No two high school football districts are exactly alike, and the Baton Rouge metro area’s districts for Class 5A and Class 4A prove that point.
As teams prepare for Week 8, the emphasis is on scoring enough points to garner wins and playoff berths.
Each league faces a different scenario, starting with District 4-5A. Denham Springs (5-2, 2-0) is the only unbeaten team. The Yellow Jackets host rival Central (3-4, 1-1) for a crucial 4-5A game Friday night. The DSHS-Central rivalry is among the area’s oldest, dating to 1948. Games start at 7 p.m.
“This game is deceptive,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “Central played a tough schedule. They changed to a spread offense this season. You can see them get better every week.
“Their quarterback, (Brett) Courville, is a threat running and throwing the ball. The spread can be tough to defend. We need to run the ball and focus on what we need to do.”
Friday’s story lines for Districts 5-5A and 6-4A are also compelling.
In 5-5A, second-ranked Dutchtown High (7-0, 2-0) continues to roll along and is the area’s lone unbeaten in 5A-4A. The Griffins have a high-powered offense and host a high-octane team in Woodlawn (3-4, 1-1).
“They’re very explosive,” DHS coach Benny Saia said of Woodlawn. “They have explosive players who make big plays. Not many people have been able to slow them down. We have to be sound in what we do and try to match them.”
Dutchtown is not the only 5-5A unbeaten. Catholic High (2-5, 2-0) has rebounded from an 0-5 start and travels to East Ascension (4-3, 0-2).
“We focused in on district and told our guys the other games prepared us,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “These guys have never given up or backed down. East Ascension is another quality team. They (Catholic players) are excited about the challenge.”
In 6-4A, Plaquemine (4-3, 3-0) looks to move a step closer to a Week 10 showdown with fourth-ranked Lutcher. The Green Devils host St. Michael (6-1, 2-1), which saw a six-game winning streak end with a loss to Lutcher last week.
“This one is important not only for the district, but for power points,” Plaquemine coach Bob Howell said. “St. Michael lost last week, but they’re a quality team. They run the spread offense, which gives you a lot to prepare for.
“You just have to go out and find a way to win in games like this one late in the year. You know both teams want it.”
St. Michael coach Eric Held wants to see how his team responds.
“After the game last week, we talked about preparing for this one,” Held said. “A loss last week doesn’t mean we’re not a good team. How you respond to adversity distinguishes a good team. Plaquemine, with that veer, they run will test us.”
Notable numbers, games
Central’s Courville has 904 passing yards, while DSHS’ Kyle Cedotal has 1,077 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Dutchtown’s Landon Collins is averaging 14.4 yards per carry. Woodlawn’s Kendall Barnes has passed for 1,636 yards and 25 TDs.
Khalil Thomas leads Catholic with 641 rushing yards, just behind EAHS’ Jamarcus Jarvis (680 yards). St. Michael’s Dash Duncan (1,355 passing yards, 18 TDs) and Plaquemine’s Julius Maracalin (547 rushing yards) are other leaders.
Like Central, Scotlandville (6-1, 1-1) and preseason favorite Zachary (5-2, 1-1) travel to play Livingston Parish-based teams in 4-5A. Scotlandville plays at Live Oak-Watson (2-5, 0-2). ZHS plays at Walker (3-4, 1-1). Lutcher (6-1, 4-0) hosts Belaire (1-5, 1-2).