In July, high school football coaches get out scales and measuring sticks to record the heights and weights of players for the upcoming season.
As teams in Class 5A and 4A approach Friday’s Week 7 games, the parameters have changed.
Now the games, like fifth-ranked Lutcher High (5-1, 3-0) vs. No. 10 St. Michael the Archangel (6-0, 2-0) in District 6-4A, provide the measuring stick.
“We know Lutcher has more big-game experience than us through the years,” St. Michael coach Eric Held said. “Experience is very valuable. But I also believe there is no substitute for confidence. We’re confident and excited about it.”
The teams meet at Louisiana Leadership Institute’s Doug Williams Stadium, helping highlight a busy schedule.
In District 4-5A, Zachary (5-1, 1-0) hosts Scotlandville (5-1, 0-1), while second-ranked Dutchtown (6-0, 1-0) hosts rival East Ascension (4-2, 0-1) in 5-5A action. Games begin at 7 p.m.
St. Michael is off to perhaps its best start ever, but has never won a playoff game. Lutcher is a traditional power that has won three Class 3A titles in the past decade.
While St. Michael looks to measure its skills against a speedy Lutcher team to determine its spot in the Class 4A pecking order, Bulldogs coach Tim Detillier sees this game as a chance for the Bulldogs to address their own key issue.
“Certainly, I expect it to be a big-game atmosphere,” Detillier said. “I know the St. Michael fans are excited and we always travel well. For us, travel is an issue to look at. We’ve only played on the road twice: in the jamboree and at Dutchtown, and we didn’t fare well either time.
“A team that makes a deep run in the playoffs has to be able to win on the road. We haven’t done that yet.”
SMHS’ Dash Duncan has 1,274 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. His favorite target, Sonny Adams, has 39 catches for 581 yards with 13 TDs.
Daniel Taylor, who surpassed 5,000 career rushing yards last week, has 863 yards and 10 TDs to pace Lutcher. Ruston Matherne threw two TD passes last week for the Bulldogs.
In 4-5A, Zachary coach Neil Weiner said his team expects Scotlandville to use last week’s 41-13 loss to Denham Springs as motivation.
“We’ve told our guys that this is the second game of the district season and both teams have a lot to play for,” Weiner said. “Scotlandville is one of the most improved teams in Baton Rouge this year.
“They’re going to come out believing they have something to prove. And they’re talented enough to do that.”
Meanwhile, first-year East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois faces the opposite scenario following a loss to McKinley a week ago.
“When you’re coming off a loss, you want to do what you can to recover that win,” Bourgeois said. “Playing the No. 2 team in the state (Dutchtown) doesn’t make that easy.”
Other 4-5A games are Walker (3-3, 1-0) vs. Central (3-3, 0-1) and Denham Springs (4-2, 1-0) at Live Oak (2-4, 0-1). Also in 5-5A, Catholic (1-5, 1-0) is at McKinley (3-3, 1-0) and St. Amant (4-2, 0-1) at Woodlawn (2-4, 0-1). The 6-4A schedule also includes Plaquemine (3-3, 2-0) at Istrouma (0-6, 0-3).