Seven local teams still in post-season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005

ESJ, WSJ and Destrehan to play quarterfinals in front of home crowds


Sports Editor

Only one River Parish high school was eliminated in last Friday’s regional round of the 2005 football playoffs. And they lost to an in-town rival.

The elimination of St. James by St. Charles last week cut the number of local high schools in the championship hunt down to seven. The Comets win, coupled with victories by East St. John, West St. John, Riverside, Lutcher, Destrehan and Hahnville, leaves fans with a number of options as to whom to root for in the playoff picture. So let’s start from the beginning.

The only game that is sure to eliminate a team from the River Parishes is the Hahnville-ESJ match-up in Reserve this Friday. This game will be the third time that these two teams have faced each other this season, with Hahnville taking the first, a non-district jamboree game, and the Wildcats taking the second in week four. Hahnville is coming off of a 41-28 win over Slidell, while ESJ is coming off of a 45-7 route of Ruston. The key to this one looks to be on the offensive side of the ball as each of these teams has averaged 25 or more points a game. So watch for a shootout.

Destrehan, the third 5A team in the River Parishes, advanced with a 39-22 win over South Terrebone to face West Monroe’s Rebels in a home game. The high-octane Rebel offense is matched in potency only by thier defense as evident by the less than 11 points allowed on average this season. West Monroe hasn’t lost since the opening week to compile a 10-1 record, good for a number four seed. DHS quarterback Jai Eugene will have an uphill battle, but with a number five seed and a 10-1 record of their own, this could be an action-packed performance from both squads.

In the 3A quarterfinals, Lutcher will head to Baton Rouge to take on the sixth-ranked Redemptorist Wolves and their 10-1 record. With a 7-4 record and the number 19 seed, the Bulldogs offense will face a stiff opposition from a stingy defense. But Lutcher is on a five-game win streak and has competed with some tough 5A teams already this year. Then again, Redemptorist is on a streak of their own, having last lost in the opening game of the season. They are also undefeated at home, but Lutcher has already upset a higher-ranked opponent when they beat West St. Mary last week 27-17. They’ll have to bring their A-game if they’re planning on another upset.

In class 2A, Riverside recorded an 8-3 season record which is good for a seventh seed in the playoff bracket. But the Rebels will be the underdog when they hit the road to play powerhouse John Curtis, who own the second seed.

These two teams went head-to-head a month ago where Curtis held the Rebels to 168 yards of total offense while rolling up the passing yards in the second half en route to a 21-6 victory. This rematch will likely be another relatively low scoring affair as Curtis has allowed an average of 12 points per game while Riverside has given up just over 16 on average. The winner of this game should find some relief next week as they would be set to take on the winner of the B.T. Washington versus Benton game.

Also in local 2A, St. Charles has a good chance against evenly-matched Jonesboro-Hodge. Ranked a number 12 and 13 respectively, SCC and Jonesboro each come in to the game with nine wins and are both are coming off of last second victories. The Comets held off St. James last week for a 21-19 win while Jonesboro survived Pickering 20-19. Both teams stumbled late in the season before entering the playoffs, but have stepped up their play as of late. The major difference between these two is their area of expertise. Jonesboro has a high output offense averaging 34 points per game, while the Comets defense has been tough, giving up only 13 on average. Something here has to give.

Division 1A’s West St. John is set to face their most challening opponent in the post-sesason when they head out of town to play Opelousas Catholic. Though they dropped their first four games of the season, the Rams have righted their ship to win seven straight to earn the number 13 seed. Opelousas Catholic, with a 10-2 record, dispatched the twelfth seed last week when they shut out St Frederick 42-0. WSJ has survived single score wins in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but will have to leave it all on the field to hand Opelousas their first loss in two months.