Whether the Parkview Baptist vs. Catholic High game has evolved into a football rivalry may still be in question.
Regardless of what happens Friday night at Olympia Stadium, the two powers from different classifications will be give fans something to talk about.
A capacity crowd is expected for the season-opener game that matches No. 5 Catholic of Class 5A against No. 3 Parkview of 3A.
The contest helps highlight a long list of nondistrict games involving teams in Class 5A and 4A set for 7 p.m.
“I really do think it’s going to be one of the marquee games in the state,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “And I expect it to be a real good one. I think we both do. Both defenses are very good, so yardage may be at a premium.”
The game marks the third straight year the teams have played. Parkview beat the Bears the past two seasons, including a 39-34 victory a year ago at Olympia.
“It reminds me a lot of our old rivalry with Redemptorist,” PBS coach Kenny Guillot said. “It isn’t a district game, but it’s two quality teams and we expect it to be a playoff-like atmosphere.
“And you don’t get that very often, at least not in Week 1. No matter who wins, this one will help both teams. I don’t know what will happen, but I hope we can continue playing each other.”
Skeptics could view the showdown as a classic case of haves vs. have nots offensively.
PBS, last year’s Class 3A state champion, returns its powerful offensive line. Two sophomores, Reggie Hayes and Sam O’Brien, are splitting quarterbacking duties. Some uncharacteristic dead-ball penalties and turnovers were part of the Eagles’ 21-0 jamboree win over Episcopal.
Catholic returns a wealth of experience on offense, including senior quarterback Nick Coomes. Junior running back Derrius Guice has morphed into one of Louisiana’s top prospects for 2015. Guice gained 185 yards in a 42-7 jamboree win over St. Michael the Archangel.
“The big thing for us will be ball control,”Guillot said. “We want to control the line of scrimmage and the ball in every game. It will be important for us to keep the ball away them.”
Both teams pride themselves on special teams play and Weiner said he believes those plays also will be crucial. Tom Wing, the brother of former PBS and LSU punter Brad Wing, returns for the Eagles along with kicker Taylor Black. Catholic returns punter Connor Whalen and kicker Jack Gonsoulin.
“We take a lot of pride in special teams and Eric Held (new assistant and former St. Michael coach) has brought more to the table for us,” Weiner said. “And I know Parkview stresses special teams as well.
“They can be a game-changer. You could have a big play on special teams and score. Or you could end up pinned back by your goal line. Special teams could decide it.”
Central High plans to honor Istrouma alumni at Friday’s game against the Indians. Plans to honor Istrouma alums stem from the fact that a number of Istrouma alums live in the Central area.
Former Istrouma players, cheerleaders, band members, etc., will be recognized at halftime.
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