Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook realizes the quantum leap his team is about to make in Friday’s Division III select quarterfinals.
A week after a 41-point victory No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0) hosts No. 6 Calvary Baptist Academy (9-2), the two-time Division III state champion, at at 7 p.m. at Gardiner Memorial Stadium in Crowley.
“We know it’s a huge challenge when you play the two- time defending champ,” Cook said. “We’ve got to try to set the tempo, make it physical, play our game and do the things that we do and hope it’s going to be good enough.”
Notre Dame-Calvary is among the marquee home matchups among Acadiana area select schools.
No. 2 St. Thomas More (8-2) opens the playoffs in Division II quarterfinal action after a first-round bye and hosts No. 7 E.D. White (6-4). Division IV quarterfinals include No. 2 Vermilion Catholic (9-2) entertaining No. 7 Delhi Charter (8-3) and No. 3 Central Catholic-Morgan City (10-1) hostingNo. 6 Southern Lab (7-3).
“I’ve had byes before,” STM coach Jim Hightower said. “You never know how it’s going to fit your team. We’ll be playing somebody that already has a playoff game under their belt.”
Top-seeded Ascension Episcopal (10-1) will appear in its second straight Division IV quarterfinal when the Blue Gators travel to Ruston to face No. 9 Cedar Creek (7-4).
“It’s part of it, and you’ve got to be able to win on the road in the playoffs,” AES coach Mike Desormeaux said. “You’re going to have to play someone tough on the road, and this is it.”
CALVARY AT NOTRE DAME: Calvary will match its offense that averages 348 yards against a rugged Notre Dame defense that’s permitting four points and 84 yards per outing.
Senior Jake Bartley has completed 105 of 170 passes for 1,698 yards with 17 TDs and three interceptions. Sophomore running back Kordavian Washington (127-991, 19 TDs) is the team’s leading rusher.
The Cavaliers also feature a talented secondary with three players — Andreaz “Greedy” Williams (LSU), Chanse Sylvie (Oklahoma) and Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma State) — all committed to Power 5 conference schools.
“When we’re on offense, it’s going to be a matter of trying to keep some balance,” Cook said. “I’m sure they’re going to gear up to stop the run. We have to be able to mix it up.”
Collin Kirsch (57-470, six TDs), Gabe Petry (66-438, three TDs), Joe Faulk (79-415, six TDs) and Lance Bertrand (40-356, nine TDs) form a balanced rushing attack with Faulk, the quarterback, having passed for 883 yards and 14 TDs.
E.D. WHITE AT ST. THOMA MORE: E.D. White advanced with a 35-17 home win over Loyola Prep, following the lead of Brandon Legendre, who scored on a 63-yard run and 96-yard kickoff return.
Senior quarterback Will Bellamy leads STM’s offense, having passed for 1,941 yards and 29 TDs. Trevor Begue (56-949, 16 TDs) serves as his top target.
Running back Evan Trahan (107-766, 8 TDs) leads the Cougars in rushing.
“We’ve been good most all season about being ready to play,” Hightower said. “I feel good with where we are and where we’re heading.”
ASCENSION EPISCOPAL AT CEDAR CREEK: Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback commitment Jake Arceneaux leads AES’ offense, having passed for 2,065 yards and 22 TDs. He’s also rushed 46 times for 321 yards and five scores.
Running back Ja’Ciery Linzer tops AES in rushing with 140 carries for 1,104 yards and 17 TDs.
Desormeaux said the play of his defense, in particular defensive ends Peyton Adams and Sam Lofton, was of paramount importance in last week’s 21-7 win over No. 16 St. Frederick. Adams is the team’s second-leading tackler with 63 stops, trailing only Andre Roth (69 tackles).
“We didn’t play bad at all, but we weren’t clicking on all cylinders on offense and those things happen,” Desormeaux said. “When one unit’s down, the other guys have to step up and they did.”