Five area teams can clinch district titles tonight

By By Troy LaFleur / American Press

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.