If you asked high school football fans before the season to pick two Class 5A/4A teams that would meet each other as unbeatens in Week 5 there would have been several responses.
How about Zachary and Dutchtown? What about Catholic High and Teurlings Catholic?
Or maybe even Denham Springs and St. Michael the Archangel?
Assumption High and Walker High probably wouldn’t have made the list. Yet the teams are the only unbeatens squaring off in Week 5 in the Baton Rouge area.
“I think it’s fair to say this might be the biggest game in a couple of areas (Friday night),” Assumption coach Tony Paine said.
“You’ve got a couple of teams that have been down for a few years and haven’t had a lot of success.
“Now we’re both unbeaten and playing really well. I don’t know what will happen, but I expect it to be a big-time atmosphere.”
Assumption (4-0) of District 7-4A travels to play Walker (4-0) of District 5-5A for a nondistrict game that helps highlight Friday’s schedule.
Another notable All-5A nondistrict game is eighth-ranked Zachary (3-1) at Dutchtown. Catholic High (2-2) travels to Lafayette to take on third-ranked Teurlings Catholic of 4A (3-1) with CHS coach Dale Weiner looking to garner his 300th career win.
“I told our guys last Saturday that this one should feel different than the others we’ve played,” first-year Walker coach Brandon Lawley said.
“For us, this is like going from a level three or four to a nine competitively speaking.
“Assumption is a quality team. They’re not the kind of team that is going to beat themselves. They’ve only had two turnovers that we’ve seen on film going back to the jamboree. This is easily our biggest challenge so far.”
Calling this game the turnaround special would not be an exaggeration. Assumption was 3-7 a year ago but has thrived in its second season with a run-oriented flexbone offense. The Mustangs are using a 4-2-5 defense for the first time.
Walker had some close losses but finished 0-10 a year ago. The Wildcats use a spread offense and are led by quarterback Terry Bozeman, who has thrown for 1,034 yards and 16 touchdowns.
That’s a contrast to AHS’ Da’Ron Williams, who is averaging 100 rushing yards per game. Running backs Melvin Young of Assumption and Jalen Hills of Walker also are key threats.
“The thing we have to do is shorten the game,” Paine said. “The Bozeman kid is as good as anybody we’ve seen, and he likes to throw it around. There’s a reason colleges are recruiting him.
“How our defense matches up with their offense is only part of it. Sometimes offense can be your best defense. Last week, we were able to do that, and it was a big reason why we beat Lakeshore. We didn’t score every time, but we were able to flip field position and eat up the clock.”
Lawley has stressed the importance of cutting down on mistakes.
“We’ve scored a lot of points the first four weeks,” Lawley said. “But we’ve also had some big plays called back because of penalties 25 yards away from the ball.
“We’re expecting a great crowd and atmosphere. For us, the margin for error is going be a lot smaller.”
About the Bears
Catholic’s Weiner stresses the importance of the game for his team and not the possibility of a 300th win.
“Teurlings has a great program and a wonderful facility,” Weiner said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Teurlings Catholic coach Sonny Charpentier enters with 181 wins. Charpenier knows something about other notable winning numbers. He played for legendary coach Dick McCloskey, who won 286 games at Franklin’s Hanson Memorial.