Ten foolproof predictions for Acadiana high school football in 2014

1. The Rams will be wreckin’ again after running roughshod to last year’s title.

Will anybody be able to stop Acadiana High this year? The Rams barnstormed everybody (except Neville High) on their way to winning their third Class 5A title in the past decade under Ted Davidson. Acadiana is replacing a couple of key pieces, including its quarterback and a pair of talented running backs, but it’s also returning a healthy chunk of last year’s team. Davidson has told his guys that what happened last year has no bearing on this year, but honestly, this year’s team might be primed to do the exact same thing.

2. Milestone watch is at full alert for Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook.

This prediction isn’t so fearless, but it’s worth pointing out. Cook’s squad ran the table in the regular season last year before being bounced from the playoffs in the second round by Parkview Baptist. The 11 wins brought Cook within two of career win No. 300, a feat only two active coaches in the state (St. Thomas More’s Jim Hightower and John Curtis’ J.T. Curtis) can claim. “300 Watch” likely will reach fever pitch Sept. 11, when Notre Dame takes on Breaux Bridge, a game the Pioneers won 3-0 last year. It might not come then, but 300 will come at some point this season, and it’ll come before the calendar turns to October.

3. Actually, make that two milestone watches at full alert

Eunice’s Paul Trosclair fell just shy of making win No. 200 a memorable one, with his Bobcats falling 23-7 to Westgate in the bidistrict round of the Class 4A playoffs last season. Trosclair gets another shot at the milestone in the Bobcats’ opener against Northgate.

4. Catholic-New Iberia QB Jason Pellerin will account for 3,000 yards by himself

Pellerin, an Ole Miss commit, nearly accomplished this last season when he threw for 1,917 yards and ran for 786. If Catholic can make a playoff run, Pellerin might be one of the few to eclipse 1,000 on the ground and 2,000 through the air, but we’ll consider it a job well done if he breaks, 3,000 period.

5. Someone will come out of nowhere and become a star

Again, maybe not the boldest prediction, but it’s one to bank on. One of Acadiana’s star backs last season, Edward Cormier, ran for more than 1,500 yards despite having only a handful of varsity carries to his credit before his senior season. Guys at Acadiana have learned how to wait their turn and reap the rewards when the opportunity presents itself.

6. Carencro won’t stay down

After going 3-7 last season, the Bears’ first under coach Roland “Rip” Eveland, look for Carencro to make a surge back toward the playoffs this year. The team returns 20 seniors, all of whom have had a chance to digest a new offensive system that Eveland admitted was not as easy to install as he had planned. The Bears are just three years removed from a runner-up finish in the state title game, and while that might be a lofty goal for this season, the playoffs definitely are not out of the question.

7. A familiar face will tear it up in a new place

John Michael Besse, who was awarded All-Acadia Parish honors with Notre Dame a year ago, will instead be suiting up for Rayne this season. Besse doesn’t have imposing size, but his impressive speed should add some juice to what was already a potent offense a year ago.

9. The second year of the LHSAA split brings even more changes

After playing in Division II select last season for the playoffs, Class 4A St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic have opted to play up to Division I for this year’s postseason. STM and Teurlings will be part of a 12-team Division I group that includes defending champion Archbishop Rummel and two other powers that are playing up, John Curtis and Evangel Christian. The split also will be evident in another way, with private and public schools opting for different sites for the annual Kiwanis Jamboree.

0. There are plenty of talented players to keep an eye on

Acadiana’s Bry’Kiethon Mouton (LSU) and Pellerin are the top recruits, along with Patterson WR Daylon Charlot (Alabama). Northside tackle O’Shea Dugas and QB Ethan Rose are on the list along with Acadiana DB Malik Antoine (Tulane), Westgate DB Douglas Henry (Tulane) and Loreauville WR Rhashid Bonnette (Louisiana Tech) among the others to watch.

10. Tommy Minton joins the fray in District 7-1A

Veteran coach Tommy Minton moved from Patterson to nearby Central Catholic-Morgan City, giving District 7-1A a high-profile coach. Minton coached Patterson to 3A runner-up finishes twice, including in 2010 when current LSU player Kenny Hilliard was the Lumberjacks’ star. Minton spent 16 years at Patterson and has a 168-72 career record that also features a stint at CCMC in the early 1990s. Longtime offensive coordinator Chad Blanchard has taken the reins at Patterson.