Possibilities abound for the Acadiana area’s two Class 3A football districts.
As usual, traditional power Notre Dame-Crowley figures to be in the heart of the action.
The Pioneers of coach Lewis Cook finished 13-1 and lost to eventual state champion advanced to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Parkview Baptist.
In a revamped District 4-3A, Cook’s squad will square off will be squaring off against local rival Crowley High, Iowa, Jennings, South Beauregard and Westlake. Jennings moves down from Class 4A.
The league features its own kind of star power, thanks to Crowley running back Davante Bourque, an LSU commitment, and three notable coaches - Cook, Tommy Tate of Crowley, and Max Caldarera of Westlake.
Meanwhile, the new look 5-3A includes a glimpse of something familiar to Baton Rouge area fans.
Livonia High, a member of Baton Rouge area districts in recent years, moves into 5-3A and is rated among the league’s favorites.
Eunice is the preseason favorite, followed by Port Barre, a team that moves up from Class 2A. Livonia gets the nod for the No. 3 spot. Church Point, Northwest and Rayne complete the list of 5-3A teams.
“That district is pretty neat when you break down the teams,” Cook said of 4-3A. “You’ve got four of the six teams in the district - Crowley, us, Jennings and Westlake that have all played for and/or won state titles.
“It says a lot about the tradition the schools have. It also makes it fun and interesting when we play each other.”
Bourque ran for 2,310 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior after transferring from Gueydan, where he earned Class 1A all-state honors in 2009.
Crowley’s Tate is a former McNeese State head coach. Cook, who has coached at both Crowley and Notre Dame along with stints at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has a career record of 267-70.
Westlake’s Calderera (203-160) is the newest member of Louisiana’s 200 wins club.
By comparison, 5-3A doesn’t have the star power 4-3A offers. Thanks to the addition of newcomers Livonia and Port Barre, the race to a district title should be anything but the same old grind.
“I know Livonia used to have a great rivalry with Port Barre and we’re looking forward to rekindling that,” Brewerton said. “And I know Eunice is a solid program year in and year out.
“This will be interesting for me. All my experience is in Baton Rouge. But I think this move, going west toward Lafayette, is going to be like a breath of fresh air.”
Even though his team is considered to be the 4-3A favorite, Notre Dame’s Cook enters the season with his share of concerns.
Tackle Cole Reiners is the lone returning offensive line starter for the Pioneers because Jake Melancon has moved to linebacker.
Senior quarterback Waylon Young and tight end Brandon Sonnier are the only other offensive starters back for ND.
Another senior, defensive back DJ Petitjohn, is back to help lead the Pioneers’ 4-3 defense. Linebacker Connor Goss, safety Austin Bordelon and tackle Paul LaCroix also return.
Bourque is one of four returning starters for Crowley on offense. Andre Mills will be a first-year starter at quarterback.
Linebackers Chris Wilson and Brady Deshotel should help lead the Gents on defense.
Caldarera’s Westlake squad also has four starters back on offense, including tailback Devin Eaglin and quarterback Ryan Feagin. The Rams return seven starters on defense, led by linebacker Latrell Martin.
South Breauregard is coming off a 10-1 season in Class 2A going into its stint in 4-3A. Tight end Bryce Hebert was an all-district performer on offense for the Golden Knights and also plays on the defensive line. Linebacker Silas Whalley is another key performer for SBHS.
Iowa, looking to improve its 3-7 finish of 2010, has 11 starters back. Wide receiver Mason Ceasar was a first-team all-district performer for the Yellow Jackets.
Coach Paul Trosclair’s Eunice squad brings 10 returning regulars to the table for its season in the new look 5-3A.
The Bobcats return their entire offensive backfield, including quarterback Trenon Trosclair to run the Wing-T. Cornerback Travis Woods led EHS in interceptions a year ago.
Livonia was 2-8 last season while competing in District 8-3A. Brewerton’s Wildcats will be led by 14 returning starters.
Quarterback Mason Torres, an all-state baseball player, passed for nearly 2,000 in the spread offense. Tight end Brandon Armand, another all-stater in baseball, is a top target.
Running back Mark Lewis is getting some looks from college recruiters and is also a mainstay on defense at linebacker.
Three offensive linemen - tackles Taylor Moresi and Beau Baker along with guard Brock Latiolais - are back to help lead Church Point. The Bears’ top tackler in 2010, linebacker Trevor Breaux (71 tackles), returns to power the defense.
Rayne’s hopes for improving on a 3-7 mark from 2010 rest with running back Brody Bourque, who ran for 1,045 yards and 12 TDs, netting all-district honors. Defensive back Dannie Harmon is a key returnee on defense.