Some football playoff games are automatically deemed a “match made in heaven,” based on the teams’ strength and history.
The third week of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s playoffs will be rematch week for the Baton Rouge area. It starts in Class 5A with No. 3 Zachary (11-1) hosting No. 19 Scotlandville (9-3), a District 4-5A rival, in the quarterfinals. All games are 7 p.m. Friday.
“When we played Scotlandville the first time, it got out of hand early,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “They haven’t given up more than 15 points in any other game.
“No matter how you look at it, that’s stifling defense. We expect this game to be much closer and not like the last one.”
The Broncos, who beat the Hornets 41-7 in late September, face a district rival for the second straight week.
When his team lost 16-14 to rival Northeast in a Week 9 game, East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson told his players not to hang their heads and mentioned that they might see the Vikings again.
Anderson was right. Fourth-seeded EFHS (8-3) hosts No. 5 Northeast (9-2) in a 2A quarterfinal. The two rival schools are located just a few miles apart.
“Who knows, maybe now they’ll get the idea that coach knows what he’s talking about,” Anderson said with a laugh. “This isn’t about revenge or anything like that. Northeast made more plays than we did the first time.
“We made some mistakes that really hurt us. We need to eliminate those and make more plays ourselves.”
The most improbable rematch is in the Division IV select semifinals. Fifth-seeded Southern Lab (7-5) has won six in a row and faces No. 9 Madison Prep (8-4). SLHS’ streak started with a 63-6 win over Madison Prep in District 6-1A action.
Much has changed since then. Madison Prep upended top-seeded Vermilion Catholic, also the defending Division IV state champion 28-14 Friday night.
The Chargers are only in their second varsity season, but the schools have a unusual relationship/rivalry.
MPA coach Michael Roach was the longtime Southern Lab coach. Several Chargers used to attend Southern Lab, including Roach’s son Malcolm, a top prospect for 2016 as a tight end/defensive lineman.
“First of all, we know Madison Prep is a much-improved team from the time we played them,” SLHS coach Nick Mitchell said. “They’re playing very well, and any time you can take down a defending champion like Vermilion Catholic that says a lot about your program. Those guys work very hard.”
Mitchell said the MPA-SLHS game will likely be played at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium.
The next step
Top-seeded Plaquemine (11-1) advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in more than 20 years last season. The Green Devils lost to Landry-Walker in the quarterfinals and have a different goal in mind this week.
PHS hosts No. 9 South Terrebonne (10-1) in Class 4A quarterfinal action Friday.
“Last year was important because we made it to the quarterfinals,” Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. “We lost on the road. This year we’ve got a home game. Our goal is to get beyond that. We’ve anxious to learn about South Terrebonne and to get started on the week.”
Old vs. new
Top-seeded University High (11-0) has established itself as one of the up-and-coming teams with its coach Chad Mahaffey over the past four years. This week, the Cubs host No. 4 Notre Dame (9-2) in a Division II select semifinal.
Longtime Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook passed the 300 wins plateau early this season and now has a 307-79 record.
Meanwhile, No. 7 Parkview Baptist (9-2) hosts No. 3 St. Charles Catholic (9-2) in the other Division II semifinal. The teams met in the 2011 3A semifinals, and SCHS went on to win the state title.
Top-seeded Livonia (11-0) travels for the first time in the playoffs, heading to No. 9 Rayville (9-3). There’s an intriguing matchup closer to home.
Fifth-seeded West Feliciana (10-2) hosts No. 4 Union Parish (11-1), the defending 3A state champion.
WFHS, University and Parkview all are from District 7-3A.
Eighth-seeded White Castle (8-3) travels to top-seeded Mangham (11-0) in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
Both are known for their prolific offenses. Mangham scored 54 points in its second-round playoff win. White Castle scored 64 in its win over Elton.