Southern Lab-Kentwood highlights games to decide district titles _lowres

Advocate staff photos by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall speaks with quarterback Bladrick Veal during a timeout against White Castle on Thursday at Baker High School.

Marcus Randall has heard plenty of the stories. He has friends and co-workers who played in games there. His older brother, Eric, coached the Kittens in games there.

Randall, the first-year Southern Lab coach, gets his chance as Kentwood and SLHS, renew one of the area’s most notable Class 1A football rivalries.

“I’ve been hearing about this game for years, and now I’ll finally get a chance to be part of it,” Randall said. “Everybody’s got a story about Southern Lab and Kentwood.

“It’s a great place to go play and the most important thing is we both have something big to play for — the district championship.”

Third-ranked Kentwood (8-1, 4-0) hosts No. 4 Southern Lab (6-2, 4-0) for a Friday game that will decide the District 6-1A title.

Is it the perfect way to finish the regular season? Randall thinks so. The game helps highlight the schedule of Week 10 games in the Baton Rouge area.

There are four Thursday games. Several teams seek wins that would put the finishing touches on outright district titles on Friday. The list includes Dutchtown and Zachary in 5A, Plaquemine in 4A, University High in 3A and Madison Prep in 2A.

Third-ranked Lutcher (8-1, 6-0) is the only other team to face the same situation as Southern Lab. The Bulldogs travel to Joe Brown Stadium in New Orleans to face No. 2 De La Salle (9-0, 6-0) for a game that will decide the District 9-3A title.

Top-ranked University (8-1, 6-0) hosts Donaldsonville (3-6, 3-3) seeking a win to wrap up the 6-2A title. It’s the same for No. 7 Madison Prep (9-0) in 6-2A. The Chargers host Christian Life (5-4, 2-4) at Memorial Stadium.

A year ago, Southern Lab beat Kentwood 20-6 on the way to a berth in the Division IV select title game. The Kittens held Alabama commitment Shyheim Carter in check most of the night. Carter, projected as a defensive back in college, is a dual threat quarterback for the Kangaroos.

“The thing that jumps right out at you is their speed,” SLHS’ Randall said of Kentwood. “They have Carter, and he’s a guy who can make plays all over the field. They have several guys who can do that. It’s a great challenge.”

Dutchtown (7-2, 4-0) also faces a familiar foe. The Griffins host Ascension Parish rival St. Amant (7-2, 2-2) looking to clinch the outright 5-5A title on the heels of a dominating 42-7 win over Catholic High (6-3, 3-1) in Week 9.

“Any time you play one of the other Ascension teams, you know it’s going to be a bloodbath,” Saia said. “It’s so intense, and we know they’re a good football team.

“St. Amant had a couple of weeks where games sort of got away from them, and we don’t expect that this week. I think we’re a pretty good team when we don’t make mistakes and hurt ourselves. The goal for us to finish strong.”

In District 4-5A, seventh-ranked Zachary (8-1, 4-0) travels to Walker (5-4, 0-4) to close out the regular season. Plaquemine (6-3, 4-0) hosts Belaire (5-4, 1-3) to close out its 6-4A season. Another 6-4A game that should attract attention is Woodlawn (5-4, 3-1) at Livonia (7-2, 3-1).

“Coming into this district we knew based on last year that Plaquemine (4A semifinalist) and Livonia (3A state champion) were championship caliber teams,” Woodlawn coach Daniel Luquet said. “Livonia is a great place to play … what an atmosphere.

“One of the things we wanted to do was play quality programs and experience different atmospheres. That’s why we played Destrehan, St. Amant and Hahnville … to be prepared as much as possible for challenges like this.”

Lutcher coach Tim Detillier sees his team’s schedule much the same way going into the Bulldogs’ showdown with De La Salle.

“I feel like we got tested by our schedule early in the season,” Detillier said. “And I’ve got to believe that should serve us well this week and in the playoffs.”