LAFAYETTE — With Teurlings Catholic’s win over De La Salle and St. Thomas More taking care of E.D. White, the Rebels and Cougars are about to play for a chance to reach the Division II select playoff final.
For Rebels coach Sonny Charpentier, he has been a part of the Teurlings and STM rivalry for many years, and he admitted it will be difficult to treat this one just like the rest of them.
“You try to get in the mode where you live to play another week,” Charpentier said. “It will be one of those gems where you play a familiar opponent and a rival and all that good stuff. The most important thing is that you’re trying to take that next step to where you’ve never been before. That is the thing you are focused on — trying to play well.”
Neither STM nor Teurlings has been to a state final and the familiar foes already played a thriller earlier in the year — a 42-28 Rebels win in a . The destination for the game is unknown — possibly being played at Louisiana-Lafayette’s Cajun Field.
Charpentier said none of that matters, and he knows beating a really good football team is difficult enough but doing it twice in one season presents all new challenges.
“We understand that challenge, and we are going to have to play well,” Charpentier said. “I don’t think the first game has anything to do with this game. It was a close ballgame all the way to the end and home field or where you play has anything to do with it, especially in this case.”
Charpentier said playing a familiar opponent this late in the season can be a good thing because the familiarity with the opponent affords the coaching staff more time to focus on game planning.
“Sometimes in the playoffs, the opponent is unfamiliar and you have to do a lot of digging and a lot of phone calls and those things to get a good feel,” Charpentier said. “St. Thomas More being in our district, we know what they’re going to do, and we might just have to tweak a little bit. I don’t want to say you don’t have to prepare, because you do, but I’m sure they feel the same way about us.
“By this point in the season, you are what you are and you just have to go out there and play and hope it’s good enough.”
Charpentier said he knows this one game will be a big one, but the winner of it will not be resting on its laurels. He said the misconception may be that getting to the Superdome for a state final is the end goal, but he assured that is not the case.
“It’s always good for a Lafayette team to get to move on and play for a state championship,” he said. “For our guys, it’s just the next step to winning a state championship. Some people get confused that you’re goal may be to get to the Dome and you’re satisfied. Believe me, our team — and I’m sure Jim (Hightower) would say the same thing — our goal is not go get there, our goal is to get there and win it.
“It takes two more games to win it. It’s not a one-game deal here. We are playing for a chance to play another week and win a state championship.”