Warren Arceneaux column: SWLA teams play above rankings

Published 8:03 am Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Area high school football teams proved to be road warriors last week, with Welsh, DeQuincy, Kinder, Iota and Westlake all beating higher seeded teams as area teams produced an 11-7 cumulative record.

Each of the above schools earned a home game with last week’s win, and as a group, they showed that defense both still matters in an age of high-scoring games, and that in the postseason, defense travels well.

The quintet of road winners allowed an average of 16.8 points per game. Only two — DeQuincy and Westlake — won by more than 10 points. Area home winners, outside of shootout-loving East Beauregard, which won despite allowing 40 points, were even more dominant. Rosepine, Oberlin each pitched shutouts. Iowa and Iota gave up a combined 13 points and Basile allowed just 12 as all won comfortably. Leesville gave up 32 in its win over Assumption, but the Wampus Cats’ explosive offense tends to produce high-possession games with lots of points.

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If the area is to continue to pile up unexpectedly high win totals, the defenses will have to continue to dominate.

This week area teams will face nine teams that played a first round game. Those teams averaged 47 points a game, with each one scoring at least 26 and four of the nine scoring 51 or more in the first round.

Each of the five road winners will host a team seeded in the top six. Westlake will host Sterlington, which is undefeated, averaged 42 points per game in the regular seasons, and opened the playoffs with a 56-12 win over Douglass. The Panthers have an impressive playoff pedigree with 14 postseason wins over the past five seasons, including two trips to the Superdome and the 2016 state championship.

Iota will host a resurgent St. Martinville program that reached the quarterfinal round in two of the past three years and enters this week on a six-game winning streak in which the Tigers have averaged 46 points per game. The Bulldogs defense had its best showing since Week 3 last week, holding Brusly to 7 points on the road. It will need to step up again to give the senior-laden Bulldogs another week to play.

In Class 2A, Kinder, Welsh and DeQuincy all get to host teams seeded in the top six as a reward for last week’s road wins. Kinder gets Amite, an annual state power that has terrorized local teams over the past decade. Since 2011, Amite is 7-0 in playoff games against area teams, with each win occuring in the second round or later, including a win over Welsh in the 2018 2A championship game. This year’s Warriors team has won seven straight. It’s only two losses are by forfeit in Weeks 3 and 4. One bit of optimism for the Yellow Jackets is that Amite’s closest game was a 21-14 win at St. Helena, where Kinder won its first round game last week.

DeQuincy will host No. 5 North Caddo, which has held five opponents to single-digit point totals while scoring 50 points or more four times, including each of the past two wins.

North Caddo survived


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a 6-3 first round game against Welsh last year, then lost a 56-54 regional round shootout to General Trass, which made a surprise run to the state semifinals before running into eventual state champion Many.

That Trass team will visit DeQuincy this week. Trass is undefeated and has been held under 48 points once all season, in a 26-6 Week 3 win over Class 4A Bastrop.

Since then, the Panthers have averaged 57 points per game and held five opponents to six points or less.

The degree of difficulty isn’t much lower for the other area teams either. Grand Lake will host Oberlin in a rematch of a regular season game the Hornets won 27-20 in Week 6. Iowa has a big advantage over West Feliciana seed-wise, but the Saints won 38-0 last week and can’t be overlooked. Leesville will travel to New Iberia to face Westgate, which has a long history of long playoff runs and several college recruits on offense.

No. 9 Basile has a close matchup seeding-wise traveling to No. 8 Delta Charter, but must make a long bus ride to Ferriday.

East Beauregard has the tallest order of all, making the long trek to face Oak Grove, the defending 1A champion that has ended the Trojans’ season each of the past two years with blowout wins.

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