In this edition of the Three Point Stance, staff writers Rodrick Anderson and Warren Arceneaux take a look at the high school football schedule.
The usual anticipation towards football season that comes with August is muted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unknown consequences it will have on the upcoming season. A few major college conferences are choosing to play conference-only games, which could influence high schools to play district or league games only.
Which early season nondistrict game with two large schools would be the biggest loss?
WA: Leesville at Lake Charles College Prep, Week 2. Last year the Wampus Cats won 54-40 at home and both teams return a lot of firepower on offense, including quarterbacks Dillon Simon of LCCP and Jacob Mount of Leesville. Running backs Trevonte Citizen and Caleb Gallashaw of Leesville are big-time talents who are expected to play larger roles this season. It is one of the most entertaining games on the schedule and a rare chance for Lake Area fans to watch Leesville, which plays an entertaining, aggressive style of offense under head coach Robert Causey. Prep has a handful of Division I players on offense and improved defensively as last season went on.
RA: Jennings at DeRidder, Week 3. DeRidder won last year's matchup 21-6, but Jennings went on to a stunning run to the Class 3A state final. The Bulldogs look poised to make another run with a pair of 1,000-yard backs returning in Trevor Etienne, the younger brother of Clemson star Travis Etienne, and Jalen Lewis plus QB Lawrence Willridge, who threw for 1,683 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. DeRidder should have a strong defense this season with nine starters back from an eight-win 2019 campaign led by first-team all-district defensive lineman Darren Griffin.
Which small schools nondistrict game do you most want to see preserved?
WA: Lake Arthur at Basile, Week 1. Both teams will look different this year as the Tigers brought in Tarius Davis as the new head coach while the Bearcats must replace several multi-year starters such as Logan David, Isaiah Ceasar, Isaac Cortez, Gabe Duplechin and Keeman Ivory. The last three games in the series have been narrow Lake Arthur wins, including a 28-26 victory in last season's opener.
RA: Rosepine at Mangham, Week 1. Rosepine almost knocked off Mangham to open the 2019 season. Mangham went on to earn the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, Rosepine lost in the first round. This game will be a sure litmus test for the Eagles who will rely on a pair of talented underclassmen in the offensive backfield in junior QB Ethan Frey (1,454 yards, 15 TDs) and sophomore RB Grant Ducote (1,326 yds., 14 TDs).
What is the best matchup of a small school versus a big school?
WA: Kinder at St. Louis, Week 3. Last year the Yellow Jackets won a 38-37 double-overtime thriller. The Saints reached the Division II semifinals and lost fewer than a handful of starters. Saints QB Cooper Miller and RB Evan Joubert from one of the area's top backfields. Kinder has two of the area's most promising sophomores in linebacker Kevon Freeman and defensive back/kick returner Griffin Cooley, who is also a candidate to start at QB this season.
RA: Welsh at Iowa, Week 3. Both teams are looking to rebound from sub-.500 seasons and are not far removed from recent success. Welsh went to the Superdome in 2017 and 2018, and Iowa had a pair of quarterfinal runs in 2015 and 2016. Iowa returns QB Gene Natali, who threw for 1,735 yards and 17 TDs in his first season as a starter, plus his top two targets in Curtis Deville and Cade Labuyere. Welsh won three game last year but will get a big boost from the return of RB Jaheim Simon, who missed the 2019 season with injury after running for more than 1,000 yards in 2018.