Central’s OT win over Denham Springs helps create four-way tie for first place

All it takes is one key win to alter the complexion of the race for a district football title.

Central High provided the great equalizer for District 4-5A with a 31-28 overtime victory over Denham Springs on Friday.

Now the Wildcats (4-4, 2-1) are part of a four-way tie for first with the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-1), Scotlandville (7-1, 2-1) and Zachary (6-2, 2-1).

Up next is another potential title-chase changing matchup. Scotlandville hosts to Central Friday at Louisiana Leadership Institute’s Doug Williams Stadium.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us, that’s for sure,” Central coach Doug Dotson said. “And this one will be a different kind of challenge than last week.

“Whereas Denham is the kind of team that likes to run right at you, Scotlandville is more like us. They’ll spread you out and try to take whatever they can.”

The Central vs. Scotlandville game helps highlight a busy Week 9 schedule that includes notable games in several Baton Rouge metro area district.

“I told our kids after we lost to Denham Springs that as far as I was concerned, we were already in the playoffs,” Scotlandville coach Ken Hilton said.

“In order to have a chance at a district title and to get the best power rating we can, we need to win the rest of our games.

“Central is tough. Their defense is always outstanding. They’re very physical, and they’re like us on offense in a lot of ways: We can both be explosive.”

Action begins with five Thursday games, two of which are pivotal in District 6-4A and one key game in 9-1A.

Plaquemine (5-3, 4-0), winner of four straight, can set up a showdown with fourth-ranked Lutcher (7-1, 5-0) for the 6-4A title. First, the white-hot Green Devils of coach Bob Howell have to beat Belaire (3-5, 1-3) in a Thursday game at Memorial Stadium.

Also in 6-4A, St. Michael (6-2, 2-2) looks to rebound from a two-game losing streak. The Warriors face Tara (1-6, 0-4) at Olympia Stadium.

St. John (6-2, 3-0) travels to play ninth-ranked West St. John (6-2, 3-0) in Edgard in District 9-1A.

“It’s a game where both teams are going to throw what they have out there and see what happens,” St. John coach Tut Musemeche said. “The winner will get the district title, and the loser will still have the chance to go on and fight for a bigger prize in the playoffs.”

District games in 7-2A and 7-1A also are set for Thursday. The Dunham School (4-4, 2-1) hosts Redemptorist (3-5, 2-1) in District 7-2A. The game marks the first time that first-year Dunham coach Guy Mistretta has coached against his former school. In District 7-1A, Southern Lab (6-2, 2-1) hosts Varnado (3-5, 1-2).

Friday’s schedule includes an eclectic mix of matchups. In 4-5A, Denham Springs travels to Walker (3-5, 1-2), while Live Oak (2-6, 0-3) visits Zachary.

Second-ranked Dutchtown (8-0, 3-0) survived an overtime scare and edged Woodlawn, 23-17, last week. The Griffins travel to McKinley (3-5, 1-2), while Catholic (2-6, 2-1) hosts St. Amant (5-3, 1-2) at Olympia and Woodlawn (3-5, 1-2) hosts East Ascension (5-3, 1-2).

The other 6-4A game is Broadmoor (4-4, 2-2) at Istrouma (0-8, 0-5). Lutcher travels to No. 3 Assumption (8-0) for a nondistrict game.

Seventh-ranked Livonia (7-1, 2-1) hosts Church Point (7-1, 3-0) for a key District 5-3A game.

In 6-3A, Parkview Baptist (5-3, 3-0) hosts West Feliciana (5-3, 1-1). The 7-3A schedule includes Donaldsonville (3-5, 1-2) at Brusly (5-3, 2-1) and Port Allen (7-1, 2-1) at E.D. White Catholic (4-4, 1-2) in Thibodaux.

Another game with major district title implications happens in Class 1A. Christian Life (6-2, 3-0) travels to Kentwood (6-2, 3-0) in 7-1A.