Northside High’s been big-game hunters since the spring, scrimmaging Class 5A quarterfinalist Central, and again in the fall, taking on New Iberia, a Class 5A regional round playoff team.
In keeping with that theme, the Vikings open the 2014 season at home against reigning Class 5A state champion Acadiana, travel to Carencro and host Division II state semifinalist Shreveport’s Evangel Christian Academy.
“There’s been nothing easy about anybody we play,” said coach Trev Faulk, who enters his third season. “We try to find as good a quality opponent as we can, and we’re going to go line up and play. I’m excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us.”
The Acadiana-Northside matchup is among the marquee season openers in the Acadiana area which also features Division II state runner-up University High visiting Teurlings Catholic and reigning Division IV state champion Vermilion Catholic visiting Division III state semifinalist Catholic-New Iberia.
Breaux Bridge makes the short trip to visit New Iberia at Lloyd G. Porter Stadium, with Carencro hosting Westgate and Lafayette entertaining Kaplan in other games of interest.
Quarterback Ethan Rose (11 carries, 133 yards) may have provided a spark to Northside’s preparations this week with a 14-yard scoring run in the latter stages of Friday’s Kiwanis Jamboree game, enabling the Vikings to rally for an 18-14 win over Comeaux.
Tulane defensive back commitment Malik Eugene rushed six times for 102 yards and two TDs, propelling Acadiana to a 30-0 jamboree win over St. Martinville. The Rams also boast LSU commitment Bry’Kiethon Mouton at tight end.
“We had a lot of positives in the jamboree,” Faulk said. “When wins have been hard to come by the last couple years, any time we’re keeping score we want to come out with a ‘W.’ It’s a big confidence boost for our kids.”
For the third time in a calendar year Teurlings meets U-High with the one obvious difference being the Rebels will be at home.
TCHS coach Sonny Charpentier said a lot more than the game’s location will have to change in order for his club to fare better when the Cubs scored wins of 41-15 and 55-30, the latter being a state quarterfinal game, over the Rebels.
“We didn’t play any better the second time,” Charpentier said. “We weren’t in either game at all. They were over before we got out of the first quarter, and that was the disappointing thing, especially the second time.”
Charpentier said he hopes to see improvement in the areas of turnovers and standing up better against the run — two facets that were evident in Teurlings’ 21-14 loss to Catholic-NI.
Junior quarterback Cole Kelley was a bright spot, though, completing 13 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns with Sage Leblanc catching four passes for 56 yards.
“It’s a new season, a new team,” Charpentier said. “We still have question marks we’re still trying to answer. Make no bones about it we don’t want to be uncompetitive as we were against them last year.”
Catholic-NI looks forward to having its first three games of the season at home — a stretch with Vermilion Catholic, Erath and Patterson. The Panthers follow that with consecutive road games against Class 3A powers E.D. White and Notre Dame of Crowley.
“Someone asked me the other day about district,” CHSNI coach Brent Indest said. “We can’t afford to think about district. We look at that like it’s a whole season away because of the quality of people we play. It’s nice to be able to play the first three at home. It gives us the opportunity to come out of the gate real well.”
CHSNI relied on a productive ground game in its jamboree win over Teurlings. Seth Pierre had 13 carries for 80 yards, while quarterback Jason Pellerin, an Ole Miss commitment, combined for 93 yards and two TDs.
“We had a great start with Teurlings, being able to step up and beat a quality 4A school,” Indest said. “I feel we’re going in the right direction, but after watching film we still have to make a lot of corrections. We’ve got a lot to work on.”