There's nothing like the opening week of high school football season, where a summer's worth of questions get answered to some degree with the opening set of games.
This year, with a seemingly smaller crop of star players returning than usual and a high number of new head coaches, there was plenty to wonder about in the offseason. Let's take a look at what was learned, or at least hinted at, in week one.
In Class 5A, Sam Houston showed that the loss of last year's District 3-5A Offensive MVP Gerron Duhon was not a crippling blow. QB Kyle Bartley has been sharp in both appearances so far, and returnee Tavyen Grice and converted QB Luke Yuhasz are not only one of the best sets of receivers in the area, but also versatile enough to line up all over the field, giving head coach Chad Paulk plenty of options to create favorable matchups. In Game 1, Yuhasz served as a goal-line QB and Grice took a few snaps at running back, where Dylan Abshire showed he can be a workhorse.
Likewise, the Barbe Bucs have flaunted a deep set of skill players. Davis Meche looks at home at quarterback, completing 14 of 18 passes in a Week 1 win over LaGrange. Chandler Ware and Devin Bates are emerging as a good receiving tandem and Dylan Lewis and Tylan Ceaser are carrying the rushing load behind all state caliber lineman Hunter Brown.
Leesville, a Class 4A semifinalist last year, looked good offensively in a wild win over Jennings, putting up 48 points. Defense was the big question coming into the season and remains so after the shootout in Jennings and will get a big test this week when Lake Charles College Prep visits.
DeRidder rebounded for a rough jamboree showing with an improved defensive effort against South Beauregard. New starter Kenneth Gooden looks good as a dual-thrat quarterback and Jalyn Thurman can make plays all over the field.
In Class 3A, reigning All Southwest Louisiana Offensive MVP Luke Doucet of Iota set the tone for another big season with a 221-yard effort against Iowa, and new quarterback Dawson Wallace threw for 91 yards. Adding a consistent passing game to Doucet's ground work could be the final step needed for Iota to return to the Superdome after last season's run to the quarterfinals.
St. Louis continued to build on last season's strong finish with a comeback win over Crowley. Receiver Jadon Johnson was a known commodity coming into the season, but big games from running back Evan Joubert and Cooper Miller bodes well for the Saints long-term prospects.
Welsh also won in dramatic style, with Landen Broussard throwing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback. The win should be a big confidence boost for Broussard, a first-time