Zachary and West Feliciana started their football seasons together at ZHS’ Complete Collision Jamboree in August. The Broncos’ 28-7 victory didn’t count toward either team’s record.
Since then, the two high schools located in neighboring parishes have counted the weeks with an intriguing thought in mind.
Could Zachary and West Feliciana finish their seasons together at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic? The teams moved a step closer to making the idea a reality with nonselect quarterfinal wins in their classifications Friday night.
“One of the reasons we like to play those guys every year in the jamboree is because of the kind of program they have,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “West Feliciana has been in the semifinals now for four straight years. The kids know each other. They play basketball and run track together. I think it is good for both teams.”
Of course, the question now is this — can the Saints and Broncos make it happen against formidable opponents? Zachary (11-2), the No. 4 seed in Class 5A, travels to play top-seeded West Monroe (13-0) in the semifinals for the second straight season. Sixth-seeded West Feliciana (12-1) hosts 10th-seeded Jennings (10-2) in 3A.
West Feliciana coach Robb Odom has obviously been in this situation before. The Saints lost to eventual champions Livonia (2014) and Lutcher (2015, 2016).
Odom, a former Zachary player, emphasizes the accomplishments his team has made and stresses that the Saints should not try to do too much. He cites Zachary’s 2015 title as an example of how good things do happen.
“Making it to the semifinals says something,” Odom said. “If making the semifinals was easy, everybody would be able to do it. Making it to the semifinals four years in a row speaks to the focus these guys have had.
“Playing Zachary is a good starting point to the season. They won a state title two years ago and their program sets such a good example with the job coach Brewerton and his guys do every year. We play them and then we pull for them to win every week.”
Zachary also makes its fourth straight semifinal appearance under Brewerton, framed by that 2015 Class 5A title. After back-to-back 38-0 wins to open the playoffs, the Broncos got the challenge they needed in a 34-24 road win over Airline Friday night.
“Airline tied it at 24-24 and the place went nuts,” Brewerton said. “I told them ‘Situations like this are where championships are won.’ ”
The Broncos responded with two drives — one that led to a field goal and the other a TD. In West Monroe, Zachary faces a team that beat them 35-14 in the semifinals last season. West Feliciana beat Jennings 62-38 in 2015 to open the playoffs.
“At this point, you just need to play and do the things we do,” Odom said. “You have to do them well.”
St. Helena (11-2) advances to its second straight 2A semifinal. The sixth-seeded Hawks travel to No. 2 Ferriday (11-2). Meanwhile, three select teams already in the Prep Classic begin a two-week prep for the finals.
Fourth-seeded Catholic (10-3) faces No. 2 John Curtis (11-1) in Division I. It is the second title game appearance in three years for Catholic, the 2015 Division I champion. Second-seeded University High (12-0) plays top-seeded De La Salle (11-0) in Division II. The Cubs make their first final appearance since winning Division II in 2014.
In Division IV, No. 6 Ascension Catholic (11-2) takes on No. 4 Lafayette Christian (12-1) and makes its first title-game appearance since winning 1A in 1992.