If anything, District 3-5A has proven to be more of an open book than anyone could have imagined heading into final chapters of the regular season.
Preseason favorites Acadiana (4-3, 3-1) and Barbe (5-2, 3-1) are part of a four-team logjam atop the league along with Carencro (5-2, 3-1) and Sulphur (4-3, 3-1) with three games remaining.
“This district’s kind of crazy,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said. “It’s still hard to figure out. We’ve got to continue to press on. I told the kids it’s like having eight straight playoff games.”
Acadiana did its part in creating plenty of havoc, taking a 35-20 road win over previously unbeaten Sulphur, while Carencro defeated Sam Houston 42-28.
That sets up an intriguing round of games Friday with Acadiana hosting Sam Houston (5-2, 2-2) at Bill Dotson Stadium, Barbe hosting Comeaux (3-4, 1-3) and Carencro traveling to New Iberia (1-6, 0-4).
The Wrecking Rams, thanks to an offensive line that’s nearly back to full health, rushed for 353 yards, led by Tulane commitment Malik Eugene with 10 carries for 136 yards and two TDs and Eric Duhon with 76 yards and a TD on 17 attempts.
“You never know what’s going to happen in this league,” said Davidson, 101-34 in his career. “You’ve just got to take care of your business.”
The marquee matchup Friday in the Acadiana area features District 5-2A heavyweights — No. 2 Catholic-New Iberia (7-0, 2-0) traveling to No. 10 Opelousas Catholic (7-0, 2-0) — for a 7 p.m. game at Donald Gardner Stadium.
Rayne (6-1, 2-1) hosts archrival Crowley (5-2, 3-1) in District 4-4A action with the winner trying to remain within reach of district leader LaGrange (3-4, 3-0), which travels to Beau Chene (3-4, 1-2).
“This week is a huge game,” OC coach Dane Charpentier said. “Obviously we’re the underdog. Catholic High’s strength of schedule is really the story. They’ve run the table through one of the toughest schedules in the state. I feel like we’ve got nothing to lose and go in without any pressure on us, try to play fast and play hard like we always do.”
OCHS kept pace in the league race with a 42-0 victory over Jeanerette, representing the first shutout of the season for the Vikings and the fifth time they’ve limited an opponent to a touchdown or less.
“It’s a huge challenge,” Charpentier said. “We have a very talented team coming into our place that’s very well coached. It’s what high school football’s all about to try and win a big one like this. I think our kids will be up for the challenge, and I think we’ll come out ready to play.”
Catholic-New Iberia extended its district win streak to seven games dating to last season with a 61-0 road triumph over Westminster Christian.
The Panthers, who are averaging 52 points a game, reached the 60-point plateau for the third time this season after rolling up 559 yards of total offense.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve played a couple of teams that were struggling,” CHSNI coach Brent Indest said. “We kept stressing to the kids that anybody can get up for big games. We got up for Notre Dame (56-28 win) and probably played as well as we can play.
“The true test was being able to get up equally for teams, and that was going to be more of a testament to what kind of team we were more than anything. I’m proud of the guys. We’ve played just as good a football the last two weeks as we did against Notre Dame.”
Running back Andre Bellefontaine scored on three of his five carries in Friday’s blowout, gaining 106 yards with backfield mate Seth Pierre scoring on two his four attempts and rushing for 138 yards.
Ole Miss quarterback commitment Jason Pellerin was 6-of-10 passing for 146 yards.
“OC’s the most important one because it’s the next one,” Indest said. “We’ve got to show up focused. We’re doing a really good job of taking care of the ball right now, and we need to keep doing that.”