Arceneaux: Plenty of interesting match-ups, scenarios for final week of regular season

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Number-crunching time has arrived with

the final week of the season. All eyes will turn to the power ratings as

fans and

coaches try to figure out who needs to win, who needs to lose, who

will be playing who and where games will be held next week

when the postseason starts.

Locally, the final week of the regular season offers up some interesting match-ups and scenarios.

Washington-Marion will make the short

trip to play LaGrange. Fans of both teams have been trying to force

rivalry game status

on the matchup even since the closing of Lake Charles-Boston. The

game has been a high stakes affair each of the last two

seasons with district title implications on the line each time.

That helps get a rivalry going more than silly nicknames and

commemorative t-shirts.

The Charging Indians may have to play

without all-purpose star Melvin Jones, but the Charging Indians offense

has been solid

running the ball all season and quarterback Maurius Rideaux has

proven to be more than capable in the passing game. Defensively,

the Charging Indians should gain confidence from getting a shutout

win in their first full game without Jones at linebacker.

LaGrange will pose a challenge with a

pair of good running backs in Tyler Guillory and Robert Leday and a host

of talented, multidimensional skill players such as Freddie Williams and Nick

Pitre. The Gators defense has been good and features a difference

maker in Tirell Wellmaker.

The winner of the game should lock up a

first-round home game, which would be a big step forward for each

program. LaGrange

has not hosted a playoff game since 1999 and Washington-Marion won

its first playoff game in a decade last year. That game

featured an overflow crowd and big-game atmosphere that harkened

back to the days when the Charging Indians were a perennial

power.

The 1999 season was the last time

LaGrange won a playoff game. From 2000-07, the Gators won a total of 20

games in eight seasons.

Head coach Jules Sullen has rebuilt the program back into a solid

one with three trips to the postseason in his first four

seasons. A home game and win in the playoffs would represent

another step forward for the Gators, who won at least one playoff

game six times in the 1990s, reaching the semifinals in 94 and

quarterfinals in 96 and 99.

Iowa has not made the playoffs the last

two years, but punched its ticket Friday night with a huge win in

Westlake, the team’s

eighth win of the season. More importantly, it was the first over a

team with more than two wins, which gave a boost to Iowa’s

power rating, which was in the 20s entering the game due to a low

strength of schedule.

The win over Westlake now gives the

Yellow Jackets hope of staying at home for the first round if it can win

a showdown with

Jennings this week. The Bulldogs are likely in the same position,

need to win the regular season finale to secure a home game.

The game will feature a good matchup between the strong running

game of Jennings and Iowa’s bruising defense, which shut down

a good Westlake offense and held its own against an outstanding

Notre Dame team earlier this season.

In Class 2A, Lake Arthur, Kinder, Welsh and Rosepine are all hopeful of getting home games. Kinder and Lake Arthur will play

each other in a game that may serve as an eliminator for home-field advantage. The Elton-Basile game in Class 1A may serve

a similar purpose.

The elimination games don’t start until next week, but there are plenty of games this Friday with high stakes on the line.

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Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at warceneaux@americanpress.com