Catholic High-Pointe Coupee connection strong in state championship games _lowres

Advocate Photo by Buddy Delahoussaye --J.P. Kelly (left) congratulates head coach Dale Weiner for his 300th victory against the Teurling Rebels on Friday Oct. 2, 2015.

Fans who have followed the football series between Dutchtown High and Catholic High may be shocked by what Catholic coach Dale Weiner has to say about the Griffins.

“Really, the team they remind me the most of is us,” Weiner said. “It’s really hard to compare this team to anybody we’ve played so far.

“They’re a little like Zachary, but Zachary was committed to the spread with the shotgun. They do some things few teams do. They give you so much to prepare for.”

Dutchtown (6-2, 3-0) faces Catholic (6-2, 3-0) at Olympia Stadium. The game should decide the District 5-5A title and helps highlight a Week 9 schedule of 7 p.m. games for teams in Classes 5A and 4A.

There are other notable games on the schedule. Seventh-ranked Zachary (7-1, 3-0) hosts Central (5-3, 2-1) and Scotlandville (7-1, 2-1) travels to Live Oak (7-1, 2-1) in a 4-5A. In District 6-4A, Plaquemine (5-3, 3-0) hosts Tara (0-8, 0-3), while Livonia (6-2, 2-1) hosts Belaire (5-3, 1-2).

This Dutchtown-Catholic game has the potential to be different than any matchup the two teams have played. The days when the Griffins were content to pound the ball with running backs like Eddie Lacy, now the Green Bay Packers, and Kelvin York are over, at least for now.

“This is the most balanced team we’ve ever been offensively,” Saia said. “The things we’re doing work for us this year.

“Catholic continues to be Catholic. They do throw a lot of things at you. You know they’re going to be well-coached and execute. Most people look at their offense first, but I think their defense is pretty salty. They’re not the kind of team that beats themselves.”

Catholic has won six straight after losing to Parkview Baptist and Zachary. The Bears once again have a big-name running back. Junior Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 296 yards of total offense in last week’s win over St. Amant and has 985 rushing yards.

The junior already has a scholarship offer from LSU. Juxtapose Edwards-Helaire with Dutchtown quarterback Jared Sparks, a Southern Mississippi commitment who has passed for 1,320 yards.

There are other weapons for both sides. Catholic QB Ian Brian has 1,301 passing yards, while Dutchtown’s Fitell Bolding adds 759 rushing yards. South Carolina commitment Lloyd Cushenberry helps lead the DHS offensive line.

“The thing a spread offense does is it makes the defense cover the entire field,” Weiner said. “Dutchtown does it where they’ll actually go under center. It’s a different look.

“We tell our guys to respect everyone, fear no one and go into every game expecting a battle. That’s what we expect from Dutchtown.”

Saia added, “Our offense has to score, and they have to help our defense. You go three-and-out a few times and they’ll get you.”

Other games

A year ago, Zachary edged Central by one point. The Wildcats, fresh off a one-point win over Denham Springs, could prompt a three-way 4-5A tie with another win.

Plaquemine sits in the driver’s seat in 6-4A.

Woodlawn (4-4, 2-1) meets south Baton Rouge rival St. Michael the Archangel (2-6, 1-2) seeking a win to set up showdown with Livonia next week.