Three weeks before they embark on District 4-5A play Central and Zachary understand the task of getting prepared for the start of league action.
That both teams are hosting Class 2A schools in their next-to-last nondistrict games Friday at 7 p.m. — St. Charles Catholic (2-1) travels to Central (3-0); Calvary Baptist (2-1) visits Zachary (2-1) becomes more about a mindset than an enrollment number.
“When we decided to play, I knew we were getting a high quality opponent and a class program,” Central coach Sid Edwards said. “To the naked eye, people may say, ‘Oh, they’re playing a 2A team.’ It’s a heck of a program.”
Zachary maintains a similar refrain. The Broncos, who won their first Class 5A state championship in a 14-1 season a year ago, suffered their only loss (42-28) at Calvary Baptist.
“It’s not really a revenge game because it’s two completely different teams,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “It’s an opportunity to play against somebody that’s good, well-coached and does things the right way. It’s another tremendous experience for our young kids.”
ST. CHARLES AT CENTRAL: Former Tulane assistant Frank Monica, who was also a head coach at Lutcher, Riverside and Jesuit, has built St. Charles into one of the state’s most successful programs.
Monica is the state’s sixth active winningest coach with a record of 232-72-0. He is 29th overall on the wins list and is in his 25th season.
The Comets, who won the Class 3A state title in 2011 and were Division III semifinalists last season, already own a 22-19 win over Class 5A Thibodaux. They lost 14-10 at Class 4A Vanderbilt last week.
A year ago, St. Charles broke open a 14-all game with superior special teams play en route to a 56-20 victory over Central.
“They’ve got 22 starters and so do we, so those numbers are even,” Edwards said. “This team is different than the three we’ve played. You almost have to match perfection with perfection or you’re going to get caught.”
Running back Xavier Lewis tops Central with 35 carries for 324 yards and five TDs. He has six catches for 52 yards.
CALVARY AT ZACHARY: Calvary had its streak of back-to-back Division III state championships snapped last season, losing to eventual state champion Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
The Cavaliers, who lost three Division I signees from last year's secondary, have bounced back from a season-opening loss to Teurlings Catholic (50-34) with wins over Class 4A Peabody (44-40) and Class 5A Byrd (34-14).
Calvary is led by junior Kordavion Washington, the state’s top rusher, with 94 carries for 685 yards and 10 TDs.
Running back Braylon Jones finished off a 21-carry, 126-yard outing with a 10-yard TD run in the third overtime, lifting Zachary to a 37-31 victory last week over East Ascension.
“I was a little upset about the (Calvary) loss,” said Brewerton, whose team won its last 11 games of the 2015 season. “I was more upset with the fact that I thought they were more physical than we were. That’s where our season turned around.”