Challenges await in Week 3 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano: 'We wanted a schedule that would be tough enough to challenge us and test us. And we got it. Playing a team like (St. Thomas More) is only going to make us better for district.'

If you believe that each game in the high school football season is part of a progression, Week 3 is definitely a big one for you.

Ditto that for a number of Baton Rouge area teams set to face their stiffest challenges yet.

“We’re 2-0, but all we’ve shown so far is we can play 24 minutes,” St. Amant High coach David Oliver said. “In the jamboree, we played a half. In our first two games, we played a great first half.

“This week we’ve got to prove we can play two halves — 48 minutes. There’s no other option. Lutcher knows how to play two halves. They’ve done it, so we’ve got to be ready to do the same.”

St. Amant (2-0) of District 5-5A hosts eighth-ranked Lutcher (2-0) of Class 3A in a game of unbeatens that helps highlight a busy Friday schedule.

One of the biggest games of the week is set for Thursday and features a local power looking to get back on the right track. Things won’t get easier for top-ranked Parkview Baptist (1-1) of Class 3A. After losing to Class 2A No. 9 Riverside Academy 27-19 on Thursday, the Eagles host Louisiana’s winningest program ever, John Curtis (2-0).

Ascension Catholic (1-1) plays Thursday, traveling to unbeaten Central Catholic (2-0).

“It’s the same old Curtis,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “They’re solid in every phase of the game and extremely good. As it always is in practice, the focus is going to be on us and what we need to do to get better.

“Riverside is an outstanding football team and very talented. We made some selfish mistakes with penalties and did a lot to put ourselves behind the chains. We’ve got to be better, no question.”

There is no shortage of Friday night challenges for Baton Rouge teams.

For example, fifth-ranked Zachary (2-0) of District 4-5A travels to Gonzales to play East Ascension (1-1) of 5-5A.

Denham Springs (2-0) is the 4-5A team facing perhaps the most pivotal test. The Yellow Jackets, who have outscored their opponents 73-0 in two games at home, travel to Covington to play 10th-ranked St. Paul’s (1-1).

“We’re facing a very good St. Paul’s team and doing it on the road,” DSHS coach Dru Nettles said.

“At this point in the season you’re looking for a gauge of how good you are and where you are with some things you do. This is a good one for us.”

Plaquemine (1-1) feels the same way about its 4A matchup at third-ranked St. Thomas More in Lafayette. The Green Devils lost to Class 5A No. 6 Brother Martin in Week 1.

“We wanted a schedule that would be tough enough to challenge us and test us,” PHS coach Paul Distefano said. “And we got it. Playing a team like (St. Thomas More) is only going to make us better for district.”

Here and there

Third-ranked University (1-1) of Class 3A plays a 5A team for the second time. The Cubs travel to Mandeville.

Top-ranked Southern Lab (1-1) of 1A looks to rebound from its loss to U-High on the road. The Kittens travel to 2A West St. John (2-0).

Madison Prep (2-0), a first-time 2A team and a surprise to some, travels to 5A East St. John. Two other 2A unbeatens, Episcopal (2-0 at Country Day) and Dunham (2-0 at Westminster) also travel.

Walker of 4-5A seeks its first 3-0 start in more than decade. The Wildcats host 2A Friendship Capitol (0-2).