SULPHUR — There’s a tendency to analyze all angles of a football playoff matchup, especially when the two teams have played before, like second-seeded Zachary High and No. 18 Dutchtown High.
Dutchtown coach Benny Saia breaks things down to a basic level.
“We’ve been very good on offense the last month of the season,” Saia said. “And that’s got to continue because, let’s face it, they’re not beating people 7-6. Whoever blinks first — that may be what it comes down to.”
Dutchtown (8-3) hosts Zachary (10-1) for a 5A regional playoff game that helps highlight a full Friday slate of games for teams in Classes 5A and 4A. Zachary won 44-34 when the teams met on Oct. 2.
“It’s got all the elements of a great high school football game in south Louisiana,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “You’ve got two programs that are used to being successful and two talented teams. It’s what the playoffs are all about.”
There are several intriguing 5A and 4A games to note. Two other 5A teams play at home, including fifth-seeded Scotlandville (10-1) and No. 25 Live Oak High (7-4), one of state’s best surprise teams.
Scotlandville hosts No. 5 Mandeville (8-3), while LOHS hosts No. 9 John Ehret (9-2). In Class 4A, No. 18 Livonia (8-3) hosts second-seeded Crowley (11-0).
Three others travel. Two of those teams, Division I Catholic and 4A Plaquemine, face familiar playoff foes.
Sixth-seeded Catholic (7-3) meets No. 3 Brother Martin (8-2) travels to Tad Gormley Stadium in a quarterfinal. The game is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal won by the Crusaders. Plaquemine (8-3), seeded 12th, plays No. 5 Warren Easton (10-1) at Joe Brown Stadium, a year after the teams met in the 4A semifinals.
St. Amant (9-2), seeded 10th and coming off its first playoff win since 2001, travels No. 7 Hahnville (8-3).
The Zachary-Dutchtown game matches two of the area’s top quarterbacks. Zachary’s Lindsey Scott Jr., a Syracuse commitment, has already surpassed his 14-game totals from a year ago and has 2,244 passing yards and 25 TDs along with 1,278 rushing yards and 16 TDs. Dutchtown’s Jared Sparks, a Southern Mississippi commitment, has 1,738 passing yards and 14 TDs.
Each team has other weapons. Receiver Doug Coleman has 1,150 receiving yards and 11 TDs for ZHS, while Terry Sullivan adds 1,047 yards and 12 TDs. Dutchtown’s Fitell Bolding has 1,026 rushing yards and 13 TDs.
“There’s no doubt we can help ourselves out if we can hold onto the ball,” Dutchtown’s Saia said. “But the key is we also had to score on those drives and not give them anything easy. We have to be sharp special teams, which is huge in these situations.”
“They’ve gone to more of spread look than using the wing-T for power football,” Brewerton said. “They’ve got a guy who can throw it and two or three who can catch. We’ve got to play assignment football.”
They said it
“We are the only ones who believe we can belong here, and that’s OK. The key is making sure we are prepared to handle that moment.”
— Live Oak’s Brett Beard on playing Ehret and hosting a playoff game for the first time
“We feel like we played our best football right now, and we’re going to need to do that against Crowley. We got weapons, and so does Crowley. They’re quarterback is a playmaker and has that ‘it’ factor.”
— Livonia’s Guy Mistretta on Crowley
“The week off gave us a chance to go back and focus on some things. They’re very prolific offensively and used to being in shootouts. We need to be very efficient and take care of all the little things.”
— Catholic’s Dale Weiner on Brother Martin