Teurlings Catholic may not be facing Calvary Baptist with its returning all-state quarterback or the head coach that led them to consecutive Division III state championships.
However, the Rebels, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, are still cognizant of the challenge the Cavaliers, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, present in Friday’s home opener at 7 p.m.
“We know it won’t be a cakewalk, and we’re preparing for that,” said Teurlings Catholic coach Sonny Charpentier, who begins his 21st season at the school. “They’ve got a lot of talent, and they’re used to winning.”
The scope of the challenge is similar to what’s facing Northside when the Vikings meet two-time reigning Class 5A state champion Acadiana at Bill Dotson Stadium at 7 p.m.
“I look forward to the day when we establish our program at a level where people aren’t looking at me crazy when I tell them we’re opening up with Acadiana,” Northside coach Trev Faulk said. “They’ve been the gold standard as one of the premier programs in the state. To be able to open up with them, you get to find out a lot about yourself early on.”
The Acadiana area also features matchups with Sulphur at Class 4A No. 4 St. Thomas More, Church Point visiting Acadia Parish rival Rayne and Abbeville traveling to Vermilion Parish rival Kaplan.
CALVARY-TEURLINGS: One of the more compelling matchups features one of the state’s top quarterbacks in Teurlings’ Cole Kelley, an Arkansas commitment, facing off against a Calvary secondary that boasts three Division I commitments in Andraez Williams (LSU), Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma State) and Chanse Sylvie (Oklahoma).
“We’ve played against guys who are as good as these guys,” Charpentier said of Calvary’s secondary. “But we haven’t played against that many at one time.”
Ole Miss quarterback commitment Shea Patterson transferred from Calvary’s program to IMG Academy in July. That’s resulted in former wide receiver Jake Bartley, a senior, taking over at quarterback.
The Cavaliers are also without fifth-year coach John Bachman, who took a voluntary leave of absence last week before a 35-13 jamboree win over Union Parish.
“We’re going to do what we want to try to do,” Charpentier said. “We’ve got to be smart about it; attack certain people in certain areas at certain times.”
NORTHSIDE-ACADIANA: Northside’s not the only team to have encountered difficulty when it’s come to trying to solve Acadiana’s dominance, which includes four state championships under coach Ted Davidson.
But when it came to whether to maintain their season-opening series, the Vikings opted to take another crack at the Wrecking Rams for the next two years.
“I’m guess I’m kind of stubborn that way,” Faulk said. “I have the mentality I’ve always had: I want to play the best people that are out there and figure out what it is I need to do to get to their level.”
Both teams scored jamboree wins; Acadiana beat Cecilia 27-6, while Northside defeated Jennings 14-6.
Acadiana’s senior middle linebacker Kevin Moore returned an interception for a touchdown, and quarterback Myles Hutchinson passed for a score to tight end Javonis Isaac, an Arkansas State commitment.
Northside’s first-year starting quarterback Markaylon Byrd threw a touchdown to Mark Bonnet, while running back Taveon Leary scored his team’s winning TD on a 1-yard run in the game’s final two minutes.
“We did a better job of scoring and creating some turnovers on defense,” Faulk said. “We did a good job of covering kicks and punts and we ran the ball better.
“Our quarterback’s a first-year guy, so each week we’re hoping to see progress and get him a little more comfortable every day.”