The ties that bind the Cecilia and Breaux Bridge football programs are almost as close as the five-mile stretch of Interstate 10 that separates their communities in St. Martin Parish.

Start with the head coaches for the teams. Cecilia’s Terry Martin and Paul Broussard of Breaux Bridge served as the offensive and defensive coordinators on the same Breaux Bridge staff for 11 years under Mike Mowad.

“I’m still friends with Paul,” Martin said.

Former Breaux Bridge player Brian Ellender coached with Martin at Cecilia until returning to coach at his alma mater this year.

There are also countless friendships, and in some cases kinships, shared on both sides that will be pushed aside Friday when Breaux Bridge (5-3, 2-1) visits Cecilia (7-1, 3-0) at 7 p.m. in a key District 5-4A encounter.

“We’re friends that coached together, and Terry’s a very good coach,” Broussard said. “The rivalry goes back way before we coached here. It’s something we inherited. It’s not a rivalry of two coaches that used to coach together; it’s more Cecilia-Breaux Bridge no matter who the coaches are.”

No. 3 Teurlings (6-2, 3-0) visits Carencro (5-3, 2-1) with an opportunity to gain a share of the District 4-4A championship in another matchup highlighting the Acadiana area.

It’s difficult to surpass the intrigue surrounding the Breaux Bridge-Cecilia game, especially with both still in position to win the district championship.

“I understand it’s Breaux Bridge, but that’s not how we’re going to approach it,” Martin said. “It’s more about what do we have to do to get better. Whoever we play is whoever we play.”

Martin said he’s seen glimpses of the veteran-type team he envisioned when the season began.

Cecilia rolled through its first two opponents — Comeaux and Northside — until suffering its lone setback, a dramatic 50-49 home loss to No. 2 Crowley.

The Bulldogs are riding a five-game win streak, including a combined score of 90-7 in league victories over Abbeville and Westgate.

Should Cecilia defeat Breaux Bridge, they would travel to St. Martinville (5-3, 2-0) next week where the district’s outright championship would be on the line.

“For us it’s traditionally been a tough game because they play so well on defense,” Martin said of Breaux Bridge. “They may have settled on what they want to do, so they’re improving on offense.”

Offensively, Cecilia has flourished behind the combination of running back Raymond Calais Jr. and quarterback Landon Roberts.

Calais is the state’s fourth-leading rusher with 173 carries for 1,634 yards and 19 TDs.

When opponents have crowded the line of scrimmage to try to contain Calais, Roberts has loosened up defenses, completing 52 of 97 passes for 1,237 yards and 17 TDs.

Wide receivers Kenya Dartez (29-884, 10 touchdowns) and Rusty Robin (15-281, seven TDs) are the Bulldogs top two targets.

Breaux Bridge would love nothing more than to finish its regular season (they have an open date next week) with a win over its archrival and create a possible three-way tie for the district title.

Sophomore running back Logan Bossier rushed for 130 yards and two TDs in last week’s 27-10 victory over Westgate, improving his season totals to 73 carries for 314 yards and three TDs.

Ruben Hypolite also returned from a three-week absence because of injury, and combined with quarterback Julian Leon (34 of 67, 421 yards, three TDs), have been a boost to the Tigers’ offense that’s averaged 28 points in their last two wins.

“We didn’t come ready to play against St. Martinville, and they did,” Broussard said of his team’s 13-6 defeat. “You’re going to get beat if you’re going through the motions in a rivalry game. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson that you have to show up each week.”