Based on precedent this should be a warmup act for University High and Parkview Baptist.
Since the local powers joined District 6-3A three years ago, they’ve formed one of the area’s most anticipated, must-see games that’s only served a prelude to the postseason.
Each time the paths of U-High and Parkview crossed in the select, Division II state playoffs, including just over 11 months ago in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the Cubs outlasted the Eagles, 46-32, in the state championship game.
“It’s been put on fast-forward with us playing twice a year,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said of the growing rivalry. “There’s a familiarity with the teams you notice. That sort of makes it intriguing to see how it plays out.”
The latest installment in the series features No. 3 Parkview Baptist (4-2, 3-0) traveling to No. 1 U-High (5-1, 3-0) for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday with the winner getting a leg up in the district race and the loser, a possible rematch next month.
“It’s going to be a real good game,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “We both know each other very well. We know what they like to do, and they know what we like to do.”
Not only did the state championship game matchup bring the series to another level, but there’s added interest following the manner in which the title game played out.
Of the nine state championships conducted last year, there was arguably none better than U-High overcoming an early two-touchdown deficit for a 16-14 halftime lead. There were two lead changes before the Cubs pulled ahead on the strength of title game-MVP Nicholas Brossette’s 272-yard, three-touchdown effort.
“Each game has had some different characteristics,” Mahaffey said of the series. “They’ve kind of been very different.”
Mayet pointed toward special teams — a turning point in the state-title setback with three blocked punts — being a critical area once again Friday.
“Whoever has the advantage on special teams can have the advantage in the outcome of the game,” he said. “I thought special teams was the separating factor in the Dome.”
Both teams have played challenging nondistrict schedules with U-High suffering its lone loss to Class 5A’s No. 1 team Rummel, 24-7, while Parkview dropped consecutive games to Riverside (No. 4 in Class 2A and John Curtis (No. 4 in 5A).
PBS follows the lead of quarterback Reggie Hayes (65-406, 9 TDs) and running back Kayin White (60-511, six TDs) on offense and linebackers Matthew Murla (53 tackles, including seven tackles behind the line) and Xavier Davis (49 tackles) on defense.
Senior quarterback D.J. White, who’s completed 60 of 101 passes for 900 yards and 10 TDs, triggers U-High’s fast-paced attack with help from running backs Michael Hollins (85-585, 11 TDs) and Titus Nelson (42-322, five TDs).
“Each year the teams are going to do what they do but there’s always some different wrinkles or some key moments in the games,” Mahaffey said. “We’re excited to see what will happen.”