Port Allen High and St. Charles Catholic enter the second week of District 7-3A action sporting 6-0 records. White Castle and St. John each took some lumps in challenging predistrict schedules, but both have designs on winning the 9-1A title and making deep playoff runs.
The four teams will buckle it up on two fields 25 miles apart Friday night. All four will have the same thing in mind.
Port Allen hosts 7-3A newcomer St. Charles, ranked first in the Class 3A state poll. White Castle, the defending 1A champion, welcomes Iberville Parish rival St. John. The winners can get a leg up in their respective district races.
“Our kids are not going to be intimidated,” Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said. “They feel like we can get this thing rolling against anybody at any time. They’re going to play with confidence. They’re going to play hard.”
Building confidence with its unbeaten start, Port Allen (6-0, 1-0) takes a major step up in competition after beating St. James (0-6, 0-1) last week. St. Charles, a 2A team the past two years, has blown past its six opponents by an average score of 46.5-4.2. The Comets (6-0, 1-0), a 49-8 winner over Donaldsonville in their district opener, have sat atop the 3A poll for six straight weeks.
A surprise? Not exactly.
The only time St. Charles had problems the past two seasons was when running into John Curtis or Evangel. The Comets went 12-2 in 2009 with Curtis providing both losses. They went 13-2 last year, losing to Curtis in district play and Evangel in the playoffs.
“The thing about them is that they’re not out of position. They don’t make mistakes very often,” Blanchard said. “If you’re not able to capitalize when they are out of position or they do make a mistake, it’s going to be a long night for you. If they give us a hole or they give us a fumble or they give us a missed coverage, we have to take advantage of it.”
Port Allen will lean heavily on quarterback Darian Claiborne, who has had a hand in 20 touchdowns (nine passing, 11 rushing) to date.
Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson, who have combined for 1,179 rushing yards, lead a prolific St. Charles ground game.
St. John and White Castle, meanwhile, have credentials that belie their combined 4-4 record. Before racing to a 44-6 win over previously unbeaten East Iberville in a 9-1A opener, White Castle (2-4, 1-0) lost four straight, but the losses came against Port Allen, 2A University, 2A Redemptorist and Central Catholic, No. 5 in 1A.
The Bulldogs return three all-state selections from last year’s team, which rebounded from a 2-3 start to win its first state championship in 11-man football last season.
St. John (4-2, 1-0) has lost to 3A Brusly and Livonia.
“Both of us played a pretty challenging predistrict and, hopefully, both of us have learned some things and addressed some of our weaknesses,” St. John coach Tut Musemeche said. “We don’t need to be 6-0. We need to know what we need to work on.”
Tyre Bracken, who rushed for 277 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-24 victory over St. John last year, leads White Castle with 1,008 yards on 118 attempts.
Christian Primeaux and Devante Williams combine to lead a St. John offense that averages 410 yards rushing per game.
Primeaux has carried 105 times for 865 yards and 14 TDs. Williams has 918 yards and nine scores on 106 attempts.