East Feliciana edges McKinley on late TD in EBR Kickoff Classics _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Belaire quarterback Tejuan Short hands the ball to running back DaQuan Hicks in a jamboree against Madison Prep last month.

There are times when it just doesn’t matter whether you’re playing a nearby rival or a team from another city that you know very little about.

So while skeptics might look at the Week 3 football schedule for Baton Rouge schools in Class 5A and 4A and say there are few major showdowns, football coaches see something else entirely.

“I want us to execute and play more of a complete game on offense,” Belaire coach Claude Coleman said. “Our defense has played 48 minutes every week so far, so I have no problems there.

“Coming into the year we knew the progress would be slow on offense. With a young quarterback, we’ve wanted to take it slow. District is just a few weeks away, and now the time for us to put it together.”

Class 4A Belaire (2-0) puts its unbeaten record on the line, hosting rival Broadmoor (0-2) for a nondistrict game that is among the 7 p.m. Friday games to note. The schedule is sprinkled with games that match teams from different 5A districts against each other and others that feature teams from different classifications like 5A Broadmoor and Belaire.

St. Amant (2-0) of 5A hosts Class 3A No. 6 Lutcher (2-0) in a rare game that matches unbeatens. Some teams, like 4A Plaquemine (1-1), hit the road for key nondistrict games. PHS travels to Lafayette to take on the third-ranked 4A team, St. Thomas More (2-0).

Denham Springs (2-0) of 5A travels to Covington to take on 5A St. Paul’s in its first road test. Fourth-ranked Zachary (2-0) of District 4-5A travels to Gonzales to play East Ascension (1-1) of 5-5A in perhaps the most notable crossover contest.

In his first season, Coleman has succeeded in more than doubling the Bengals’ roster size. With a competitive District 6-4A that includes Livonia, defending league champion Plaquemine and Woodlawn, Coleman, the former Capitol coach, knows improvement is a must. The Bengals seek a 3-0 start for the first time in a decade.

Coleman credits freshman quarterback Travon Myles for his improvement and now seeks sustained drives and added improvement.

Dutchtown coach Benny Saia is one of the coaches who understands where Coleman is coming from. The 5A Griffins (1-1) rebounded from a Week 1 loss to notch a win over Central last week. Saia wants much more when Dutchtown hosts Class 5A Hammond (0-2).

Running back Fitell Bolding and quarterback Jared Sparks are the offensive leaders for DHS of 5-5A.

“There were some things I thought we did well last week,” Saia said. “But as far as I’m concerned we haven’t played a complete game yet. We’ve still got to prove we can come out and play 48 minutes because that’s something we’ll have to do in our district.

“They may be 0-2, but this is not one of those teams we can sleep on. They are talented and athletic and if we get caught out of position they’ll be able to take it to the house. And we’ve got a few guys banged up so we may have to rely on different people in a few other places.”

Belaire’s Coleman agrees. He sees Broadmoor as improving and dangerous.

“You can never underestimate your opponent,” Coleman said.