“I think the kids on both teams are excited about this one. Episcopal is definitely the best team we’ve played since St. Stanislaus, and we need to play our best game. We don’t feel like we’ve played a complete game yet. This would be a good time to put it all together.” Guy mistretta, Dunham coach
When University High moved to Class 3A, Class 2A football fans pondered two obvious questions.
Who would be the favorite to succeed U-High as the champion in the revamped District 6-2A? And who would become Episcopal’s primary 2A city rival?
The answer to both questions could be revealed Thursday night as Episcopal (6-0, 2-0) hosts The Dunham School (5-1, 3-0) in a 6-2A game set for 7 p.m.
“I don’t think anything will be decided because you still have three games left,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “We both beat East Feliciana, the team everybody picked in the preseason. But we both still have to play Capitol, and we still have to play at Northeast.
“What I think we both expect is a good high school game. The kids know each other, so I think there is sort of a bond there.
“We’ve been playing well, and so have they.”
The game is one of two involving 6-2A teams. Capitol (4-2, 2-0) travels to Northeast (3-3, 1-1) for another crucial 6-2A game set for 5 p.m. A disagreement over when the game would be played was resolved Wednesday following a meeting with Louisiana High School Athletic Association assistant executive director B.J. Guzzardo.
In 1A, Christian Life (5-1, 1-0) travels to Varnado for a 6 p.m. game.
Episcopal and U-High started out as Class 1A rivals and then both moved to 2A. Dunham bounced between 1A and 2A, but has been a regular in 2A now for several years. The schools developed an intense basketball and baseball rivalry in recent years, so adding football to that mix seems like the perfect fit.
Dunham has won five straight since losing its opener to St. Stanislaus (Miss). Quarterback Jyron Walker has passed for 1,413 yards and 17 touchdowns. Drake Davis leads the Tigers in receiving with 23 catches for 560 yards and eight TDs.
Unbeaten Episcopal relies more on its ground game. Running back Clement Mubungirwa has 705 rushing yards and 12 touchdownss for the Knights.
“I think the kids on both teams are excited about this one,” Dunham coach Guy Mistretta said. “Episcopal is definitely the best team we’ve played since St. Stanislaus, and we need to play our best game.
“We don’t feel like we’ve played a complete game yet. This would be a good time to put it all together.”
Bourgeois said he believes the outcome of the game may hinge on each team’s passing game.
“We have to eliminate or limit their big plays,” Bourgeois said. “Dunham has had at least two or more touchdowns of over 50 yards in every game. We’ve got to keep them in front of us and make tackles in the open field.
“When we’re on offense, we’ve got to be able to run the ball and throw it more than we have been in order to keep the chains moving. And we’ve got to score when we get the chance.”
CAPITOL AT NORTHEAST: The teams agreed to play at 5 p.m. Thursday, ending a dispute over whether the game would be played Thursday or Friday.
Northeast moved the game to Thursday in early September, citing the fact that East Baton Rouge Parish schools will not be in session on Friday. Without school in session, Northeast said it would be difficult to get all the needed volunteers in place.
Capitol balked at the notion of playing Thursday, noting that the road game would force its players and fans to return home late on a school night if the game started at 7 p.m.
After meeting with Guzzardo at the LHSAA office on Wednesday, the schools agreed on a 5 p.m. start.
“The important thing is that we get the game played,” NHS coach David Masterson said.