But the philosophies and make-up of the two teams are more like 1966 than 1996.
“West Monroe is not a team that’s going to spread you out all over the field and then try to run around,” Carencro coach Brent Indest said. “They like to come right at you. We do things the same way.”
Seventh-seeded Carencro (13-1) meets No. 5 West Monroe (12-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday to concludes the Louisiana High School Athletic Association-State Farm Prep Classic in Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It is one of three title games set for Saturday, the final day of the two-day event. Second-seeded Winnfield (14-0) plays No. 1 John Curtis in the Class 2A final at 11 a.m. Another second-seeded team, St. Charles Catholic (14-0), takes on No. 4 Amite (12-1) in the 3A title game at 3 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $15 to $20 at the gate.
The Rebels of West Monroe were the 5A runner-up to Carencro’s District 3-5A rival Acadiana last year. The Bears are making their first title-game appearance since a 24-21 loss to West Monroe in that 1996 final.
“Carencro likes to play keep-away with their offense,” West Monroe coach Don Shows said. “They run the Air Force formation with a tight end as one wing back and a slot receiver as the other wingback.
“They have one guy (running back Alex Johnson) who’s rushed for (2,800) yards, so you know he’s got to be tired. He’s really good, and they get a big push up front.”
Johnson, who was the state’s top rusher during the regular season, now has 2,805 yards on 296 carries and has scored 33 touchdowns. He is averaging 200.4 yards per game.
Also crucial is the play of quarterback Jalen Nixon, who has 959 rushing yards and 19 TDs to go with 1,047 passing yards and nine more TDs.
Fullback Bubba Reeves has more than 700 rushing yards for a balanced West Monroe attack that is just as ground-oriented as the Carencro offense.
Jacob Tyson is another key component in the WMHS system.
Indest notes the similarity between the Rebels and Acadiana, the one team his Bears lost to in the regular season.
“They’re going to be a challenge for us because the teams we’ve had the most trouble with are the ones that are physical and come right at you,” Indest said. “I’d like to think what we do will pose some problems for them.
“The thing we have to do is win the battle up front. West Monroe’s defense makes it extremely hard to run the ball. We’ll need to fight for every yard we get on every down.”
Shows, who ranks fourth on Louisiana’s all-time wins list with 333 victories, downplays the notion that last year’s loss to Acadiana provides extra motivation.
“There ain’t but one way to go win the title, and that’s to go play better than the other team,” Shows said. “The past doesn’t affect this game. The only thing that could affect that is if one team out-dumbs the other with mistakes and penalties.”
Winnfield vs. John Curtis
RECORDS: Winnfield 14-0; Curtis 13-0.
LAST WEEK: Winnfield beat Calvary, 41-21; Curtis beat Evangel Christian, 38-6.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: WINNFIELD: RB Trey Gilbert, QB-ATH Alonzo Moore, WR D.J. Clark, DE Michael Patterson; CURTIS: TE Dillon Gordon, OT Anthony Taylor, RB Sherman Badie, DE Torrey Bell, DB Richard Allen.
NOTEWORTHY: It is the lone title game that matches the top two playoff seeds against each other. … Winnfield is the No. 2 seed, while Curtis is the top seed. … Winnfield makes its first title-game appearance since it beat Curtis to win the 2A title in 1982. … Curtis has won 23 of the 30 title games it has appeared in and has made 16 straight title-game appearances. … Badie has 1,132 rushing yards for Curtis, the 2A runner-up the past two years. … Gilbert, a Memphis commitment, helps leads Winnfield with 1,371 yards despite missing nearly four games with an injury. … Moore has 1,375 rushing yards. … Curtis’ J.T. Curtis is Louisiana’s all-time winningest coach with 505 victories.
vs. St. Charles Catholic
RECORDS: Amite 12-1; St. Charles 14-0.
LAST WEEK: Amite beat Marksville, 30-6; St. Charles beat Parkview, 24-21.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: AMITE: QB-DB Reginald Porter, FB-LB Juwaan Rogers, RB James Oden; ST. CHARLES: QB Donnie Savoie, WR Sammy Miller, RB Lazedrick Thompson, PK-P Patrick Juneau, DT Taylor Cochran, DB-WR Jeffrey Hall, LB Nicholas Montegut.
NOTEWORTHY: St. Charles is the second seed and makes its first title-game appearance since finishing as the 2A runner-up in 2006. … The Comets were also the 2A runner-up in 2005. … Fourth-seeded Amite won the 3A title in 2004 and makes its first title-game appearance since then. … Juneau kicked a 20-yard field goal in the closing seconds last week to give St. Charles its win. … St. Charles coach Frank Monica cracked the 200-win milestone and has a record of 202-61. … Amite’s Alden Foster coached St. Helena Central to the 2A title game in 2004. … AmiPorter has more than 2,600 yards of total offense, while Savoie has passed for 1,940 yards for St. Charles.
vs. West Monroe
RECORDS: Carencro 13-1; West Monroe 12-2.
LAST WEEK: Carencro beat Byrd, 34-21; West Monroe beat Mandeville, 26-14.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: CARENCRO: RB Alex Johnson, QB Jalen Nixon, OT Jordan Walker, DE Adam Clark, DE Jacoby Brisco, LB Devontre Malveaux. WEST MONROE: FB Bubba Reeves, QB Connor Osborne, OL Jay Hoogland, DE James McFarland, LB Burdeaux, DB-KR Xavier Woods.
NOTEWORTHY: Carencro is seeded seventh and is in the title game for the first time since 1996. That year, the Bears lost to West Monroe in the title game. … No. 2 seed WMHS was the 5A runner-up to another Lafayette area team, Acadiana, last season. … Carencro’s Johnson was the state’s top rusher in the regular season and now has 2,805 yards and 33 TDs. … Nixon adds 959 rushing yards and 19 TDs. … Reeves has more than 700 yards rushing for a balanced West Monroe attack. … West Monroe’s Don Shows has 333 career wins to rank fourth on Louisiana’s all-time wins list.