The Livonia football team returned 16 starters from a team that last year went 11-3 and advanced to the Class 3A semifinals.
But when the Louisiana Sports Writers Association preseason prep polls were released earlier this month, the Wildcats were outside the top 10, bunched with a group of teams merely receiving votes.
Two straight wins to start the season has gotten the voters’ attention. The latest rankings released Monday had Livonia debuting at No. 9 in the 3A poll, an honor coach David Brewerton said the Wildcats don’t take lightly.
“A lot of coaches shy away from it,” Brewerton said. “I welcome it. I see it as a reward for all the hard work the kids put in.”
Other movement in the polls this week saw Springfield debuting at No. 10 in 2A and Plaquemine, which entered the year at No. 9 in the 4A rankings, reappearing at No. 10 after a 30-20 victory over Brusly. University High and Parkview Baptist remained third and sixth in 3A, and Catholic High jumped one spot to No. 5 in 5A.
White Castle debuted at No. 9 in 1A, one spot ahead of the Pointe Coupee Central team Livonia beat Friday.
That Livonia needed wins over Live Oak and PC Central to find its way into the rankings was something of a mystery, but Brewerton said the team’s somewhat-remote locale can make it easy for the Wildcats to be overlooked.
Besides, the arrival of former 2A heavyweights John Curtis, Evangel and U-High made the 3A poll tougher to crack.
“We can control what we can control, and we can’t control what we can’t,” Brewerton said. “It’s just one of those things. I think if the kids were inexperienced and expected to be there, it could have had a negative effect on us. They just go play the game.”
Livonia travels to Port Allen this week looking to keep alive its unbeaten start.
Running back Russell Farris has put together back-to-back 100-yard games to lead the Wildcats. Quarterback Kerry Savoy threw four touchdown passes against Live Oak in the opener.
Plaquemine’s return to the 4A rankings came on the same day the Green Devils learned defensive end Davon Godchaux will be sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Godchaux is one of the top college prospects in the state and -— in coach Paul Distefano’s opinion -— the main reason Plaquemine entered the year on the mind of LSWA voters.
“I think the attention may have come to us because we have a highly touted D-I recruit,” he said. “A lot of it probably had to do with the hype around Davon and everything. But I’ve seen some teams that last year did really well that aren’t in those rankings. I just know we have to get so much better. We have a lot of things to work on.”
Plaquemine welcomes an improved Woodlawn team to Green Devil Stadium on Friday.
Istrouma and Christian Life Academy notched victories in games that were postponed from Friday to Sunday. CLA shut out East Iberville 34-0, and Istrouma (1-1) defeated Madison Prep 26-20.
Christian Life (2-0) took control by scoring 14 points in the first quarter and 17 in the second.
Quarterback Jacob Williams ran for two TDs, scoring on runs of 6 and 2 yards.
He also completed 9 of 16 passes for 102 yards, including scoring passes of 20 and 25 yards to Malik Harrison.
Dameoin Lee added field goals of 30 and 32 yards. EIHS (0-2) had 78 yards of offense.