Given the extenuating circumstances before Episcopal took an actual regular-season snap, it would have been understandable to write off the Knights’ chances in the District 7-2A race.
However, the loss of senior quarterback William D’Armond to a broken clavicle in the team’s jamboree, didn’t signify the end, but a new beginning for a team that’s adjusted and finds itself right where it wanted to be all along.
“We had to get a new identity and this team had to grow and mature, knowing that a major part of the team would not be with them,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “It took us a while to get going, and now everyone’s a little more comfortable with the adjustments we’ve made. Everybody’s buying into what we’re doing and winning always helps.”
The payoff for Episcopal (7-1, 5-0) will be taking on the challenge of No. 7 Madison Prep Academy (8-0, 5-0), hosting the Chargers at 7 p.m. Friday with the winner gaining at least a share of the District 7-2A championship.
West Feliciana (5-3, 4-1) hosts No. 7 Parkview Baptist (5-3, 4-1) in a battle of second-place teams in District 7-3A, while Catholic-Pointe Coupee (5-3, 3-0) visits No. 10 Basile (7-1, 3-0) with a share of the District 5-1A title up for grabs.
Madison Prep, a Division IV select semifinalist a year ago, has made a smooth transition in its first season in Class 2A. Since a narrow 21-20 win over Northeast, the Chargers have combined to defeat their last two opponents 104-7.
“We had a big meeting after the (Northeast) game, and the coaches got them refocused and recommitted and you can see the difference right now,” MPA coach Michael Roach. “That game woke them up.”
Dual-threat quarterback Edwin Kleinpeter is the catalyst of MPA’s offense, having completed 74 of 132 passes for 1,314 yards and 11 TDs. Tyrese Walker (53-517, seven TDs) is the team’s top rusher and Brian Savoie (22-624, eight TDs) the No. 1 receiver.
“Our guys like playing in these games,” Roach said. “To see where our program has come in these two to three years — and to have a chance to win the district title — that’s big for us.”
Episcopal’s T.J. Wisham has commanded plenty of respect from the opposition this season and MPA, which has limited four teams to a touchdown or less, isn’t any different.
“We know who the motor’s on this team,” Roach said. “We have to do a good job of staying in our run lanes and tackling well and getting him on the ground. He’s a big and physical.”
Wisham tops the Knights with 198 carries for 1,464 yards and 17 TDs and is complemented by quarterback Kaden Edenfield, running back Kydris Washington and receiver Brennan Folse.
“We know we’ve got our hands full, but it’s Week 9 and we’re playing for a district championship,” Bourgeois said. “So we’re excited to be in this position.”