Area football teams battling for playoff position, berths

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

District championship stakes are in play when Washington-Marion visits LaGrange tonight, but both coaches say the power points

and a chance to host a first-round playoff game next week is the bigger prize.

Washington-Marion (8-1, 4-0) clinched a share of the District 4-4A title and can win it outright with a win. LaGrange (6-3,

3-1) can earn a share of the crown with a victory. A LaGrange win would allow DeRidder to become co-champion, provided the

Dragons win at home against Opelousas.

The Gators rebounded from a one-point home loss to DeRidder with three consecutive wins to stay in the title chase.

“It feels excellent,” said LaGrange head coach Jules Sullen. “Our number one objective every year is to compete in district

and hopefully have a chance at the championship. One of the things we have improved on is consistency. We are just hoping

that (running backs) Tyler Guillory and Robert Leday can give us that one-two punch.”

Sullen said that will be a challenge against the W-M defense.

“Their D-line is good and aggressive,” he said. “The secondary does a great job. Their front seven does a good job of keeping

the ball in front of them and flowing to the ball.”

Sullen said the Gators’ nondistrict schedule has prepared them for big games.

“By playing a tougher schedule, hopefully our kids won’t shy away against good competition,” he said. “We want to get that

home (playoff) game. The last few years we have had to travel to play a higher-ranked team.”

W-M head coach Freddie Harrison said being at home in the playoffs is important, even though the Charging Indians won a road

playoff game last season.

“This game is really more important for the playoff seeding; we want a home game,” he said. “I don’t crunch the (power rating)

numbers, just take it one week at a time.”

The Charging Indians won last week despite not having linebacker/quarterback Melvin Jones, who is doubtful for tonight’s game

with a leg injury.

“We played well last week; we had some mistakes,” Harrison said. “We played through adversity and Melvin only gets about 15

snaps on offense anyway. I don’t feel we have peaked, we just want to keep working to get better.”

Barbe can clinch the District 3-5A title outright with a win over Lafayette, as can Oberlin in District 5-1A with a win over

Hamilton Christian.