Every high school football season is like a three-act play.
It starts with a series of nondistrict games and ends with what every team hopes is a long playoff run.
Sandwiched in between is what most coaches refer to as the meat of the schedule — the district schedule.
League play begins this week for teams in four classifications, making Week 6 the most significant to date.
“As coaches, we always preach about the three parts to the season: predistrict, district and the playoffs,” Scotlandville High coach Ken Hilton said. “To me, this is the most important part.
“Predistrict is over and everybody is back to being 0-0. What you do and where you go depends on what happens next.”
Hilton’s Scotlandville squad is one of the area’s surprising 5-0 teams. The Hornets meet Denham Springs (3-2) in a District 4-5A opener that is perhaps the biggest since Scotlandville restarted its football program in the 1990s.
“Denham Springs has lost a couple of games to very good football teams,” Hilton said. “They don’t do a lot of fancy things, but what they do they do well, and they’ll be ready for us.”
The Friday game at Doug Williams Stadium at Louisiana Leadership Institute is one of several marquee matchups. In 5-5A, second-ranked Dutchtown (5-0) travels to play a resurgent Ascension Parish rival in St. Amant (4-1), winner of four straight.
District 7-2A begins with third-ranked University (5-0) traveling to play No. 7 Episcopal (5-0) in a battle of unbeatens.
Seventh-ranked East Feliciana (2-3) has lost three straight. Now the Tigers, a semifinalist in 2A a year ago, step into District 6-3A to face defending state champion Parkview Baptist (2-3), a team that has lost to three 5A teams in predistrict.
Two of EFHS’ losses were to 5A-4A teams.
There’s also a game involving a No. 1 team. Top-ranked St. Charles Catholic (5-0) hosts Donaldsonville (2-3) in a notable 7-3A opener. Port Allen (5-0) travels to St. James (0-5).
“I think this is going to be a quite a week for us and for football in Ascension Parish,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “We’ve had some good wins and faced some adversity and hopefully that will serve us well.
“Dutchtown is very deserving of the No. 2 ranking. We’re excited to be in this situation and excited about playing at home.”
Having University and Episcopal unbeaten at this point provides a benchmark for two longtime rivals.
“I don’t know when the last time was that both teams were 5-0 or even if its ever happened before,” UHS coach Chad Mahaffey said. “I think both teams have proven themselves during predistrict.
“Episcopal was 9-0 last year, and I think they’re a better team this year. I know we’re improved. People look at offense and points, but defense has been our staple all year. We’ll need to play well defensively this week.”
The Week 6 schedule also includes four Thursday games. St. Michael (5-0, 1-0), unbeaten in predistrict for the first time in school history, returns to District 6-4A play to face Belaire (1-4, 1-1) at Olympia Stadium to highlight the Thursday schedule. Also, St. John (3-2) hosts Ascension Catholic (2-3) in Plaquemine in a 9-1A opener.
A list of other notable Friday games is also intriguing. In 6-4A, Broadmoor (3-2, 1-1) travels to Plaquemine (2-3, 1-0) for a key 6-4A game. McKinley (2-3) travels to East Ascension (4-1) in 5-5A, while Zachary (4-1) travels to Central (2-3) in 4-5A. In 8-3A, Albany (4-1) travels to No. 6 Loranger (5-0) and third-ranked Amite (4-1) travels to No. 4 Independence (4-1). Unbeatens collide when Livonia (5-0) hosts Rayne (5-0) for 5-3A opener.