Last Modified: Friday, November 01, 2013 1:02 PM
Five area teams will have the chance to clinch at least a share of their respective district championships tonight, giving Southwest Louisiana football fans a host of important games from which to choose.
The District 4-2A championship will be all but decided by a pair of those teams when highly ranked Welsh and Kinder meet in an old-school rivalry game.
The Yellow Jackets (7-1, 3-0) are ranked No. 6 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 2A poll and No. 4 in the state power rankings. A district championship would give them the opportunity to grab one of the top seeds in the playoffs.
“It’s definitely nice to win the district championship; it is great to know that you are the best in your district,” said Kinder head coach Bret Fuselier. “Right now, though, we are more worried about playoff position. This game has playoff implications and we are just trying to set ourselves up for the postseason so we can give it our best shot.”
Welsh boasts one of the area’s most potent rushing attacks. Sophomore running back Keshon Bell rushed for 251 yards and six touchdowns last week.
The Yellow Jackets will lean heavily on their defensive line and linebackers Kade Andrews and Bryce Baker to stuff the run.
“We are expecting a good, hard fought 48-minute football game,” Fuselier said. “Welsh is a very well-coached team. They have been getting some big games from their running backs and are producing well in coach (John) Richardson’s offense.”
The same exact spoils will be awarded to the Greyhounds (7-1, 3-0) if they are victorious. They are ranked No. 8 in the LSWA Class 2A poll and No. 3 in the state power rankings.
“It would be huge for us to get this win,” Richardson said. “Not only would we win the district championship, but we would have a good shot of entering the playoffs as a one or two seed, and I’m sure Kinder is thinking the exact same thing.”
Richardson knows his team is up against one of its toughest tests of the season, but said his team is up to the task.
“I think there will be a playoff atmosphere,” he said, “with two good football teams lining up against one another for the district title. There is a lot at stake and we expect this will be a hard-hitting, extremely physical football game.”
Welsh will also need a big night from its defense, as it faces a balanced Yellow Jackets offense capable of scoring points in bunches. Leading the way for Kinder is running back Jordan Vickers who has rushed for 696 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. He is joined in the backfield by Andrews and freshman Taylor Johnson. Kinder is also capable of passing the ball with quarterback Austin Pickle throwing for 10 touchdowns.
“Our kids are focused,” Richardson said. “They have a lot of respect for Kinder and they know how good they are. Our guys know how hard they are going to have to play if they want to get this win.”
In DeRidder, head coach Eric Parmley and the Dragons can lock down a share of the District 3-4A title when they host Peabody.
The Dragons (7-1, 3-0) are riding Southwest Louisiana’s second-longest winning streak at seven straight thanks to a stout defense and a power running game led by junior running back D’Angelo Reder. However, that streak could come to an end quickly against a strong Peabody (6-2, 2-1) team.
“I am expecting a very hard fought ballgame” Parmley said. “This pretty much the district championship game. The winner of this game is in the driver’s seat, so this is a very big game and we will need to be ready to go come game time.”
Clinching a share of the district championship would give the Dragons back-to-back titles, a testament to how far the program has come since the dark days before Parmley’s tenure began in 2008.
“It would be an awfully big feather in the cap for our kids and the football program itself to have won back-to-back district titles,” Parmley said. “We do what we always do and every week the games get more important, and we will make sure the kids are ready to go for this game.”
DeRidder can win the district outright tonight with a little help from archrival Leesville. If the Wampus Cats can defeat Bolton, no one will be able to catch the Dragons in Week 10, the end of the regular season.
Also looking to clinch a share of their district championships tonight will be the Jennings Bulldogs (5-3, 3-0), who host Iowa (7-1, 2-1), and the Basile Bearcats (8-0, 5-0), who host Elton (4-4, 3-2). Both teams can also clinch an outright championship with some help. Jennings will need wins from Iota and St. Louis while Basile will need wins from South Cameron and Grand Lake.