In this edition of the Three Point Stance, staff writers Rodrick Anderson and Warren Arceneaux preview the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Prep Classic.
Name a player to watch in the Jennings-St. James Class 3A championship game.
WA: Jennings quarterback Lawrence Wilridge. Before last week's win over McDonogh #35, Jennings head coach Rusty Phelps said the biggest thing the Bulldogs had to do was throw the ball some. Wilridge responded with two touchdown passes, including the winner to Trevor Etienne. Wilridge will need to make more big plays to prevent St. James from loading up the box to stop the run.
RA: St. James has a dual-threat QB in Shamar Smith, so taking away some of his downfield options will be key. Jennings defensive backs Ethan Mack (41 tackles, three tackles for loss, six interceptions and Dimarien Simon (4 INT, 12 pass break-ups) will need to disrupt the Wildcats' talented receiver corps.
What's the most interesting game outside of Class 3A?
WA: Division IV, which has No. 5 Ouachita Christian vs. No. 7 Cathlic-Pointe Coupee. Ouachita Christian has a great offense that is averaging 53 points per game in the playoffs. Catholic-PC has won with defense, allowing a combined 15 points in its three playoff wins.
RA: No. 1 Acadiana vs. No. 7 Destrehan, Class 5A. Acadiana has played in seven state championship games since 2005. This will be the third against the Wildcats. Destrehan won the first matchup 41-21 in 2007, but the Rams got revenge in 2014, winning 23-7. Acadiana has been nearly unstoppable this season, winning by an average of 32.7 points, led by running back Dillon Monette (2,089 yds., 32 TDs).
Which area team is most likely to reach a state title game next year?
WA: Aside from the obvious answer of Jennings, I'll say Lake Charles College Prep, which returns most of its firepower on offense with QB Dillon Simon and wide receivers Jaylen Joseph, Keshlon Jackson, Glynn Johnson and Solomon Lewis all returning. RB Trevonte Citizen could be next season's Trevor Etienne, a RB who returns to health and leads his team on a run to the dome.
RA: After three consecutive season of reaching the quarterfinals or semifinals, St. Louis Catholic looks primed for a shot at a state title appearance next season. St. Louis reached the semifinals this season for the first time since 1978 and will return several key players. Returning next year is QB Cooper Miller (1,579 yds., 15 TDs), RB Evan Joubert (1,754 yds., 28 TDs) and six of the Saints' top-nine tacklers, including John Reina (105 tackles, 10 tackles for loss), Josh Orsot (69 tackles, 3 TFL), Kemal Robertson (67 tackles, 19.5 TFL) and Wesley Maze (66 tackles, 15 TFL).