It’s rare to find two teams that could share the distinction of opening the season against one another and more than three months later face the prospect of crossing paths again to settle a state championship.
Not only does it speak volumes for the current status of the programs at Class 4A’s No. 4 Teurlings Catholic and Class 3A’s No. 3 University High — who meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Richard Gill Stadium-Jeff Boss Field — but it also represents a new direction in the state’s playoff format.
The Teurlings-University matchup is not only a signature contest among the local-area, lower classification schools but will also be televised by Cox 4 in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette markets.
“We’re hitting the perfect storm as far as atmosphere’s concerned,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “I know they always have a great crowd and lively student section and are excited about the matchup as well. It’s our first time at home, so I expect a good turnout on our end.”
Faced with reclassification and scheduling hurdles, West Feliciana and East Feliciana keep their burgeoning rivalry going when the Saints travel to face the Tigers at 7 p.m. at East Feliciana Middle School in Clinton.
“It’s always exciting when the season starts, but to have West Feliciana in that first game it has added more anticipation,” East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson said. “It’s still a big game.”
TEURLINGS-UHIGH: Both Teurlings and U-High are coming off double-digit jamboree wins and deep playoff runs a year ago, the Rebels (11-2) reaching the 4A quarterfinals and Cubs (12-2) the 2A semifinals.
With the advent of select/nonselect playoffs this season Teurlings and U-High are grouped as Division II select schools, making Friday’s game a possible prelude to a future meeting.
“They’re a team that makes a deep run in the playoffs every year and I don’t think it will be any different this year,” Mahaffey said of coach Sonny Charpentier’s Tuerlings team. “We’re all bunched in there with some new potential opponents in the playoffs, but I think they’re going to be one of those teams at the end of the year toward the finals.”
U-High returns 11 starters from the most successful team in more than two decades and embraces the challenge of a nondistrict schedule that also includes Class 4A LaGrange and Class 5A Denham Springs.
“They’re somebody the kids get excited about playing against,” Mahaffey said. “It will be a great measuring stick for our team and program. We certainly wanted to have a tough nondistrict schedule.”
WEST FELICIANA-EAST FELICIANA: For the past two years they were District 7-3A partners that played in the regular-season finale.
With the move of East Feliciana to Class 2A the “Battle of the Felicianas” appeared in peril until being resolved and giving each team additional incentive in the season opener.
“This is a little more special because the only thing that separates the two parishes is Thompson Creek,” West Feliciana coach Robb Odom said. “There’s kinfolk on both sides. It’s hard to try and keep your kids focused because it’s about the football game. We wanted to keep the rivalry as long as both of us can.”
West Feliciana is coming off a 20-14 jamboree loss to Zachary in which first-year quarterback Ryan Reed accounted for both of his team’s touchdowns. Running back Kameron McKnight had 48 yards in East Feliciana’s 17-0 setback against Denham Springs.
“We wanted to make it work for both communities being we’re so close in proximity,” Anderson said. “We wanted to keep it going and hopefully we can continue the rivalry.”