Another week means another step up in competition for Class 1A St. John. The Eagles host rival Brusly, a Class 3A school, Thursday night.

A lot has changed since last season when Brusly beat St. John 49-0 in their regular-season opener. After starting 0-5 last season, St. John advanced to the second round of the Division IV select playoffs.

The Eagles beat 2A Redemptorist 13-6 in the Redemptorist Jamboree.

All those factors make the 7 p.m. game at Plaquemine’s Canova Stadium intriguing. Also Thursday is Jewel Sumner vs. Mentorship Academy.

“They look like a much-improved team from last year,” Brusly coach Erik Willis said. “They look like they have a number of good players, and we expect a real good game out of them.”

The Eagles hope to build on last season’s momentum, but Brusly offers a significant obstacle.

“Getting prepared for Brusly is tough,” St. John coach Oliver “Crickett” Crockett said. “They are a very good team. They are very well coached. They have some great athletes, and they really get after it.”

Brusly shut out False River 34-0 in its jamboree.

Willis said his team seeks to improve in all three phases of the game.

“It’s just Week 1; we’ve got a long season,” Willis said. “Nobody knows a lot about each other at this point. We have to go into the game just focusing on ourselves.”

The friendly rivalry based on location may soon become a true rivalry fueled by competition. Crocket said he wants to see fight and growth from his team.

“Win, lose or draw with Brusly this week, if our kids go out there and compete, and we feel like we did the best this week and improved, we can take that as a great start to our season,” he said.