A rematch like Livonia at Amite naturally fosters burning questions.
Will revenge be the key factor for Amite?
What impact will 10 months and a new head coach have?
Could this be the perfect predistrict tuneup?
Livonia football coach Guy Mistretta and the Wildcats seemingly had all the answers in a 43-14 victory over Amite in the Class 3A state title game played in December in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It will be a different venue when Livonia (3-1), now a 4A school, travels to the Hammond area to play 3A Amite (3-1) for a 7 p.m. game that highlights Thursday’s schedule. Mistretta said he doesn’t have all the answers, but he knows what his expectations are.
“I can’t think of a better way to get ready for district than having a game like this,” Mistretta said. “You’re going to have a playoff-like atmosphere, and you get to play in a great place for high school football.
“I’ve never played there before, but I have scouted a game at Amite. It’s a rural school that sits back in a wooded area. Really, it’s a lot like what we have at Livonia.”
Live Oak (2-2) travels to Broadmoor (0-4) for a 5A nondistrict game, while another Hammond/Tangipahoa team, third-ranked Kentwood (3-1, 0-0) travels to East Iberville (0-4, 0-1) in District 6-1A action.
“It’s finally here, Oct. 1,” first-year Amite coach Zephaniah Powell said. “Two teams that played in the Class 3A state championship game are going to have a rematch right here in Amite, and we’re expecting a real good game.”
Powell took over at Amite when Alden Foster accepted the head coach job at 5A East St. John earlier this year. As coach at Tangipahoa rival Jewel Sumner, Powell knew plenty about the Warriors and watched last year’s 3A final from the stands, noting how physical Livonia was.
This matchup should showcase physical play and lots of talented skill players. Quarterback Cee Jay Powell was the title game MVP last year for Livonia and has rushed for 663 yards and seven TDs so far this season. Patrick Queen has stepped into the lead running back role and 550 and seven TDs.
Senior defensive end Willie Baker of LHS has committed to Louisiana Tech. Amite safety Josh Perry is an Alabama commitment. Mistretta describedreceiver Devonta Smith as a rising star and said quarterback Elijah Walker is an elusive playmaker.
“On offense, you can see the difference between coaches,” Mistretta said. “They’re more of a true spread team this year, whereas they played with two backs a lot last year. One question we had was about the quarterback because he’s a new starter. And he’s a good one. ... He makes plays with his hands and feet.”
AHS’ Zephaniah Powell echoed some of the same adjectives when asked about Livonia’s Powell.
“We’re trying our best to stay in that 70-percent run, 30-percent pass ratio, and hopefully, it will even up for us Thursday night,” Powell said.
Both coaches have reminded their players that it’s a different year, and the teams are different.
“Last year is definitely motivation for them,” Mistretta said.