Todd’s Takes: Division IV & Class 4A State Championship Preview
by Todd Black // ESPN 104.5 FM – Louisiana Prep Scoreboard Show
Division IV: Calvary Baptist vs Ouachita Christian
Believe me, last year’s quarterfinal game lingers in the minds of the Calvary Cavaliers. Calvary had a 33-13 lead at halftime and a 47-33 lead with 10 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, so revenge is fresh on their mind. Ouachita Christian enters the game averaging 43.3 points per game (ppg) while surrendering 21.4 ppg on defense. Calvary’s offense is averaging 40.6 ppg and giving up 16.4. The Eagles come into this game with only one loss, that coming to 1A state champion and district foe, Oak Grove. The Cavaliers have suffered two losses on the year, both coming to 5A opponents. In week 1, Calvary lost to Division I runner-up, Byrd 35-27; in week 3, the Cavaliers suffered a loss to the 2019, Division I champion, Rummel.
Both of these teams are young. OCS is starting only 4 seniors on offense as well as Calvary’s defense. On offense, Calvary is starting 4 seniors and 2 freshmen while the Eagles defense starts 5 seniors, 1 sophomore and 1 freshman. Let’s make no mistake, both of these offense’s run through their quarterbacks, Hunter Herring for Ouachita Christian and Landry Lyddy for Calvary. Lyddy is more of a “pro-style” who is 140/216 on the year, throwing for 3102 yards, 39 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Herring, 6-5, 210, is a dual threat quarterback who in back-to-back years has thrown for 1000 yards and rushed for 1000 yards.
Calvary’s offensive line is 30 pounds heavier than is the OCS defensive line. In game’s that are this tight, I look at two things other than the interior lines, turnover’s, and strength of schedule. OCS’s schedule hasn’t been soft by any stretch of the imagination, beating 5A Denham Springs and 3A Sterlington, but Calvary playing toe-to-toe with Byrd and staying competitive was Rummel just makes me feel Calvary will squeak this game out, Calvary 42, OCS 36. Don’t be surprised if it takes overtime to determine the winner.
Class 4A: Carencro vs Edna Karr
Both of these teams have one loss on the year, Carencro’s loss came to the hands of Division II State Champion, St. Thomas More. Karr’s loss, I would consider an upset as they lost by one to St. Augustine, 27-26. Karr has missed the 4A State Championship only once in the last eleven years, that was in 2014. Currently, the Cougars have won 4 state titles in a row, looking for their 5th against Carencro.
Last year’s championship game versus Warren Easton was an epic match-up that ultimately came down to a goal line stand by Karr’s defense in the final few seconds. Don’t be surprised if this game has a similar ending. Karr has played a strong schedule; beating Division I champion, Catholic High, beating perennial power John Curtis as well as beating rival Warren Easton twice. Carencro’s schedule has been just as challenging. The Bears opened the season going to 5A power West Monroe and shutting the Rebels out 16-0. This win immediately put the state ‘on notice’ that the Carencro Bears are a contender in 2020.
The one concern I have about the Bears is their regular season consistency from week to week but in 2020 being inconsistent is the norm. However, in the playoffs, the Bears consistency has been as solid as anyone, averaging close to 57 ppg and giving up a little less than 10.
The Cro’ Bears offensive line is mammoth, averaging 6-3; 296. Just so you know there was not a typo, yes, 6-3, 296. Karr’s defensive line is young and averaging 6-1; 254. The Bear offense will also go two tight and their 2nd tight end is only 5-11, 290, Mo Shomade. If Carencro stays patient and takes care of the football, Karr will struggle to stop that massive offensive line. What does it look like when Karr is on offense? The Cougars offensive line comes in at 6-2; 257; Karr’s big men will be challenged by a Bear defensive line averaging 6-0; 242.5. This Carencro defense is good, allowing only 12.5 ppg. However, the offenses that have given the Bear defense the most trouble are teams who are well balanced, such as St. Thomas More and Westgate. How will the Bear defense handle Karr’s offense? We will see. I think the 1st quarter will be crucial for the Bears, if they are going to have success. Carencro wins 45-36.