The wait is over.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s football season officially kicks off this week.

No more scrimmages and jamborees.

The games really count now.

And while some teams are opening up the season with games that should be blowouts, some are not.

Here is a countdown of the Top 5 most intriguing games this week involving local teams.

(Based on the preseason Louisiana Sports Writers Association rankings released Monday, these games could also go a long way in helping teams in the power rankings as well.)

5. St. Charles at Southern Lab: Frank Monica’s Comets, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, rolled to an easy 42-14 victory over Southern Lab last season. But with just one returning starter on defense, things may be a bit tougher this time around against a Southern Lab team ranked No. 4 in Class 1A.

4. West St. John at St. James: Any time a school is opening a new stadium, the atmosphere is sure to be electric. West St. John, ranked No. 6 in Class 1A, won handily last season (35-7). St. James is ranked No. 8 in 2A.

3. Karr at St. Paul’s: When you graduate 20 players who have gone on to play college ball, you know your program must be good. That’s the case for the Karr Cougars, who despite all the departures, are ranked No. 4 in Class 4A. St. Paul’s isn’t ranked in the LSWA Top 10, but garnered enough votes to come in at the 13th spot. It is one of two games this week pitting teams ranked in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 large school rankings. Karr, which won 34-12 last season, is ranked ninth by this newspaper and St. Paul’s is 10th.

2. Jesuit at Ponchatoula: Both of these teams are good enough to win their respective districts. Time will tell. Unlike the first three games in the countdown, this one wasn’t a blowout last season. The Blue Jays prevailed 28-23. Hank Tierney’s Green Wave squad has a super talented quarterback in Christian Campbell (a Georgia Tech commit), while Jesuit counters with Trey LaForge who threw for over 2,300 yards last season. Expect this one to be just as close as last year. Jesuit is ranked No. 6 in 5A while Ponchatoula is ranked No. 8.

1. Rummel at East St. John:

There will be times this season when picking the week’s best game will be difficult. This isn’t one of those.

The nationally ranked Raiders travel to LaPlace to play the talent-laden Wildcats. Rummel won 14-0 last season on its way to a second straight state championship. But shutting out Xavier Lewis and Co. this time will be hard. The LSWA ranks Rummel No. 2 in 5A (behind Acadiana), while East St. John (somehow) didn’t make the Top 10. The Cats are 14th. In The New Orleans Advocate Super 10, Rummel is No. 2 and East St. John is No. 4.

Who will win? Check out Thursday’s edition of to see our picks for all this week’s games involving local teams.

And if you want to give your own picks, visit blogs.theadvocate.com/neworleanspreps

Let’s get started.