With teams being a step away from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Farm Prep Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a trio of coaches have some simple tools to snap their players out of any daydreams this week.
“Going over the scouting reports will get their attention,” Breaux Bridge coach Paul Broussard said. “If we don’t win, next week means nothing.”
Breaux Bridge (12-1) hosts top seed Neville (12-0) on Friday night in a Class 4A semifinal. Breaux Bridge is trying to reach the school’s first state championship game since 2005, when the Tigers fell to Bastrop in Shreveport. Breaux Bridge later got the title when Bastrop had to forfeit all its wins.
“It would be special if we are fortunate enough to win,” Broussard said. “Until you have experienced it (the Superdome), it is hard to imagine from a players’ standpoint.”
To reach that goal, the Tigers defense will be charged with containing a Neville offense headed by quarterback John Diarse, who accounted for 219 yards and three touchdowns Friday. Breaux Bridge is coming off a quarterfinal win at Alexandria in which Alex Williams returned two interceptions for TDs.
“If we continue to execute well, we will be OK,” Broussard said. “The main thing is we don’t want to do things that are out of character.”
Two characteristics that have helped define Carencro (12-1) this season are high expectations and hard running by Alex Johnson, who leads the state in rushing yardage?with 2,602 yards and 33 touchdowns.
“The kids have been talking about making a deep run,” Carencro coach Brent Indest said. “I think they have expected it. Their expectations are high.”
When Indest saw the Bears playoff draw, there was a specific point of concern.
“Our second-round draw with Ouachita was scary,” Indest said. “I thought we could both make it to the semis.”
A Carencro program that last reached the Class 5A semifinals in 2003 has reached that spot again. The Bears will host Shreveport’s C.E. Byrd (12-0) on Friday.
“The quarterback for Byrd (Richard Carthon) is super fast,” Indest said. “He can stop on a dime and reverse field. Their defense makes things happen. We need to throw the ball to get them off us.”
For Indest, in his second year at Carencro, the contest provides a second chance at reaching a state title game. He took the 1999 Abbeville squad to a semifinal game.
“When I took over here, I knew the tradition,” Indest said. “I knew we had special players.”
First-year Vermilion Catholic coach Trev Faulk is adding to the Eagles tradition. Faulk has his team at 13-0 and waiting to host West St. John (11-2) on Friday night. VCHS, which won the Class 1A championship in 2003, has built a balanced offense behind senior quarterback Aaron David and sophomore running back Jacoby Davis. David has passed for 2,941 yards and 40 touchdowns. Davis has totaled 2,285 yards rushing and 37 scores.
Faulk, the former LSU and NFL linebacker, said having a chance to reach the state championship is an exciting opportunity.
“It’s every kid’s dream, and I would imagine it’s every coach’s dream,” Faulk said. “We talked about climbing that mountain one step at a time.”
To keep his team focused on the next step, Faulk has simply played game films of West St. John.
“When you look at West St. John on film, they are a formidable opponent and a great challenge for us. West St. John has our full attention,” Faulk said.