Three area districts open play this week as District 4-1A, District 4-3A and District 3-5A get going. The first three weeks of the season has provided some info about participating teams, but each of the districts appear to be up for grabs going into the opening week of league play.
The District 4-1A title could be up for grabs Friday night when Basile hosts defending champion St. Edmund, who beat the Bearcats in Eunice last year en route to an undefeated run through district play. Basile caught fire after that loss, winning nine straight games en route to a quarterfinal berth. This year Basile get the big game at home, and enters on a high with consecutive wins. The Bearcats have been strong defensively and have a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Dawson Ashford and running back Andre Reed.
Oberlin, coming off an injuryplagued season last year, appears to be the other team most likely to factor in the title chase. The Tigers started the season with a pair of shutout wins and held rival Oakdale to a field goal last week while moving to 3-0 on the season. The Tigers feature former District MVP McKenzie Carrier on the defensive line while Collin Chatman leads the offense.
There are no clear-cut favorites in District 4-3A. Iowa and Jennings have dominated the district the past two years and meet Friday in Jennings, but have just one win between them this season. That win was a big one as Jennings went on the road last week and knocked off previously undefeated DeRidder.
Injuries hurt the Bulldogs early in the year, as did a difficult schedule that included games with Church Point and Eunice to open the season. Inexperience has been the issue for the Yellow Jackets, who lost all but a handful of starters from last year’s team that went undefeated in the regular season. Iowa has been competitive but is still looking to put a complete game together. An encouraging sign from last week was getting more than 350 yards of offense in a loss to Sam Houston.
Lake Charles College Prep is the lone unbeaten team in the district and has knocked off a pair of Class 4A teams the last two weeks, winning on the road at Northside last week and beating Rayne at home in Week 2. The Blazers have good size and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but will have to lose its habit of committing silly penalties to make a run at the district title.
Last year the Blazers had a rough time in league play, going 1-5 with all losses by 21 points or more. This time the Blazers have a larger senior class and more confidence going in. Tayvonn Alexander and JaCalon Pitre lead a talented defensive line while sophomores Dillon Simon and Glynn Johnson have emerged as one of the area’s top QB-WR combos. Johnson leads the area with 5 TD receptions.
W-M has a trio of collegebound players in DE/OT Jaylon Ned, LB Christian Guillory and RB/SS Carrington McClinton, but struggled out of the gate with losses to Leesville and DeRidder to open the season. The defense came around in last week’s 58-8 win over an overmatched Ville Platte team, but gave up a total of 83 points over the first two weeks. Even in an easy win last week, W-M piled up the penalty yardage with 160. They won’t be able to get away with that many mistakes against good competition. QB MarQuez Chagois has an excellent 7:1 TD-to-interception ratio and a home run threat in WR William Carswell.
St. Louis is winless against a brutal schedule (Sam Houston, Catholic-New Ibera and Barbe). The Saints led for much of the game against Sam Houston and was competitive in the first half against Barbe. Establishing a consistent running game and generating some confidence will be the key Saints hopes of getting into the title chase.
South Beauregard and Westlake have one win each going into district play and have played well in spurts. The Golden Knights broke a 12-game losing streak last week and have a gamechanging playmaker in Colby Hollier.
In 3-5A, each of last year’s co-champions (Acadiana, Barbe and Sulphur) are off to good starts, with the lone loss between the trio being Sulphur’s road loss at Byrd last week.
The two local teams are led by outstanding quarterbacks in Barbe’s Luke Richard and Sulphur’s Morgan Clark. Acadiana has not missed a beat despite the retirement of legendary coach Ted Davidson, opening the season with wins over Kaplan, Carencro and Ruston. The Rams have won each game by seven points. The schedule is not in Acadiana’s favor, as the Rams must travel to both Barbe and Sulphur.
The Sam Houston Broncos have parlayed a prolific offense to a 3-0 start and could announce their presence as a title contender with a home win against Sulphur this week. The Broncos have scored 124 points on the season, scoring at least 35 points every week.