The encore season to Madison Prep Academy’s first Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic appearance didn’t start according to plan.

The Chargers, facing a nondistrict schedule against two Class 5A teams and a 4A school with a combined 15-2 record, promptly lost all three games after previously winning 21 straight in the regular season.

“I told the kids a couple of weeks ago, we lost as many games in the first few weeks as we had in two years,” MPA coach Michael Roach said. “We told them not to take it for granted, what we did in the past, but what happened was in the past. We had to think about where we were going and how we’re going to get there.”

Madison Prep played without Roach for three games as he recovered from a summer illness. Landry Williams continues as acting head coach, but Roach is supposed to be on the sideline Friday.

Madison Prep (2-3, 2-0) travels to Baker (3-3, 2-0) with a share of the District 6-3A lead on the line at Wedge Kyes Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Our young kids know about winning, but (they) didn’t have all the experience because they played behind some talented guys,” Roach said. “They understand what they have to do to get us back to our tradition. We’ll be better down the stretch.”

In the span of seven weeks last season, Ascension Catholic went from a 50-0 loss to Southern Lab to trailing the Kittens by a touchdown with six minutes left before a pair of touchdowns turned into a 36-13 defeat.

That dramatic in-season improvement, coupled with this season’s start, has No. 9 Ascension Catholic (6-0, 1-0) eagerly awaiting Southern Lab (2-4, 1-0) in a District 6-1A showdown at 7 p.m. Friday at Boutte Stadium Donaldsonville.

“We know we can compete with this team,” ACHS coach Drey Trosclair said. “The confidence level’s the highest it’s been in the three years that I’ve been here. But this is a good team we’re going up against. They played a demanding schedule.”

MPA-BAKER: Roach credited his staff, led by Williams, for the Chargers' progress.

“I take my hat off to my assistants,” he said. “They’ve stepped up and done a good job. I’ve told the kids to take it one game at a time, and let’s get better this week.”

Senior running back Tyrese Walker is a returning Class 2A all-state selection, while Baker relies on the pass-catch combination of quarterback Terry Johnson (54 of 80, 985 yards, seven TDs) and receiver Claude Coleman (25-551, six TDs).

SOUTHERN LAB-ASCENSION CATHOLIC: ACHS is paced by the running tandem of Jamar Barber (859 yards, four TDs) and Jai Williams (725 yards, eight TDs).

The Bulldogs defense, topped by linebacker Kevin Gautreau and outside linebacker Parker Hales, face a Southern Lab offense led by junior LSU running back commitment Tyrion Davis (947 yards, 10 TDs).

“As a staff, we have to put a good plan in place, and the kids have to go out and execute,” Trosclair said. “This is a game we’ve had circled on our schedule as a turning point game for our season.”