Arceneaux: Season heating up as we pass midpoint

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

The regular season is halfway over and the majority of area football teams will begin district play this week. Coaches have

started checking out power ratings and discussing the importance of getting first-round home playoff games.

The season is heating up with more regional rivalry games and high-stakes showdowns on the horizon over the next five weeks.

Here is a look at how the races shape up in each district.

District 3-5A:

the top three finishers from last season — Acadiana, Barbe and Carencro

— have started to separate from the pack. Each of

the three is undefeated in district play. The first game between

members of the group takes place Friday, when Acadiana visits

Barbe. The Bucs play at Carencro the following week and can assume

control of the race with a pair of wins. Barbe’s defense

has struggled against the pass in games against Evangel and St.

Thomas More, a pair of shootouts that the Bucs split. The

Bucs can score with anyone but will need the defense to stand up

to the powerful running attacks of Carencro and Acadiana

if it is to sweep the pair of games.

District 4-4A: A

similar scenario is playing out in here as Washington-Marion, LaGrange

and St. Louis — which all tied for the district title

last year — look like the favorites coming in. The Charging

Indians are 4-1, and after riding the running of Melvin Jones

last year, have added balance to the offense with the development

of quarterback Marius Rideaux, running back Rawlin Guillory

and receiver Demond Delahoussaye.

LaGrange and St. Louis are each 3-2

against difficult nondistrict schedules. The Gators have quality road

wins over Sulphur

and Northside and have the benefit of three district home games,

including both the St. Louis and Washington-Marion games.

The Gators have an abundance of quality skill position players but

have hurt themselves with penalties throughout the first

half of the season. Cleaning up the pre-snap penalties and getting

running back Robert Leday back healthy will be keys.

St. Louis has had to battle inexperience and the temporary absence of head coach Mike Johns, but picked up good wins over

Sam Houston and East St. John and played well in a one-point overtime loss at Jennings.

The Saints have found a few playmakers on offense in quarterback John Paul Crawford and wingbacks/receivers Lenny Breda and

Andrew Dietz. Consistency in the running game will be needed in games against the other top teams, but a solid defense and

spectacular special teams play should keep the Saints in every game.

District 4-3: The race appears to be wide open. Jennings and Notre Dame are as good as expected, but Iowa has been the story, winning all

five games while putting up ridiculous point totals.

Chaz Key has emerged as a dual-threat as a runner and kick returner, and the Yellow Jacket defense has been dominant. However,

Iowa has yet to play a winning team. It will be tested early in the district race with consecutive trips to Crowley.

Jennings has kept rolling on offense,

plugging in Jarquis Brown and Lamontay Mouton at the running back spots

and adding some

balance with the throwing of Jaylon Boutte. The Bulldogs have

three wins over 4A teams and will get a chance to take control

of the race early, as they host Notre Dame this week.

The Pioneers (3-1) have been impressive, beating Breaux Bridge to open the season and blowing out St. Louis and Catholic-New

Iberia. The lone loss was by four to undefeated Teurlings Catholic.

Westlake (3-1) should also be a factor.

The Rams have an impressive set of skill position players and have been

good defensively.

Receivers Jacory Washington and Tyler Johnson, 6-foot-6 and 6-3,

respectively, are tough matchups for opposing defenses, and

Latrell Martin is a powerful running back.

District 4-2A: Little

has been decided in the first two weeks of play. Welsh is undefeated

with a big win over Kinder and a quality win at

Rosepine. Kinder and Lake Arthur each have one loss but remain in

the race. Kinder’s toughest remaining games, against Rosepine

and Lake Arthur, are both at home. Lake Arthur controls its fate

with games against Welsh and Kinder remaining.

Head-to-head games between the three contenders will be crucial in the chase for playoff positioning. Class 2A is deep. A

team with two or three losses will no be guaranteed a home game, so getting big points from beating the other elite teams

will provide a big boost in terms of seeding.

District 4-1A:

Undefeated Basile and one-loss Elton appear to be the favorites.

Sophomore Kendrick Ceaser has emerged as a star for the

Bearcats, with 837 rushing yards. Elton’s Micah Lavan is not far

behind with 753 yards and Carson Ortego and Scott Ross have

shown they can produce big plays in the new-look spread offense.

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