By ROBIN FAMBROUGH

Advocate sportswriter

The fact that University High is undefeated and is entrenched in the No. 3 ranking in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A football poll is a testament to just how impressive the Cubs (9-0, 4-0) have been.

How the Cubs have handled the accolades along the way is one of the things that has impressed their second-year coach, Chad Mahaffey.

“Rankings and polls are not something we control,” Mahaffey said. “It’s basically a popularity contest and I think our guys understand that.

“We’ll take where we are so far, and they (UHS players) have taken everything that’s come their way. They’ve worked hard to get better, and I can say that our week of practice last week was as good as any we’ve had. I look for that to continue this week.”

University faces a unique challenge this week. The Cubs host a rapidly improving Redemptorist squad to close out the regular season.

The Wolves (4-5, 3-1), a longtime Class 3A power, have won four of their past six games. The lone District 7-2A loss for Redemptorist was to fifth-ranked Episcopal (8-1, 3-1). An upset win by RHS could force a three-way tie for the title.

Mahaffey has made the Cubs aware of the implications Friday’s game brings. UHS is off to its best start in several years. The last time UHS went unbeaten was 1988, a year the Cubs won a Class 1A state title.

It is also a chance for continued redemption for the Wolves, who have been ranked regularly for more than a decade, but aren’t ranked this season.

“We run pretty much the same kind of (spread) offense,” Redemptorist coach Aaron Vice said. “On offense they’ve got the quarterback (Kyle Crifasi) and the running back (Nicholas Brosette), who’s only a freshman.

“Their defense is solid. We know what we’re facing. It’s an opportunity.”

Around the polls

Changes in the most recent LSWA polls were limited following Week 9 of the regular season. All five top-ranked teams won.

Assumption (8-1), ranked second in Class 4A last week, was the lone team in the top three to lose. The Mustangs dropped to No. 5 after a loss to Lutcher (8-1), which moved up to No. 3.

Also moving up was Class 3A Livonia (8-1), which moved up one spot to No. 4 after beating Church Point last week.

Kangaroos bounce back

After spending part of the 2011 season ranked outside the Class 1A polls, traditional power Kentwood High has bounced back in a big way.

The Kangaroos of coach David Currier have won four straight, including a pivotal 32-13 victory over Christian Life Academy last Friday. That win helped the Tangipahoa Parish-based school vault back into the rankings at No. 10.

Currier notes that the season has been a different kind of work in progress. The Kangaroos lost four players to season-ending knee injuries early in the year and had to rely on quarterback Harlan Miller more than expected.

Miller has delivered, rushing 1,170 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with 1,076 passing yards for 14 TDs.

Two players, power runner Torandon Watson and speedy Leslie Collins, have emerged as running threats as the season progressed.

This week, the Kangaroos (7-2, 4-0) host rival Southern Lab (7-2, 3-1) on Friday for another key game.

“We’ve got a share of the title, but Southern Lab can force a three-way tie for the title,” Currier said. “And they’re a rival.”

MHS-Woodlawn on Friday

The District 5-5A finale that sends McKinley High (4-5, 1-3) to play at Woodlawn High (4-5, 1-3) is a Friday game, instead of a Thursday game.

Schedules originally listed the contest as a Thursday game, but WHS coach Don Jones confirmed that the game will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Woodlawn.

Interestingly, both teams picked up forfeit wins from the same nondistrict opponent, Northside-Lafayette, late last week. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association ruling that called for the Vikings to forfeit all five of their wins because of an ineligible player is being appealed.

Class 5A

1. St. Paul’s (11) 9-0 132 1

2. Dutchtown 9-0 114 2

3. Byrd 8-0 104 3

4. Jesuit 9-0 103 4

5. West Monroe 7-2 81 6

6. Acadiana 7-2 74 7

7. Rummel 8-1 70 5

8. Carencro 8-1 56 8

9. Ouachita 7-2 43 9

10. Brother Martin 7-2 37 10

Others receiving votes: Barbe 13, West Jefferson 12, Higgins 9, Mandeville 7, East St. John 1, Ruston 1.

Class 4A

1. Neville (10) 9-0 131 1

2. Breaux Bridge (1) 8-1 115 3

3. Lutcher 8-1 114 4

4. St. Thomas More 8-1 98 5

5. Assumption 8-1 81 2

6. Teurlings 6-3 79 6

7. Karr 6-3 73 7

8. St. Augustine 6-3 52 9

9. O.P. Walker 5-2 38 10

10. McDonogh 35 5-4 34 8

Others receiving votes: Belle Chasse 15, South Terrebonne 13, Bastrop 10, Plaquemine 5.

Class 3A

1. St. Charles (11) 9-0 132 1

2. Patterson 8-0 120 2

3. Amite 8-1 111 3

4. Livonia 8-1 87 5

5. Notre Dame 6-3 77 6

6. Eunice 8-1 75 7

7. Loranger 8-1 64 4

8. Richwood 7-2 56 8

9. Parkview Baptist 6-3 48 9

10. Independence 6-3 26 10

Others receiving votes: Farmerville 23, Avoyelles 15, Jennings 12, Bossier 8, Port Allen 2, Marksville 1.

Class 2A

1. John Curtis (11) 8-0 132 1

2. Winnfield 9-0 121 2

3. University Lab 9-0 110 3

4. Catholic-N.I. 8-1 98 4

5. Episcopal-B.R. 8-1 86 5

6. Loreauville 7-2 74 6

7. Calvary Baptist 7-2 69 7

8. Menard 8-1 50 8

9. Kinder 8-1 39 9

10. Pope John Paul II 7-2 32 10

Others receiving votes: Evangel Christian 31, Many 13, Welsh 2, Lake Arthur 1.

Class 1A

1. Ouachita Chr. (11) 9-0 132 1

2. Haynesville 8-1 118 2

3. Vermilion Cath. 9-0 109 3

4. Mangham 9-0 101 4

5. Central Cath.-M.C. 8-1 86 5

6. Cedar Creek 7-2 60 6

7. West St. John 7-2 59 9

8. Elton 8-1 57 8

9. Westminster 7-2 53 10

10. Kentwood 7-2 26 NR

Others receiving votes: Block 24, St. Martin’s 19, St. Mary’s 15, St. John 5, Basile 2, Christian Life 2, Country Day 2.