Livonia and Amite hope to use their home field advantage to garner victories in Friday’s Class 3A semifinal football playoff games.
No. 5 West Feliciana (11-2) plays at top-seeded Livonia (12-0). No. 15 North Webster (10-3) is at No. 3 Amite (11-2).
“We lost last season in the semifinals at Union Parish,” Amite coach Alden Foster said. “We’re glad to be home for the semifinals. This is our ‘unfinished business tour.’ We’ve got two steps left to finish.”
Livonia is 26-1 the past two seasons with its only loss in the 2013 state title game (33-27) to Union Parish. Another victory for West Feliciana would give the Saints 12 wins for the first time and their first trip to the state final. Amite is in the semifinals for the third time in four seasons and has four state titles and three runner-up finishes in its storied program.
An overflow crowd is expected at Livonia.
“I’m sure it’s going to be wild and crazy with an electric atmosphere,” WFHS coach Robb Odom said. “This is what you play the game for. It’s win or go home time.”
“Football in December is always exciting,” said first-year Livonia coach Guy Mistretta, who coached Redemptorist to the 2005 state title. “We’ve brought in extra bleachers and opened another parking lot for this.”
“Coach Mistretta has been in situations like this before,” Odom said. “Livonia does everything well. They’re big and fast on both sides of the ball.”
Senior running back Malcolm Dedrick has 1,802 rushing yards and scored 27 TDs for Livonia. Cee Jay Powell is the quarterback.
“Malcolm Dedrick really makes us go,” Mistretta said. “Our defense has really played well.”
Quarterback Ryan Reed and receiver Jazz Ferguson, an LSU football commitment, lead the WFHS offense and defense. Reed has over 1,600 yards rushing.
“Reed is special and exactly what you look for in an option attack,” Mistretta said. “He’s a competitor. They run a lot of misdirection, so we’ll have to be disciplined on defense.”
This is WFHS’ second trip to the semis in three years.
“We’ve had a total team effort,” Odom said. “The kids have been focused all year. I’m proud of them.”
Amite has held eight opponents to seven or fewer points with five shutouts. Defensive leaders include end Brad Porter (23 sacks, 72 tackles in regular season), linebacker Jefferey Devon (127 tackles) and linebacker Norman Selders (96 tackles). Brandon Burton and Joshua Perry also made six interceptions each.
Junior running back Devin White leads North Webster. Kenner Harrell has over 1,500 yards rushing for Amite. Left tackle Fred Torrence (6-foot-3, 327) has opened many running lanes.
“We’ve got to slow them down and be smart on special teams,” Foster said. “We want to control the line of scrimmage.”