Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bi-district playoff matchups set as all eight River Parish teams qualify


Sports Editor

Nobody can accuse the River Parishes of lacking in football talent.

All eight local football teams qualified for the postseason and will kick it off in the opening bi-district round on Friday night.

Some, like Destrehan and Hahnville, started off hot and maintained their momentum all season. Others, like West St. John and East St. John, appeared to be in a lot of trouble after four weeks but rebounded in a big way.

Here are Friday’s local matchups.

5A: No. 21 Barbe (6-4) @ No. 12 East St. John (6-4)- East St. John — Coach Larry Dauterive has seen his team steadily improve as the season has gone on, finding first a running game, then his defense, and now a passing game energized by the emergence of new quarterback Andre Millet. East St. John will need it against Barbe, a team that Dauterive says is just the latest in a string of tough draws that’s seen the Wildcats face three teams in the top ten in 5A and three defending state champions.

“This has been a dog fight every time out,” said Dauterive. “Barbe has a good, young quarterback, and three good wide receivers. They’re 6-4 and played a number of quality teams, just like us.”

But Dauterive says that he knows his team is ready.

“I’m encouraged by their focus in how they practice,” he said. “They see the finality of it. If you lose, you’re done, and it’s basketball season.”

3A: No. 21 West Feliciana (5-5) @ No. 12 St. Charles (7-3) – The Comets draw a 12 seed as it attempts to make the state championship game for the third straight season, this time in Class 3A after two appearances in class 2A.

St. Charles will have to be ready for the two quarterback system that West Feliciana employs, as well as a great deal of team speed.

“It’s a very, very scary team for us to draw,” said St. Charles Coach Frank Monica. “They have a wealth of talent, a dominant defensive line, and a very, very fast secondary. This is one of the most talented teams we will have faced.”

But West Feliciana’s defense will be tested early and often by a St. Charles offense that has found its stride. Running back Jonathan Cancienne is coming off a 200 yard rushing night, while Vincent Rollo passed for three touchdown’s in Friday night’s win over Plaquemine. St. Charles has won four straight games.

A St. Charles win coupled with a Lutcher win in the first round would see the District 9-3A rivals go head to head in round two.

2A: No. 22 Riverside (6-4) @ No. 11 Spring Hill (7-3) – Riverside has racked up the points in the past three weeks, scoring 42, 55 and 62 points and showcasing a red hot offense.

Riverside has won two straight games, but will have to win one on the road over a strong Spring Hill team. Rebels’ Coach Mickey Roussel says that his team has seen the best of the best this season, after playing district foes like St. James and John Curtis, and will be ready.

“We’re very battle tested,” said Roussel. “If you can survive this district, what you see in the playoffs is what you’ve seen during the year. We will be able to see where we’re at.”

1A: No. 20 Acadiana Prep (7-2) @ No. 13 West St. John (5-5) – West St. John, fresh off clinching a district title Thursday, are the red hot winners of five straight games. After starting 0-5, nobody has challenged the Rams lately, as they’ve won by scores of 24-19, 34-0, 56-6, 33-8 and 36-8 in their last five games – and wins.

Rams Coach Laury Dupont says his team has seen its confidence level go up, and is certainly ready for the game.

“These kids are excited,” Dupont said. “They know it’s playoff time. It’s win or go home, every single game.”

Class 5A – No. 32 West Jefferson (5-5) @ No. 1 Destrehan (10-0); No. 22 Huntington (6-3) @ No. 11 Hahnville (8-2); Class 3A – No. 28 Catholic, NI (5-5) @ No. 5 Lutcher (8-1); Class 2A – No. 31 Livonia (6-4) @ No. 2 St. James (8-2).