Late the first half of their football game last September, Port Allen’s Guy Blanchard and McMain’s Kevin Roussell met on the field as the two coaches checked on an injured player.
“Coach, this is just like a playoff game,” Blanchard said Roussell told him.
Port Allen went on to score a hard-fought 13-6 win. More telling is what happened several weeks later when the playoffs arrived, as both teams made surprising
runs to the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Blanchard hopes the rematch Friday night at Otwell Stadium helps propel the two sides to similar success again this year.
“We approach it as an opportunity to get better,” Blanchard said. “The ultimate goal is to get yourself put in a position that you’re playing your best ball when playoff time gets here.”
West Feliciana will have a similar mindset when the Saints (3-0) travel to face Marksville (2-1) in another matchup of perennial 3A playoff teams.
Marksville advanced to the semifinals last year. West Feliciana lost to Loranger in the first round last year after advancing to the semifinals the season before.
“Marksville’s got a lot of talent and is very well coached,” West Feliciana coach Robb Odom said. “This will give us a good gauge of where we are.”
West Feliciana is off to a fast start behind a veteran roster that includes 20 returning starters. Marksville has dropped two straight, but one of those losses came to Winnfield and the other to Eunice.
Winnfield lost to John Curtis in the 2A final last year. Eunice is ranked second in the 3A poll.
A year after making the deepest playoff run in school history, Port Allen (2-0) welcomes McMain (1-1) for what will be its biggest test of the young season.
The Pelicans looked much better in a rout of Crescent City than they did the week before, when they knocked off Pointe Coupee Central despite committing seven turnovers. Redemptorist transfer Jestin Kelly has 375 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the two games.
McMain handled Newman in its opener before suffering a 51-0 setback against Salmen last week. Quarterback Omari Jones leads an explosive offense.
“They’re a physical football team,” Blanchard said. “They’re big. They’re well coached. They’re going to come in prepared and ready to play.”