At first glance, it looks like the two biggest high school football games in Baton Rouge’s Class 5A-4A have little in common, other than the fact district titles hang in the balance.
Catholic High (6-2, 4-0) travels to fifth-ranked Dutchtown (7-1, 4-0) for a District 5-5A game that matches familiar foes. In 6-4A, third-ranked Lutcher (8-0, 5-0) looks to sweep the title for the second straight year when hosting Plaquemine (6-3, 5-0).
The Catholic-Dutchtown and Lutcher-Plaquemine games highlight the Week 10 5A-4A schedule. In District 4-5A, Central (8-1, 4-0) can wrap up the outright title with a win over Live Oak (5-4, 2-2).
“In order for there to be a rivalry, you have to have two teams who can beat each other,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “The first few times we played Dutchtown, we won, but now they’ve won the last three.
“I think our philosophies are similar, even though the plays we run and what we do on defense to get to where we want to be is different.”
By contrast, Plaquemine and Lutcher meet for just the second time. Lutcher moved into Baton Rouge’s 4A league a year ago, the same time PHS moved up from Class 3A. In 2011, the Bulldogs beat Plaquemine to win the 6-4A title, facing much the same scenario.
Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said there are some marked differences from a year ago. The biggest common tie for the two games is the chance for both Catholic and Plaquemine to snap their opponents’ long district winning streaks.
“We’re not the same team as last year, but they are,” Detillier said. “That’s one of the things that makes this one unique. Early on, we played some talented teams in Hahnville and McDonogh 35. Right now, I’d say Plaquemine is the most talented team we’ve faced.”
Dutchtown has not lost a district game since 2009. The Griffins lost to Hahnville in Week 8 that year. Lutcher has not lost a district game since 2006 and hasn’t dropped a league game at home since 2004. St. Charles Catholic handed the Bulldogs both those losses.
“Catholic is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “They challenge you and give you a lot to prepare for. I think it will be a battle of wills.
“Both defenses are good, and I’m not sure driving 85 yards will be an option. The team that gets a break and a short field needs to take advantage of it.”
Khalil Thomas (944 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards) and Nick Coomes (744 passing yards) help lead Catholic. Dutchtown’s Mason Nickens has passed for 839 yards and run for 514 yards. Torrance Mosley leads the Griffins with 578 rushing yards.
While Plaquemine returns much the same team as a year ago, the lineup for Lutcher is revamped. One key returnee is Ruston Matherne, who has 1,469 passing yards and 541 rushing yards.
Plaquemine has evolved into a run-oriented team in coach Paul Distefano’s first year. Versatile Hakeem Deggs has 939 rushing yards, 412 receiving yards and is also factor as a defensive back and return specialist. The Green Devils’ Davon Godchaux is one of the state’s top 2014 defensive line prospects. PHS has won six straight.
“We lost our first three games and we’re tickled to death to be playing for a district title,” Distefano said. “Lutcher plays on another level, so this is a big test for us.
The Live Oak-Central game is the Wildcats’ annual pink game to benefit breast cancer research. Central will wear pink jerseys and donations for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center will be collected.
While Central can clinch the 4-5A title with the win. A Wildcats loss could drop Central into a tie with Scotlandville (5-3, 3-1), which travels to Walker (2-7, 0-4).