Notre Dame might have dropped to Class 2A this season ,but the Pioneers certainly haven’t backed down from scheduling aggressively.
Notre Dame faced Class 4A’s No. 3 St. Thomas More in back-to-back weeks, first in a scrimmage and then in a jamboree victory over the Cougars, before taking down defending District 3-4A champion LaGrange 24-6 in last week’s season opener.
Notre Dame (1-0) continues the second part of a three-week stretch of Class 4A teams with a road trip to Breaux Bridge (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“You want to play good people early,” Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook said. “That’s the best way to find out if you’re going to be good or not. There’s a lot of positives about it. We’ll be a better team after going through those three weeks.”
The Acadiana area also features a contrast in games with Kaplan (1-0) visiting Class 1A’s No. 3 Vermilion Catholic (1-0) in Abbeville for the first time in school history, while Eunice (1-0) travels to Jennings (1-0) to meet the Bulldogs for the 21st straight season.
“They called a couple of years looking for a game,” Kaplan coach Stephen Lotief said. “We told each other to try to schedule each other, and it worked out.”
The Eunice-Jennings series gained notoriety when the Bobcats, then coached by Johnny Bourque, defeated Jennings 16-13 for the Class 3A state title in 1982.
“They haven’t taken that loss lightly,” Eunice coach Paul Trosclair quipped. “They always get up for us.”
NOTRE DAME-BREAUX BRIDGE: Notre Dame hosts longtime rival Teurlings Catholic next week before embarking on the start of District 5-2A play at home against Opelousas Catholic.
Notre Dame overcame five first-half turnovers to build a 17-0 halftime lead over LaGrange. Cook said other than a 50-yard gain his defense kept the Gators’ top running back — Markell Hawthorne — under wraps with 80 total yards rushing.
The Pios, who return standout safety Hayden Bourgeois, have relied on the nucleus of tackle Paul Guidry, along with ends Trey Vautrot and Jake Reiners, to give the Pios a solid front.
“We lost three starters but we had some maturity there,” Cook said. “We’ve had some older kids step in and do a good job.”
KAPLAN-VERMILION CATHOLIC: The first meeting between two of Vermilion Parish’s most successful programs is a contrast in styles.
The Eagles like to spread the field and throw the ball with senior quarterback Hunter Frith taking advantage of a corps of solid receivers in Tyler Derouen, Emile Trahan and Devren Constantine.
Kaplan prefers its methodical Wing T approach that relies on a strong offensive line to pave the way for their pair of 1,000-yard rushers from a year ago: fullback Julius Johnson and wingback Grant Fricke.
In last week’s season-opening 44-7 win over Abbeville, Fricke led the way with 12 carries for 150 yards, while Johnson added 110 yards and a TD on 20 carries.
“Our best defense is our offense,” Lotief said. “We want to take time off the clock, keep them on the sideline and wear them down. That’s our best defense and then they come in and get a three-and-out and turn it back over to us.”
EUNICE-JENNINGS: Trosclair expects to get a truer picture of his team after Eunice opened with a 48-0 win over Opelousas, jumping out to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Alex Richard passed for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while running back Nick Powell rushed for 98 yards and a TD and Avery Lee added 75 yards and a score on six attempts.
The Bobcats also added touchdowns from Deshawn Vigers on a 46-yard interception return and Travis Godfrey on a 42-yard punt return.
“Those guys play real hard and when the game’s over, we shake hands and move on,” Trosclair said of Jennings. “There’s been some crazy things over the years that have happened, but we’ve never had any animosity. It’s always been a good game that’s made money. It’s what high school football should be about.”