“Ah — Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs,” then-Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora ranted famously in 2001.
Those words take on a different meaning for coaches involved in two Class 5A showdowns that highlight the Week 4 schedule in the Baton Rouge area.
The playoffs are seven weeks away. With top-ranked Archbishop Rummel (3-0) facing No. 5 Catholic High (3-0) at Olympia Stadium in nondistrict action and Zachary (2-1) playing at Scotlandville (2-1) in a District 4-5A opener, thoughts of the playoffs are bound to happen. Both games start at 7 p.m.
“There’s a chance, probably a good one, that we’ll play each other again in the playoffs,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “Our guys have played in front of big crowds every week. They’re learning that you have to play at a high level every week.”
Rummel won the Class 5A state title in 2012 and the Division I select title last fall. Role reversal is a concern for Roth. A year ago Catholic was ranked higher when the teams met but the Raiders came away with a 32-6 victory.
Figuring out what role their respective teams might play in the 4-5A race and beyond is a consideration for Zachary and Scotlandville.
“This is a big test for us, no question,” Scotlandville coach Eric Randall said. “We’ve got a young group that has done everything we’ve asked. We’ve worked longer at practices, and our coaches put in long hours to prepare us for Zachary.
“Zachary is always going to have great athletes at the skill positions. Special teams and how to handle adversity will be huge.”
Randall knows one of the athletes the Hornets must handle well. ZHS quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. is the son of Randall’s former Southern University teammate, running back Lindsey Scott Sr. The younger Scott has 758 combined rushing/passing yards.
Scotlandville counters with a young lineup led by first-year starters such as Levi Lewis at quarterback and Delmas Holmes at running back.
The Rummel-Catholic game also is about key players and matchups. Roth said his team must match the Bears on special teams and find ways to wrap up running back Derrius Guice, who has 732 all-purpose yards in three games. The Rummel coach compares Guice to former St. Augustine star and LSU freshman Leonard Fournette.
Rummel lost tailback Israel Tucker to a season-ending knee injury in the jamboree but has a running-passing threat in Chase Fourcade, a junior who made his second varsity start a year ago.
The nephew of former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback John Fourcade has already tripled his rushing yardage from a year ago, Roth said.
Catholic coach Dale Weiner said he expects big plays but said it will take more than that to win Friday night.
“You don’t have to make spectacular plays on every down,” Weiner said. “In most games, even ones like this, it’s about consistency and taking advantage of the opportunities you have.”
Zachary coach David Brewerton sees his team’s game as an opportunity.
“Scotlandville has a tremendous team,” Brewerton said. “Their speed can change the game in seconds. We look forward to seeing how we handle this.”