Photos: Cubs conquer Kittens; Zachary too much for Catholic High; St. Amant rolls in Week 2 _lowres

Marcus Randall

Advocate staff file photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON

By the time former LSU quarterback Marcus Randall took over Southern Lab’s football program in April, he found two glaring holes on this year’s schedule and not many people within earshot of wanting to fill them.

So Randall, one of the architects of LSU’s “Blue Grass Miracle” at Kentucky 13 years ago, looked long and found emerging prep power IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to fill one of the Kittens’ vacancy.

With Southern Lab (4-1) having won its last three games and ranked No. 2 in this week’s Louisiana Sportswriters Association’s Class 1A rankings released Tuesday, the Kittens travel to clash with IMG (5-0) Friday at 6 p.m. CDT.

IMG, which predominately plays a national schedule, is ranked No. 10 by MaxPreps.com.

“We needed a game and thought it would be a good thing for our kids being able to go and play a game of this magnitude in Florida,” Randall said. “I knew it would help us and the kids with exposure to go and play against a nationally-ranked team.”

IMG expanded its brand from solely a tennis academy founded by Nick Bollettieri in 1978 into private athlete training ground featuring a variety of sports drawing 12,000 athletes from 80 countries.

IMG added football in 2010, fielded its first football team in 2013 and has rapidly developed into a national powerhouse.

Not long after the contract for one year was signed between Southern Lab and IMG, two of Louisiana’s top prospects, along with another with Baton Rouge ties, transferred to IMG for this season.

Two-time Division III state champion quarterback Shea Patterson, an Ole Miss commitment, left Calvary Baptist for IMG, along with Neville wide receiver Chris Fuller, while wide receiver Drake Davis, formerly of The Dunham School and most recently of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, also joined the duo.

“They picked up a lot of those guys after the game was scheduled,” Randall said. “We have some talented guys, too. We’re going to put our best foot forward and see where the chips fall.”

LSU defensive back commitment Savion Smith is part of IMG’s star-studded cast, along with LSU defensive line target Shavar Manuel.

Southern Lab boasts one of the state’s more talented teams, regardless of classification, in Tulane commitments Deion Rainey and Jonard Robinson. The Kittens also have quarterback Bladrick Veal, running back Darbbeon Profit, wide receiver Curtlan Williams and defensive end Chris Allen, who are considered college prospects.

“We want to be on that nationally ranked stage one day,” said Randall, whose team will bus Thursday morning and return after the game. “You at least have to see what it looks like and play against them. Then you have a measuring stick where you’re at and how much more you need to work to see how far away you are from being on that level. Either way it goes, it will still be a learning process.”

Class 5A

Team (#1 votes) Rec Pts Pvs

1. Rummel (6) 4-1 106 1

2. West Monroe (4) 5-0 105 2

3. John Curtis 3-1 93 4

4. Destrehan 5-0 92 7

5. Airline 5-0 64 9

6. Brother Martin 4-1 62 3

7. Zachary 4-1 55 8

8. Parkway 4-1 41 NR

9. Evangel 4-1 33 10

10. Ponchatoula 4-1 27 6

10. Byrd (tie) 4-1 27 5

Others receiving votes: Scotlandville 16, St. Paul’s 13, Mandeville 9, Acadiana 8, Dutchtown 8, Haughton 8, Holy Cross 6, Catholic-BR 4, John Ehret 1.

Class 4A

Team (#1 votes) Rec Pts Pvs

1. Neville (10) 4-0 120 1

2. McDonogh 35 5-0 106 2

3. Crowley 5-0 93 6

4. St. Thomas More 4-1 87 5

5. Bastrop 5-0 71 7

6. Teurlings 3-2 68 3

7. Franklinton 3-2 57 8

8. North DeSoto 4-1 49 4

9. Warren Easton 4-1 42 9

10. Livonia 4-1 33 NR

Others receiving votes: Benton 31, Minden 12, Breaux Bridge 6, DeRidder 1, Lakeshore 1, Plaquemine 1.

Class 3A

Team (#1 votes) Rec Pts Pvs

1. University (8) 4-1 116 1

2. De La Salle (2) 5-0 107 3

3. So. Beauregard 5-0 101 4

4. Parkview Bapt. 3-2 82 5

5. Lutcher 4-1 79 6

6. Amite 3-2 70 2

7. North Webster 3-2 53 8

8. St. James 4-1 49 10

9. E.D. White 3-2 39 9

10. Church Point 4-1 33 7

Others receiving votes: Eunice 20, Patterson 20, Union Parish 4, Jennings 3, West Feliciana 3, Marksville 1.

Class 2A

Team (#1 votes) Rec Pts Pvs

1. Sterlington (7) 5-0 115 1

2. Notre Dame (1) 5-0 110 2

3. Many (2) 4-1 93 4

4. Riverside 3-1 75 5

5. Calvary Bapt. 3-2 67 7

6. St. Thomas Aquinas 5-0 64 8

7. Ouachita Chr. 4-1 59 3

8. St. Charles 4-1 52 6

9. Kinder 4-1 43 9

10. Madison Prep 5-0 39 10

Others receiving votes: Country Day 18, Menard 18, Mangham 14, Welsh 10, Northeast 3.

Class 1A

Team (#1 votes) Rec Pts Pvs

1. St. Mary’s (8) 5-0 118 1

2. Southern Lab (1) 4-1 106 2

3. Kentwood 4-1 96 3

4. Ascension Epis. (1) 5-0 87 5

5. Vermilion Cath. 4-1 86 4

6. Haynesville 4-1 70 6

7. Central Catholic 5-0 64 7

8. Hamilton Chr. 4-1 45 9

9. East Beauregard 4-1 39 10

10. Basile 4-1 24 8

Others receiving votes: Cedar Creek 22, White Castle 19, St. Frederick 4.