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West Feliciana's Hunter Gonzales (28) celebrates with Derek Turner (8) after Turner returned an interception for a touchdown during West Feliciana's home football game against University High on Friday, Sept. 23.

Advocate photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA

We’ve learned a whole lot about local teams during the first eight weeks of the high school football regular season. Some teams have been big winners and others, well not so much.

Do not sleep on the final two weeks, because you may miss something important.

Some of the area’s top district matchups, like last Friday’s Catholic-St. Amant game, are in the books. There is plenty to play for as teams jockey for position in one of the LHSAA’s nine playoff brackets.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that West Feliciana at Parkview Baptist is the highest-profile game of Week 9. WFHS is unbeaten, and Parkview is a defending state champion.

No, it doesn’t get any bigger than that, especially since the winner clinches at least a share of the District 6-3A title.

There are only so many things a high school football coach in Louisiana can control. And the LHSAA’s power ratings system isn’t exactly one of them.

Sure, winning as many games as possible always helps. But strength of schedule and how the other teams on your schedule do each week is also important.

So in addition to taking care of business on the field, coaches keep a watchful eye on how everyone else does.

A big win, coupled with wins by opponents, might be enough to push a team high enough to host a playoff game instead of going on the road. The LHSAA won’t update its most recent power rankings until Wednesday, and they’ll be worth a look.

Winning out over the final two weeks of the season is still crucial. I’ll cite District 4-5A rivals Walker High and Denham Springs High as examples. They meet Friday at Walker.

Walker (6-2) has clinched its first winning season in 5A and has never made the 5A playoffs. The Wildcats’ last playoff appearance was in 2001 in 4A. WHS was 19th last week before losing to Scotlandville. Denham Springs (3-4) looks to keep its current playoff streak alive and sat at No. 28 in last week’s power rankings before a loss to Central.

Central (5-3) was 22nd and could improve its playoff stock with a win over defending state champion Zachary (6-2). Live Oak (5-3) could do likewise with an upset of unbeaten Scotlandville (8-0).

There are other considerations, including Madison Prep’s shift to nonselect and McKinley’s move to select in last month’s reconfiguration of schools. Madison Prep is fourth in 2A and McKinley 10th in Division I.

How much power rankings movement happens over the next two weeks remains to be seen. There could be very little in some cases. But like the season itself, it's not over yet.

Few changes

There were few changes in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association polls this week. After its 31-28 loss to Catholic High, St. Amant (7-1) dropped one spot in Class 5A to 10th.

Catholic (8-0) remains second in 5A, Southern Lab (6-1) is second in 1A and West Feliciana (8-0) is third in 3A. Madison Prep (8-0) is third and Dunham (7-1) is 10th in 2A, while Ascension Catholic (6-2) is seventh in 1A.

Despite big wins last week, Parkview (5-3) of 3A and Plaquemine (5-3) of 4A remain outside the top 10.

Jones recovering

Woodlawn High’s Braylyn Jones was back at school Monday but is expected to miss the Panthers’ Friday game with St. Michael after suffering a neck injury that cut last week’s Plaquemine-Woodlawn game short.

Jones was taken from the field in an ambulance but was cleared to come home at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Woodlawn coach Daniel Luquet.

“He was numb for between 30 seconds to about a minute and a half,” Luquet said. “It was a stinger and he got the feeling back, but it was important for him to be checked out."

Fussell honored

Congratulations to Assumption High volleyball coach Sandy Fussell, who received the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Casey Kozminski award during the Mustangs’ senior-day festivities on Monday.

The Kozminski award is given annually to a coach or administrator who works to promote not only their team, but also their sport. Fussell fits the bill.

Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter, @FambroughAdv