If you wanted to write a “Friday Night Lights” type of script based on one week of Louisiana’s high school football season, Week 9 in Baton Rouge might be a good place to start.
“There’s really nothing like it,” Zachary High coach David Brewerton said. “It’s the ninth week of the season and you get to go on the road to play with a district title at stake.
“To me, you can’t ask for much more than that. Having the chance to do what no other Zachary team has done — win a 5A district title outright — is special.”
Brewerton’s ninth-ranked Broncos (7-1, 4-0) travel to Denham Springs (5-3, 4-0) for a game that will help decide the District 4-5A title. In 6-4A, unbeaten St. Michael the Archangel (8-0, 2-0) hosts seventh-ranked Plaquemine (7-1, 2-0) at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium also with a title on the line.
Those key showdowns and rivalry games accent a Week 9 schedule that has one Thursday game.
Belaire (3-5, 0-2) travels to Lutcher (4-4, 1-2) for a 6 p.m. Thursday contest also in District 6-4A.
The list of top games to note in 5A starts with the Zachary-Denham Springs game. It will be the Broncos’ first road game in a month. Denham Springs is coming off a loss to Class 3A No. 1 University, but coach Dru Nettles said his team will be ready.
“Zachary was already a good program, and he (Brewerton) has come in and they’re making a push to go to the top,” Nettles said.
“Before the season, if you gave a team the choice of being able to play for a district title at home in either Week 9 or Week 10, I think most would book that every time. I know I would. It should be a great atmosphere.”
Sixth-ranked Catholic High (7-1, 3-0) is the lone unbeaten in 5-5A. The Bears host Woodlawn (5-3, 1-2) at Olympia Stadium. The game many eyes will focus on is one of the area’s best known rivalries in East Ascension (5-3, 2-1) at St. Amant (4-4, 1-2).
The district stakes also are high for St. Michael and Plaquemine.
Thanks to a group of 22 seniors, St. Michael has reversed its fortunes from a 4-7 record in 2013. Plaquemine looks to move closer to its second straight 6-4A crown.
“Last year we only had nine seniors, and we were playing a lot of juniors who were first-year starters,” SMHS coach Paul Varnado said. “Those guys really dedicated themselves over the summer and have been great leaders. This is a very unselfish group.
“Plaquemine will be our toughest challenge so far. They’re big, and they have a lot of guys who can make plays.”
Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano returned the compliment to the Warriors.
“I know people have criticized their schedule, and I don’t get that,” Distefano said. “But in my mind, St. Michael is a solid veteran team. I got to see them in the first half of their game with Broadmoor last week, and I was impressed.”
The pivotal game in District 7-3A also is easy to spot.
Top-ranked University High (8-0, 4-0) travels to West Feliciana (7-1, 3-1), which has won four straight since losing its district opener to Port Allen.
Two other notable district games also are rivalry games. In District 6-2A, East Feliciana (5-2, 3-0) hosts Northeast (6-1, 2-1). Ascension Catholic (6-2, 2-1) travels to White Castle (7-1, 3-0) for an 8-1A showdown that also is a rival game.
“This one goes all the way back to when Clinton and Jackson (the forerunners of EFHS) played Northeast,” East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson said.
“You’ve had people in the communities talking about this one since back in the summer, both the fans and the players.”