championship), and now Byrd.  Catholic wins this 33-17.