Albany at Thomas Jefferson (Hoss Memtsas)
Last year: Albany won 37-7.
The buzz: Thomas Jefferson struggled in last week’s jamboree falling 28-0, but it was against a solid John Ehret team. Senior QB Tyler Lavergne (756 passing yards in 2013) and RB Donte Sincere lead the offense while the defense returns eight starters. Neither team made it to the Class 3A playoffs last season.
Ben Franklin at Ridgewood
Last year: Ben Franklin won 33-0.
The buzz: Experienced offensive line, plus the return of RB Jack Heyl, QB Ronald Bailey and WR Charles Hutton should help Falcons get another season-opening win. Eagles looking to snap a four-game losing streak after winning just two games in 2013.
Bonnabel at Fontainebleau
Last year: Fontainebleau won 28-12.
The buzz: Bonnabel beat Grace King 13-0 in a jamboree last week, rushing for more than 130 yards. Maurice Britton and Jarred Ambrose accounted for the Bruins’ scores. Fontainebleau beat Live Oak 9-7, thanks to field goals of 40, 35 and 42 yards by Tyler Olivier.
Brother Martin at Patterson
Last year: Brother Martin won 21-12.
The buzz: Crusaders have a solid pair of running backs in Jared West and Bruce Jordan-Swilling. Brother Martin beat E.D. White 28-0 in jamboree action last week. The Crusaders outgained the Cardinals 357-57. Brother Martin quarterback Jake Broggi was 12 of 15 for 187 yards and one touchdown. Patterson, a No. 4 seed in the 3A playoffs last season which reached the quarterfinals, beat Morgan City 27-12 in last week’s jamboree.
Carver vs. Lake Area (Pan Am)
Last year: Did not play
The buzz: Junior RB Rodney Major is a key piece for the Rams, who won’t have any seniors this season with the school moving to become a charter school. 2013 standouts Carlius Joseph and Romalus Walker are now at Landry-Walker. WR Cyron Johnson leads the Leopards, who are playing as an independent again this season.
Chalmette at Slidell
Last year: Slidell won 10-9.
The buzz: Chalmette defeated Riverdale 24-0 in jamboree action last week. East Jefferson, the defending Class 4A state champion, is unranked by the LSWA, but is No. 8 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10. Slidell beat East Jefferson 7-0 in a jamboree last week. There were 15 turnovers in the game.
Ecole Classique at Country Day
Last year: Country Day won 41-0.
The buzz: Country Day is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A and No. 8 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10. Jase Griffin rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries in a 24-7 jamboree win over Fisher last week.
Haynes vs. Crescent City (Muss Bertolino)
Last year: Haynes won 29-6.
The buzz: The Yellow Jackets are competing as an independent again this season, but must do so without two-way star Josh Gebo, who graduated. Haynes got off to a fast start last season (3-0) before losing six of its last seven games. Eros Sanchez makes his coaching debut for the Pioneers.
Helen Cox at Northshore
Last year: Northshore won 24-22.
The buzz: Versatile QB Dion Ray, a Louisiana Lafayette commitment, is one of the most exciting players in the area and will likely give opponents fits this season. The Cougars look to get off to a good start after dropping first two games in 2013. Northshore, meanwhile will try to snap a seven-game skid after starting last season 3-0 last year.
Higgins at East Jefferson
Last year: East Jefferson won 38-0.
The buzz: No one knew how good East Jefferson was when it blanked the Hurricanes in last season’s season opener. It was the first of 15 consecutive wins for the Warriors, who went on to claim the school’s first state title. But most of the pieces from that team are gone, including the head coach. The Marc Martin era begins in Metairie, while Craig Laborde takes the reins at Higgins. The Hurricanes have changed the offense and will spread the field more this season.
Holy Cross at Covington
Last year: Holy Cross won 27-19.
The buzz: The Tigers are led by wide receiver Michael Chigbu (a Georgia commitment) and RB Tre Turner, one of the state’s top juniors. It’ll also be the coaching debut of Eric Rebaudo, who replaced the retired Barry Wilson. RB Josh Bickham is the go-to guy for the Lions.
Jesuit at Ponchatoula
Last year: Jesuit won 28-23.
The buzz: Jesuit is ranked No. 6 in Class 5A and in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10. Ponchatoula is No. 8 in Class 5A. Ponchatoula quarterback Christian Campbell is a Georgia Tech commitment. Jesuit quarterback Trey LaForge passed for more than 2,300 yards last season.
John Curtis at Mandeville
Last year: Did not play.
The buzz: Curtis is the No. 1 team in the state, both in Class 3A and in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10. Curtis, led by QB Myles Washington and DB Hunter Dale, beat Covington 28-7 in jamboree action last week. Mandeville beat Franklinton 10-7.
Karr at St Paul’s
Last year: Karr won 34-12.
The buzz: Cougars are ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by the LSWA and ranked No. 9 in The New Orleans Advocate Large School Super 10. St. Paul’s is ranked 10th in Super 10. The Cougars are replacing almost entire squad that reached the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for a fourth consecutive season last year, but have LSU commit Isaiah Washington to lead the defense. The Wolves take their first test on a rough three-game stretch with Jesuit and McDonogh 35 to follow.
KIPP Renaissance at Central
Last year: Did not play.
The buzz: KIPP Renaissance begins its second season. QB Justin Hull was solid in last week’s jamboree victory over Sophie B. Wright. S/RB Kevin Henry and WR Terrell Chatman lead Central, which topped Baker 21-0 in last week’s jamboree.
McMain at Newman
Last year: Newman won 56-30.
The buzz: Newman is ranked No. 6 in Class 2A and No. 2 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10. Newman lost to De La Salle 22-19 in last week’s jamboree game. The Greenies gave up more than 360 yards of offense. McMain lost to McDonogh 35 26-22. McMain quarterback Darnell Williams passed for two touchdowns and ran for one.
Miller-McCoy at Lakeshore
Last year: Lakeshore won 55-54 in double overtime
The buzz: Fullback David Ducre, an LSU commit, and quarterback Dylan Fields give the Titans a solid 1-2 punch on offense. The Lions counter with quarterback Melvin Johnson, one of nine returning starters on offense.
Pearl River at Pine
Last year: Pine won 36-8.
The buzz: Pearl River lost to Hannan 28-15 in last week’s jamboree. Pine beat East Feliciana 22-16.
Riverdale at Hannan
Last year: Hannan won 38-27.
The buzz: Hannan defeated Pearl River 28-15 in last week’s jamboree. Riverdale lost to Chalmette 24-0 in jamboree action. Rebels senior Donte Jackson won the Class 4A 100- and 200-meter dashes at last year’s state track meet.
Riverside at Evangel
Last year: Evangel won 29-22.
The buzz: Riverside is ranked No. 7 in Class 2A and No. 3 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10. Evangel is No. 3 in Class 3A. Riverside is regrouping after the loss of starting quarterback Deuce Wallace, who transferred to Tennessee over the summer.
Rummel at East St. John
Last year: Rummel won 14-0.
The buzz: Game of the Week in the New Orleans. The Raiders, riding a six-game winning streak and coming off two consecutive state titles, are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A and No. 2 in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10 and No. 15 nationally by USA Today. East St. John is ranked No. 4 by The New Orleans Advocate (unranked in 5A by the LSWA). Wildcats have plenty of weapons, including do-it-all Xavier Lewis (LSU commit). Wildcats looking for better start than 2013 when they began 0-3.
Salmen at Hahnville
Last year: Hahnville won 13-7.
The buzz: Hahnville is unranked in the Class 5A poll, but comes in at No. 7 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10. This is the official home debut for first-year Tigers coach Nick Saltaformaggio, who moved over from East Jefferson in March. Jatairie Hudson scored once on offense and once on defense as Salmen beat Bogalusa 21-0 in a jamboree last week.
Sophie B. Wright at East Iberville
Last year: Did not play.
The buzz: QB Derek Robinson, who threw for 1,448 yards last season, is back for the Warriors and he has his top two receivers returning. It’s the first of five consecutive road games for Sophie B. Wright. The Tigers return eight starters on both sides of the ball off last year’s team that was winless.
South Lafourche at Landry-Walker
Last year: Landry-Walker won 7-0.
The buzz: Landry-Walker is ranked No. 3 in both the Class 4A state poll and The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10. Landry-Walker defeated St. Augustine 13-7 in last week’s jamboree. South Lafourche beat Miller-McCoy 27-12.
South Plaquemines at Belle Chasse
Last year: Belle Chasse won 54-22.
The buzz: South Plaquemines beat Gueydan 30-0 in a jamboree last week. Belle Chasse beat Central Lafourche 22-0.
Southern Lab at St. Charles
Last year: St. Charles won 42-14.
The buzz: St. Charles is ranked No. 5 in Class 3A and No. 4 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10. Southern Lab is ranked No. 4 in Class 1A. St. Charles lost to Riverside 17-13 in jamboree action. Southern Lab lost to Hahnville 42-12.
St. Martin’s at Lusher
Last year: Lusher won 47-7.
The buzz: Former Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard begins his reign as head coach of the Saints. Ricard inherits a team that returns five starters on offense. Quarterback Louis Landrum III, the coach’s son, leads the Lions offense that put up big numbers early in the season before fizzling out late.
Warren Easton at St. Amant
Last year: Easton won 31-29.
The buzz: Easton is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by the LSWA, No. 1 in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10, and No. 14 nationally by USA Today. Eagles WR Tyron Johnson is considered by some to be the nation’s top receiver. St. Amant beat East Ascension 21-14 in last week’s jamboree.
West Jefferson at Destrehan
Last year: Destrehan won 54-28
The buzz: Destrehan is ranked No. 5 in Class 5A and in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10. The Wildcats have handed the quarterback duties to sophomore Marquise Darensbourg. The Wildcats scored once on offense, once on defense and once on special teams in a 21-13 win over Lutcher last week. West Jefferson lost to Shaw 18-7 last week. Colby Ransaw’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Crayton was the only score for the Bucs last week.