Ever since the Louisiana High School Athletic Association adopted a football playoff system based on power ratings well over a decade ago, a great debate has raged.
Some contend that power ratings have made district races obsolete. Yet there’s still something about the chase for a district title that ignites excitement. It’s a chase a large number of Baton Rouge teams begin this week.
“I think this is as competitive as I’ve seen it in a while,” Dutchtown High coach Benny Saia said. “Before the season started, I picked St. Amant, Catholic and East Ascension as the teams to beat because they had the most people back.
“In this parish, there’s something special about playing St. Amant or EA. And with the success St. Amant is having, we expected a great one this week. Catholic and EA have both lost close games, but they’re both really good teams. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, but I’m not sure anybody can go through district unbeaten.”
Saia’s seventh-ranked Griffins (3-1) host unbeaten St. Amant (5-0) to open a competitive District 5-5A schedule in Week 6 on Friday night. Other 5-5A games are Catholic (2-2) at Woodlawn (0-5) and East Ascension (2-3) at McKinley (4-1).
District 4-5A figures to be just as competitive. Zachary (4-1) has won three straight and hosts Central (4-1) to open 4-5A play. Scotlandville (2-2) travels to Denham Springs (3-2), while Walker (2-3) travels to Live Oak (2-3).
“You’ve got teams who have lost some games,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “But I believe everybody is pretty much where we expected them to be.”
Most games are set for Friday. Three notable district games help open the Week 6 schedule on Thursday. The Dunham School (3-2), fresh off an upset of Class 1A No. 2 Vermilion Catholic, hosts Capitol (1-4) for a District 7-2A opener.
Ascension Catholic (4-1) has surged to its best start in several years under first-year coach Doug Moreau, the former St. Amant coach. The Bulldogs host St. John-Plaquemine (0-4) for a District 9-1A opener. Also, Pointe Coupee Central (2-2, 2-0) travels to Opelousas Catholic (4-1, 1-1) for another pivotal District 6-1A contest.
Baton Rouge’s two highest ranked teams, Parkview Baptist (4-0) and University High (4-1) also begin play in the respective districts on Friday.
Top-ranked PBS, of Class 3A, hosts East Feliciana (2-2) in a District 6-3A opener. EFHS is led by quarterback-linebacker Kendell Beckwith, considered to be one of the state’s top recruits. The Tigers have lost to 5A Zachary in overtime and fifth-ranked Salmen, of Class 4A.
Fifth-ranked U-High (4-1), of Class 2A, has won three straight since losing to 3A No. 3 Loranger, hosts rival Episcopal (3-1) for a District 7-2A opener. The Cubs feature one of the state’s other top senior recruits in defensive lineman Tim Williams.
Two ranked 3A teams who squared off in Week 5 also face solid district challenges. No. 5 Livonia (5-0) travels to Rayne (5-0) for a 5-3A opener. Meanwhile, No. 9 Brusly (4-1), which lost to Livonia 13-12, travels to Thibodaux to play No. 10 E.D. White in District 7-3A action. Sixth-ranked St. Charles Catholic (2-2) travels to Donaldsonville (1-4) for its 7-3A opener.
In Class 1A, ninth-ranked Southern Lab (4-1) takes a four-game winning streak into its District 7-1A opener. The Kittens host Archbishop Hannan (4-0) at Southern University’s Mumford Stadium.
Meanwhile, fourth-ranked Lutcher continues its chase for the District 6-4A title. The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0) travel to Baton Rouge for the first time. Istrouma (1-4, 1-1) hosts LHS.
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