University Lab and West Feliciana are in different places heading into their District 6-3A opener Friday in St. Francisville.
U-High hasn't lost a district game in five years.
The Saints can’t say the same.
West Feliciana finished third in the district last season and lost each of the past three meetings between the teams by a combined score of 122-52.
But the Saints (3-0) are undefeated so far this year and coach Robb Odom is pleased with what he’s seen from a team that’s climbed to No. 2 in the LHSAA's unofficial power rankings for Class 3A.
The Cubs (1-2) are also highly ranked, heading into the game at No. 2 in Division II, but Mahaffey is concerned they haven’t lived up to that expectation.
It’s only the first game of district play, but a win Friday night could be the thing West Feliciana needs to finally break out of the shadows of the league’s powerhouse programs, or it could be the game that rights the ship for U-High.
“Once we start district play, I think we have the toughest 3A district in the state, to be honest with you,” Odom said. “I do believe it’d be the toughest district in multiple classifications in the state. It’s always a battle. People have referred to our district as the SEC West before. That’s what it is. There is no easy week.”
U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said the Cubs won’t change their schemes for this week outside of a few smaller adjustments.
He’s hopeful they can turn it around. They have the talent to do so, but Friday night will be a difficult test for a team that hasn’t put it all together yet.
“I think we certainly have a lot better football ahead of us that we can play,” Mahaffey said. “The challenge for our guys is we’ve got to practice better and perform better on Fridays.”
Also in District 6-3A, defending Division II state champion Parkview Baptist open at home against Baker (2-1).
In District 6-2A, Madison Prep (3-0) enters new ground this year, and not just because this marks the first season they will feature a senior class that’s played all four years in the blue and gold.
Madison Prep is the defending district champs, and as such, they’re no longer the hunters they once were going into the district opener against Capitol (0-3).
“In the past, we’ve always been the guys going out trying to hunt everybody down, and now everybody is trying to hunt us down,” coach Michael Roach said. “The scope is going to be on us. We have to be on our 'A' game. Capitol has some good athletes, and we’ve got to take each district game one step at a time.”
Also in District 6-2A, Northeast (2-1) will try to hand Dunham (3-0) its first loss, while Episcopal (2-1) opens up at home against East Feliciana (1-2).
In District 6-1A, reigning champ Kentwood (0-3) travels to West St. John in a nondistrict matchup. Southern Lab (1-1) opens district at home with Ascension Catholic (2-1).