The first half of football regular season came to a weird ending with the weather issues Friday night, but nonetheless served to answer some of the many questions we had coming into the season.
Among the pleasant surprises is Grand Lake, perfect on the season so far and headed into the biggest game in program history Friday night, when it will travel to Oberlin to face the undefeated Tigers. The Hornets have made the most of its new faces, with an influx of talent from senior transfers from South Cameron, an impact import from the hoops program and of course head coach Jeff Wainwright, who has meshed all the new faces, installed his preferred flexbone offense and has the Hornets in the hunt for both a district title and home playoff game.
Oberlin had had a good run over the past several years but has a little different look this year, getting more big plays from the passing game into its offense. QB Levi Peloquin has thrown for at least 100 yards in each of his last four games on just 25 total attempts. He's averaging just short of 20 yards per attempt and more than 30 yards per completion this year, numbers that make even Joe Burrow blush. Diversifying the offense a little could help the Tigers in the postseason. Oberlin has been held to single-digit points in each of its last three playoff losses.
Pickering has not made the playoffs in either of the past two seasons, but a 3-2 start has things looking up for the Red Devils. QB Braden LeBato (724 yards, 10 TDs) is among the most improved players in the area and Ryan Russo is another new head coach supplying immediate results.
Elsewhere in Class 2A, rebounding from slow starts will be the big theme over the remainder of the season, with traditional powers like Welsh and Kinder currently sporting uncommon 1-4 records. Brutal nondistrict schedules, with multiple games against teams from higher qualifications, is the price paid for success these days.
Another team that could make a move down the stretch is Lake Arthur, which missed one star in Torrell Levias over most of the season but unleashed another in Daylon Charles, who has 654 yards and 10 TDs on the season. Levias has returned with a bang, gaining 480 yards with 7 TDs over the past two weeks. The Tigers have a rough schedule, with road trips to Lafayette Christian, Notre Dame and Kaplan plus its annual rivalry game with Welsh. If the Tigers can reach the postseason with good health, it could be a sleeper team whose record does not match the talent on hand.
In Class 3A, Iota continues its rampage with a perfect 5-0 mark behind a tough defense and wrecking ball of a running back in Luke Doucet, who has the power, vision and speed to get to the second level and speed to take it to the house once there.
District 4-3A has no shortage of contenders with St. Louis (3-1), Iowa (3-2) and Lake Charles College Prep (3-2) entering league play with winning records. Jennings (2-3) has won two straight and Trevor Etienne is an emerging star, with 344 rushing yards and 5 TDs over the past two weeks. Fellow RB Jalen Lewis has added 238 yards and 3 TDs in that span. St. Louis RB Evan Joubert, Westlake RB JJ Ross and Prep QB Dillon Simon give the district plenty of star power.
Like Iota, Leesville looks poised for another long postseason won. The Wampus Cats have seemlessly replaced four offensive linemen from last year and head coach Rob Causey orchestrates one of the area's best and most creative offenses, led by RBs D'Ante and Caleb Gallashaw, QB Jacob Mount and WRs Darius Sawyer and Khrystian Hoffpauir.
Rapidly improving LaGrange (1-3) is a team to watch. The Gators lost a close one to Sulphur, then broke a 15-game losing streak with a quality win over Lake Charles College Prep. Losing the Week 5 game against winless Opelousas hurts, but QB Quintorious Jones and a solid defense give the Gators hope for a strong finish.
In Class 5A, both Barbe and Sam Houston have held form from last season heading into their showdown in Moss Bluff this week. The Broncos lost district MVP in Gerron Duhon, but the emergence of WR Luke Yuhasz next to Tavyen Grice has given the Broncos one of the most prolific receiving duos in the state. At Barbe, Davis Meche has made a seamless tradition into the starting QB role, not a surprise given his excellence in various roles on the Bucs baseball team and his success as a defensive back on the gridiron.