West Feliciana rolls into state rankings

Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- West Feliciana coach Robb Odom, left, talks to quarterback Ryan Reed during a jamboree game Zachary. Show caption
Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- West Feliciana coach Robb Odom, left, talks to quarterback Ryan Reed during a jamboree game Zachary.

A playoff team in Class 3A six of the past seven years, West Feliciana has become a familiar name to followers of Louisiana high school football.

The Saints made a deep postseason push in 2010 before losing to Kenny Hilliard and Patterson in the state semifinals.

It took a while this season, but West Feliciana is back in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association state rankings this week for the first time. The Saints (5-1) broke in at No. 10 in the 3A poll Monday on the strength of four straight lopsided wins.

“Hopefully we’re getting better,” coach Robb Odom said. “That’s what it’s about. All we can control is how our team plays and if we keep improving.”

Dutchtown (5-1) was the other Baton Rouge-area team to debut in the rankings this week. The Griffins are 10th in the 5A poll, one spot behind District 5-5A rival East Ascension.

The Griffins will meet the Spartans in a potential top-10 intra-parish showdown Oct. 25 but first travel to Catholic, which fell out of the rankings after losing to St. Amant.

Other teams from the area to appear in the polls Monday include Plaquemine, down three spots to No. 8 in 4A after losing to Zachary.

The arrival of West Feliciana gives the Baton Rouge area four teams in the 3A poll.

University remained No. 1 after winning a shootout with Parkview Baptist, which fell two spots to No. 8. Livonia moved up one spot to No. 7 in the same poll.

The Saints finish the regular season with trips into Baton Rouge and 7-3A matchups with University and Parkview, in that order. But if you think West Feliciana is looking ahead, Odom said you’re mistaken.

“We’re not good enough to look ahead,” he said. “If we look ahead, we’re going to get beat.”

Recent results make it evident the Saints are focused on the task at hand.

While the team’s veteran defense has continued to hold opponents in check, a much less experienced offense has begun to gel. West Feliciana has averaged 45.5 points in its past four games after averaging 21 points in its first two.

The Saints suffered their lone setback in a 34-28 decision against Franklin Parish in Week 2 but have outscored opponents 182-48 since.

Friday’s 58-20 victory over Glen Oaks moved West Feliciana to 2-0 in district play.

“We talk about it all the time,” Odom said. “What can we do today to make ourselves a better football team? It’s a process. You can’t cheat the process.”