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From the Sidelines

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 14, 1998

This Friday night is what high school football is all about.

Destrehan-East St. John. Riverside-St. Charles Catholic. Lutcher-St.James.

District titles. Playoff positioning. Bragging rights. You name it, it is onthe line Friday night.

And the excitement will not start at game time. No, for games of thismagnitude, it is a week-long event. Pep rallies. Tail-gate parties. If youare heading out to see one of these games, plan to leave early to get a parking spot. And if recent years are any indication, plan to stay latebecause each of these games could be decided at the wire.

Destrehan-East St. John. For the second straight season, this game couldhave a major hand in deciding the District 6-5A championship. Last year,Destrehan used five East St. John turnovers for a 63-14 victory. Destrehanwould go on to finish undefeated in district to capture its second straight district championship while East St. John finished second with that oneloss.

This season, both teams enter the game with 4-1 records. Destrehan onceagain leads the district with a 3-0 record while East St. John is 2-1.Destrehan is led by its rushing attack of Traun Smith, Karon Leobaux and Mitchell Smith and its defense that has not allowed a touchdown in the past two games. East St. John’s defense has also been tough, not allowingover 16 points in any game this season. The Wildcats’ offense is led byfirst-year quarterback Floyd Smith and his favorite target, Roydel Williams.

East St. John coach Ronnie Stephens put it best when he said in order to bechampions, you have to defeat the district champions. Friday night, wewill learn which Wildcat team emerges from the cat fight unscathed.

Riverside-St. Charles Catholic also has playoff implications. The Rebels,6-0 on the season, have already defeated one contender for the District 9- 2A title, West St. John, last week and are looking to pull into the driver’sseat with a win. A win by the Comets, who have won three straight afterstarting the season with three losses, would put them in a good position heading into a home game against West St. John next Friday. Riverside switched to the Wing-T formation this season and quarterback Joey Poirrier has guided it brilliantly. The Rebels’ weapons includerunning backs Casey Remondet, Brandon Delaneuville and Britt Waguespack and receiver Keith Leblanc. The Rebels’ defense looks like the 1996version, holding a solid West St. John team to six points a week ago.St. Charles Catholic has come on offensively and defensively the past twoweeks. The Comets’ offense is paced by running back Wayne Stein and thepass-catch combination of Nick Monica. The defense has continued to getbetter, pitching a shutout last week against Pine.

St. Charles Catholic is out to break a six-game losing streak to the Rebels.Last year, this game was not decided until the final second when the Comets’ game-tying field goal attempt sailed wide.

The Lutcher-St. James game is a match-up of two of the top teams in thestate in Class 3A. St. James comes into the game ranked third whileLutcher holds down the ninth spot. Both teams are 5-1 overall with St.James owning a District 10-3A victory in its quest to win a sixth straight district title.

Chad Jasmin and the St. James running attack lead the Wildcats while theSt. James defense has played solidly the whole season. That defense willbe tested by a versatile Lutcher offense featuring quarterback Thomas Ricks, running back Damian Ursin and wide receiver. The Lutcher defensehas been called one of its best in years.

The other two games on tap involving River Parishes teams, West St.

John-St. Martin’s and Hahnville-Central Lafourche, also have their ownstorylines. West St. John, coming off its first district loss in six years,will look to stay in the District 9-2A hunt. Hahnville will look to continueits best offensive output of the season last week and make a late-season push toward the playoffs.

So prepare those grills for the tail-gate parties. Friday night should be anexciting one on the river.

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