Which option is the best one?
That question is one of several to be answered when sixth-seeded West Feliciana hosts No. 10 Jennings for a Class 3A semifinal game.
The game showcases two option offenses. Jennings (10-2) uses the splitback veer, while West Feliciana (12-1) uses the triple option.
“They run that splitback veer and they hit the holes quick on every play,” WFHS coach Robb Odom said, "but they also run some good schemes off of it and can throw the ball. You’ve got to play assignment football. And if there’s one thing the option forces you to do, it’s play assignment football. We know that.”
There are facts fans of the schools know before the 7 p.m. Friday game at WFHS in St. Francisville. The host Saints have lost to the eventual 3A champion in the semifinal round the past three years. Jennings was a semifinalist in 2013 and seeks its first title-game berth since winning the 3A title in 1992.
Jennings defensive coordinator Ronnie McZeal was the star player when current Louisiana-Monroe coach Matt Viator was the Bulldogs’ head coach in 1992. The contrast? WFHS has never played in a title game.
“Everybody is good at this point, and they have a really good team,” Jennings coach Rusty Phelps said. “You look at their offensive line, they have several guys that have been playing three years. They have several offensive guys that turn around and play defense.
“We can’t give up explosive plays. Defensively, they are very good. They are fast. We are going to have to make our possessions count and play exceptional on special teams.”
The quarterbacks are the key to both option offenses. Jennings’ Kole Meyers has passed for 1,342 yards and 15 touchdowns. West Feliciana's Derek Turner has 1,259 passing yards and 17 TDs. Turner also has 720 rushing yards and 13 TDs.
Unlike a year ago when the Bulldogs relied on all-state running back Travis Etienne, now a standout at Clemson, there are two running backs with 638 yards each — Darrien Achane, Tyrik Sonnier.
West Feliciana's Davon Harris, a Louisiana Tech commitment, has 917 rushing yards, 452 receiving yards and 20 TDs.
There is another common thread. Both teams have managed to focus on each individual playoff challenge. While fans search for the path to semifinal success, West Feliciana’s Odom said it's no secret at all.
“It is about doing what you’ve been doing all year,” Odom said. “Execute a little better and don’t put any more pressure on yourself. This is the next football game and only one we have to worry about winning.”