The Advocate’s Top 5

large Schools (5A-4A)

1. Acadiana

Acadiana made it look easy in last year’s Class 5A title game. What can Rams do for encore? Go back-to-back and win school’s fourth crown.

2. St. Thomas More

With a year of experience to his credit, junior quarterback Will Bellamy gives Cougars a distinct advantage. He passed for 148 yards in jamboree win.

3. Breaux Bridge

Senior defensive back Joseph Williams is part of Breaux Bridge’s experienced-laden team that has 16 starters back — more than anyone in District 5-4A.

4. Teurlings

First-year starting quarterback Cole Kelley provided a glimpse of what he’s capable of with more than 200 yards passing in jamboree loss.

5. Rayne

The Wolves enjoyed breakthrough season with 8-3 mark and Class 4A playoff appearance. With Notre Dame transfer John Michael Besse, ground game should be even better.

Honorable mention: Eunice, Lafayette, Northside.

Small Schools (3A-1A)

1. Notre Dame

Senior quarterback Brad Stoma is a good place to start with Notre Dame’s myriad strengths, including a defense that’s expected to live up to past standards.

2. Catholic-New Iberia

Catholic-NI unleashed a rugged rushing attack in jamboree win over Teurlings, and Ole Miss commitment quarterback Jason Pellerin wasn’t team’s leading rusher.

3. Kaplan

Kaplan’s expected to be one team in District 6-3A that may push Notre Dame. Senior defensive end Jalen Bates is a big reason why for a team that won nine games a year ago.

4. Church Point

If you figure in two forfeit wins, Church Point actually finished 11-2 last season and brings back all the elements to its productive ground game, namely Deione Monroe.

5. Loreauville

After being on cusp of trip to Class 2A state title game and winning 12 games, Loreauville’s poised again to be in thick of 6-2A race and make another deep postseason run.

Honorable mention: Opelousas Catholic, Port Barre, Vermilion Catholic.

By William Weathers