What constitutes a pivotal district football game is a question to debate.
Is it a game between two teams unbeaten in district play?
Can it be a game between a team that is unbeaten and one that has just one league loss?
Or is it game in which one team seeks its first district win?
If you’re following Class 5A/4A football during Week 7 in the Baton Rouge area, the correct answer is all of the above.
Fifth-ranked Catholic (5-1, 1-0) travels to Dutchtown (3-3, 1-0) for one of several notable District 5-5A games Friday. All games are set for 7 p.m.
“Catholic High is the best team in our district. I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Dutchtow coach Benny Saia said. “But the best team doesn’t always win. The thing I told our guys today was ‘Why not us?’ Of course, we’ll need to play our best game in order to do it.
“They’re very explosive, and we can’t spot them a big lead. We’ll have to get off to a good start, and then find ways to score when we have the chance to.”
The Catholic-Dutchtown game will garner a lion’s share of attention for a number of reasons. LSU inquired about coach Les Miles or someone from this staff attending the game. The Advocate later learned that it might be offensive coordinator Cam Cameron or Miles.
Miles and Cameron have sons who play for the Bears.
Though not as high profile, the District 4-5A showdown that sends Scotlandville (4-2, 2-1) to Denham Springs (4-2, 3-0) may be just as notable. Ninth-ranked Zachary (5-1, 2-0) hosts Central (2-4, 0-2) and has emerged as the league favorite.
A Denham Springs win could help set up a showdown with Zachary on Oct. 31. Scotlandville has been scary good since losing its 4-5A opener to Zachary. Delmas Holmes ran for over 200 yards, and D’Andre Jackson led a defense that compiled eight sacks in a win over Walker last week.
The game matches two of Baton Rouge’s up-and-coming running backs in Holmes and Denham Springs freshman Tyre Goldmond, who has 740 rushing yards.
“Scotlandville has a solid program, so it’s no surprise what they’ve done,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “They’ve had guys who stepped into roles for people who graduated last year and they’re just as good.
“People talk about their offense, but I’ve been impressed with their defense. Other than the game they lost to Zachary, they’ve shut people down. They’ll be a challenge on both sides of the ball.”
Central looks to snap an unprecedented four-game skid under coach Sid Edwards as the Wildcats travel to Zachary.
In 5-5A, all eyes will try to focus on Catholic-Dutchtown. The teams have enjoyed an eventful rivalry. DHS beat Catholic for its first major playoff win during the early years of the school.
The Bears are led by running back Derrius Guice, who has 793 rushing yards and a 1,233 all-purpose yards. Dutchtown’s Fitell Bolding had an 85-yard TD run last week.
“They may not be quite as big as some of the other Dutchtown teams we’ve seen, but then neither are we,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “Other than that they look like the other Dutchtown teams. They’re got some talented guys, and they’ve played a tough schedule. I tell you what … you’re going to have good games in this district every week.”
Another case in point is Woodlawn (4-2, 0-1) at East Ascension (4-2, 1-0).
“You can look at Woodlawn and see the improvement they’ve made since last year,” EAHS coach Paul Bourgeois said. “They’re going to test us. Every week is a challenge in this district.”
Seventh-ranked Plaquemine (4-2) opens its District 6-4A schedule at Belaire (2-4, 0-1) this week.
Tara (3-3, 1-0) travels to Lutcher (3-3, 0-1).