Best shot: Eagles aim to fly over regional wall

In more than two decades at Rosepine High School, including four as head coach, Brad Ducote says he has one of the best teams he has ever coached.

Now he looks to get the Eagles over their regional playoff hump. Rosepine has lost in the regional round five of the last seven years and has never reached the quarterfinals.

“This team is just so well balanced in all areas compared to the past years,” Ducote said. “As far as skill-wise, we have more skill than we ever had.

“Defensively, this defense is as good as any under my tenure. I think, by far, this is the best team I have coached. We are healthy and had a good week of practice so far. The kids are playing confident.”

The No. 8 Eagles (10-1) will host No. 9 Red River (8-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Bulldogs bounced the Eagles out of the playoffs in 2017 in the regional round and have a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Zintayvious Smith.

“They are very athletic in the skill positions,” Ducote said of the Bulldogs. “The quarterback is an amazing athlete. He can beat you with his legs or arm. He has a couple of good receivers to throw to.”

Ducote said he’s looking for a repeat of the Eagles’ 35-0 win over Kentwood. Quarterback Ethan Frey and running back Grant Ducote combined for 332 yards and five touchdowns.

“We have to execute on offense and take care of the football,” Ducote said. “We have to play sound defense like we did last weekend. If we do those things, I think we will have a chance to win at the end.

“We make mistakes, but we correct them and usually don’t make them again. They are a seasoned group of guys.”

Welsh vs. General Trass

Welsh (7-4) has won four of its last five games and will host undefeated No. 3 General Trass at 7 p.m. Friday.

“They are big,” Welsh head coach Cody Gueringer said of the Panthers. “Not only are they undefeated and scoring 50-plus points a game, but they are holding teams under 15 a game. They are pretty athletic and pretty physical. It is good to see somebody around that area play some physical football. They are big and aggressive upfront.”

Welsh’s seldom-used passing game played a key role last week, but Gueringer said he isn’t going away from the Greyhounds’ meat-and-potato ground game. Cohen Fontenot and Kennon Legros have combined for more than 2,300 yards.

“People are going to try to take away your best stuff in the playoffs,” Gueringer said. “When they do that, it is how you adjust.

“Usually, if they take something away, they are giving something up. We are going to ride those two (Fontenot and Legros) as much as possible. But when we have one-on-one matchups to exploit, we have some guys on the outside that can make plays.”

Elsewhere

Also in Class 2A, Kinder and DeQuincy are hosting games after pulling off first-round upsets.

No. 21 DeQuincy (6-5) will play No. 5 North Caddo (8-2), looking for its first quarterfinal birth since 2018.

No. 22 Kinder (5-6) takes on No. 6 Amite (7-2) in a game pitting a pair of teams that have accounted for seven championship game appearances in the last decade.

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