No. 5 seed Warren Easton (12-2) vs. No. 2 seed Neville (12-1)
3:30 p.m., Saturday
How they got here
NEVILLE: beat No. 31 Riverdale 57-7 in the bidistrict round; beat No. 15 Breaux Bridge 56-30 in the regional round; beat No. 10 Karr 34-7 in the quarterfinals; beat No. 3 Franklinton 32-8 in the semifinals.
EASTON: beat No. 28 Woodlawn-Shreveport 62-12 in bi-district round; beat No. 21 Peabody 57-20 in regional round; beat No. 4 Benton 55-7 in the quarterfinals; beat No. 1 Plaquemine 43-36.
NEVILLE: 10 (last: 2011); EASTON: 2 (1942)
Storyline: Something old, something new
Perennial power Neville seems to almost always be here, seeking its third state championship in six seasons. Easton is making its first trip to the state championship game in over five decades and trying to win its first one in 72 years.
NEVILLE: Neville’s offense has been good, setting a school record for points scored (532) for a second straight year. But the defense has been just as impressive. The three playoff wins against New Orleans area teams (Riverdale, Karr and Franklinton) have been by a combined score of 123-22. The gameplan is simple: Duplicate what they have done so far and try to slow down Easton’s high octane offense.
EASTON: Much like Neville, scoring isn’t a problem for Easton. The Eagles have shown they can score points in bunches, scoring at least 40 points in nine games this season. The key will be how the Eagles defense stacks up against Neville’s offense, which can also be explosive.
NEVILLE: The Tigers, riding an 11-game winning streak, are undefeated against Louisiana teams this season. A lot of that has to do with playmaker Kavontae Turpin, who scored four touchdowns last week against Franklinton. QB J.T. Jackson has thrown for 23 touchdowns this season, the second most in school history. His primary target is Chris Fuller, who has eight TD catches this season. Senior defensive end Zack Walker creates havoc on defense, recording three tackles for loss last season.
EASTON: What’s not to like about an offense that features Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year (QB Deshawn Capers-Smith, below) and the nation’s top receiver (Tyron Johnson)? Capers-Smith has thrown for a whopping 4,041 yards and 47 touchdowns and rushed for 1,255 yards and 21 TDs. Johnson has 1,494 receiving yards and 17 TD receptions, but he isn’t the only weapon. Clyde Chriss has 821 receiving yards and nine TDs, but is questionable after a knee injury in regular season finale. But Darrel Clark has 862 receiving yards and 11 TDs. RB Devin Glenn (654 rushing yards) keeps defenses honest. DL Kendal Franklin and Arthur McGinnis, along with DB Charvin Morris head up the Eagles defense, which will get one of its stiffest tests of the year.
If you like big plays, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the place to be Saturday afternoon. This one looks like it could be a shootout, and don’t be surprised if the team that has the ball last wins it. It’ll be close, but Eagles squeak out the win to claim first state title since 1942.
WARREN EASTON 35, NEVILLE 34