Central football coach Sid Edwards had to smile after he watched the media coverage of Catholic High’s win over then 10th-ranked Denham Springs last week.
“People said ‘Catholic High is back’ and talked about the resurgence of Catholic High,” Edwards said. “I don’t think they ever went any where.
“Sure, last year was a different because they were so young and they finished 3-7. But the last week of the season they were still in contention for a playoff spot. With that said, I think this may be the best all-around team Catholic has had since I came to Central in 2007.”
Edwards’ statements make Friday’s battle of unbeatens even more intriguing. Central (3-0) hosts Catholic (2-0) at Wildcat Stadium. The game helps highlight a schedule of Class 5A-4A games starting at 7 p.m. The Week 4 schedule also includes the first District 6-4A games.
“Our guys are excited and those wins have given them confidence,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “The reality of it is we’re going to face a Central team that is very talented and athletic now.
“They run an offense that we haven’t seen this season, and they’re sound defensively. It’s another big test.”
Some notable 5A nondistrict games are on tap tonight. Top-ranked Archbishop Rummel-Metairie (2-0) travels to Denham Springs (2-1), while Zachary (2-1) hosts fourth-ranked Dutchtown (2-0). Other nondistrict games involving 5A teams include Springfield (2-0) at Live Oak (2-1), Northeast (1-1) at Scotlandville (1-1), St. Amant (2-0) at Glen Oaks (0-3), McKinley (2-1) at West St. John (1-1), Lafayette’s Northside (1-2) at Woodlawn (0-3) and Riverdale at Walker (0-3).
Fifth-ranked Lutcher (2-0) and unbeaten St. Michael the Archangel (3-0) top the list of teams set for 6-4A openers. St. Michael travels to Istrouma (0-2), while Tara (1-1) travels to Lutcher (2-0). Broadmoor (1-2) hosts Belaire (0-2) in the other 6-4A contest.
Plaquemine (0-3) hosts Assumption (2-1) for a nondistrict game.
The Catholic-Central game matches two longtime coaching colleagues and two former teammates. Edwards was once an assistant to Weiner at Catholic. Central offensive coordinator David Simoneaux and Catholic defensive coordinator Anthony Camp were teammates on Parkview Baptist’s team that won the Class 3A state title in 2001.
Each team has its share of weapons. Running back Khalil Thomas has 179 yards rushing and four touchdowns in two games for Catholic. Sophomore Derrius Guice had 97 rushing yards last week. Quarterbacks Nick Coomes and Ben Braymer have combined for 378 yards. Coomes has three TD passes.
Central has had a different rushing leader each week. Quarterback Brett Courville has passed for 505 yards and three TDs. Lamontae Juneau ran for 159 yards and three TDs last week and has 215 yards on the season.
Versatile Gary Triplett, a receiver-running back-return specialist, and backup running back Jake Myer are questionable because of injuries. Triplett, who has had 100-yard rushing and receiving games, sprained an ankle last week. Myer has been out since Week 1 with a dislocated elbow.
“There are plenty of story lines,” Edwards said. “Both teams take a lot of pride in what they’re doing, and that’s going to show.”
Edwards refers to Catholic’s Guice as an “X-factor.” Weiner sings the praises of Courville and Triplett, but has other ideas about how the game will be decided.
“It’s my experience that games like this are decided by a player who is under the radar and makes a big play,” Weiner said. “I also think a big play on special teams will be crucial. Both of us have tricks we like to use.”
Like Central and Catholic, Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said he an idea of what to expect from Tara and it’s first-year coach Mitch McGrew.
“Any time there’s a new coach, there are changes,” Detillier said. “Tara is doing a lot of the same things they did last year, but I do think they are relying on the run more and want to control the ball and the clock. That could be a big factor.”
Kaleb Kador ran for 221 yards and three TDs last week for Tara. Lutcher’s Ruston Matherne had 355 yards of total offense, including 192 passing yards, a week ago.