McKinley has won the past four games in the Downtown Showdown over rival Capitol. Still, McKinley coach Robert Signater is leaving nothing to chance.

“We’ve got to take a knife to what we’re doing and sharpen things up,” Signater said. “The last couple of weeks I think we’ve played well enough to be in contention. But turnovers and other mistakes have killed us. Last week we had three touchdowns called back and we lost 19-3. You can’t win that way.”

Class 5A McKinley (0-1) and 2A Capitol (0-1), rechristened as Capitol Charter this year, enter the 7 p.m. Friday game at Memorial Stadium seeking something positive. Capitol lost its season opener to Independence 32-6.

Capitol still leads the series, which dates to 1950, by a 35-28-3 margin. But the past three showdowns have been a downer for the Lions. McKinley has won those Downtown Showdowns by a margin of 122-14.

Skeptics question the motivation for the two schools to continue a rivalry that started long before integration, especially given the enrollment differences. Cleo Johnigan is the fourth head coach in the last three years for Capitol. Signater says the series is set to continue.

“Capitol has had turnover with its coaches and that makes it so hard,” Signater said. “That’s tough to try and keep rebuilding, and you can tell this group is working hard at it. This is still a rival game. People look forward to it.”

Capitol last won in 2009 when current Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway powered a 48-0 win.

“I’ve heard so much about it,” Johnigan said of the rivalry. “You’ll have Capitol fans and McKinley fans and a great atmosphere. It’s football on a Friday night at Memorial Stadium, so I’m looking forward to it.

Tailgate celebration

The Glen “Big Baby” Davis Foundation is hosting a tailgate event at 5:30 p.m. Friday at University High’s Richard F. Gill Stadium before UHS’ home opener with Southern Lab.

The event is a celebration of Davis’ recent induction into the U-High Athletic Hall of Fame. The foundation will sell “Leave Your Mark” themed T-shirts and also will conduct a silent auction to raise money.

Fans also are asked to donate new or gently used children’s books that will be given to the “Big Baby & Hollingsworth” reading center located at the Eden Park library.

More milestones

One week after Eunice coach Paul Trosclair notched his 200th career victory, another Acadiana area coach, Notre Dame’s Lewis Cook, seeks his 300th win.

Cook enters Friday’s game at Breaux Bridge with a 299-77 record. He would become the seventh Louisiana coach to reach 300 wins, joining all-time leader J.T. Curtis of John Curtis, St. Thomas More’s Jim Hightower, ex-Haynesville coach Alton “Red” Franklin, the late Don Shows of West Monroe, former Oak Grove coach Vic Dalrymple and the late Racer Holstead of Tallulah/Tallulah Academy.