The two schools are separated by a five-mile stretch in southeast Baton Rouge, where one is considered one of the state’s formidable programs, with four state championships, the other a program on the rise in search of its first state playoff victory.
For the first time in recent memory when No. 7 Parkview Baptist (7-3) faces No. 2 St. Michael the Archangel (9-1) there will be plenty of stake at 7 p.m. Friday in a Division II state quarterfinal at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium.
“This is a big-time game for us,” St. Michael coach Paul Varnado said. “It’s a big challenge, and we’re excited about the opportunity. Our seniors have been waiting for the opportunity to be in the position to play in a playoff game with this significance.”
The all-local matchup headlines a group of seven select teams in quarterfinal action with No. 4 Catholic High (9-1) hosting No. 5 Brother Martin (9-2) at Memorial Stadium in Division I, No. 1 University High (10-0) entertaining No. 9 St. Louis (6-5) in Division II and No. 9 Madison Prep (7-4) facing the reigning Division IV state champion, Vermilion Catholic (10-1), at Glen Oaks High School.
No. 10 Dunham (7-4) travels to meet No. 2 Calvary Baptist (10-1), the defending Division III champion, while No. 5 Southern Lab (6-5) heads to Youngsville in a Division IV encounter with No. 13 Ascension Episcopal (8-3).
“A lot of our kids know each other,” Parkview coach Jay Mayet said. “A lot of them played youth baseball and other things together. The personnel from each school knows each other fairly well. Both of the teams will be excited to play the other.”
All three teams in host roles enjoyed opening-round byes last week, including St. Michael which enjoyed a record-setting nine-win season, with a runner-up finish to Plaquemine in District 6-4A.
The Warriors feature a dual-threat quarterback in senior Jeffrey Vaccaro with 804 yards passing (66 of 131) for five TDs and 539 yards rushing and six TDs. Senior linebacker A.J. Fletcher has 139 tackles and has kicked 12 field goals.
Quarterback Reggie Hayes leads Parkview’s triple-option with 100 carries for 926 yards and 15 TDs.
“Parkview’s a great all-around program,” Varnado said. “It will be a daunting task, and we’ll have to play our best game to have an opportunity to be successful.”
For the second straight season Catholic High is back in the quarterfinals after a bye. The Bears fell 27-13 to Holy Cross a year ago.
“I think we learned a lot,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said of that defeat. “I think how we structured the practices were different. There was a lot of game tempo last week. It was just very intense, and the practices were crisp. It was a totally different feel than last year’s practices.”
LSU commitment Derrius Guice put together a career-best year with 134 carries for 1,261 yards and 20 touchdowns. On Thursday, Guice was named one of 16 national finalists for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl’s U.S. Army Player Of The Year.
Bears junior quarterback Ian Brian has 1,492 yards passing and 21 TDs.
“Brother Martin jumped out in front and accelerated from there,” Weiner said of the Crusaders’ 63-21 win over Shaw. “This should be a big challenge for our team.”
U-High looks to launch another run to the Division II state title game, something the Cubs did a year ago with a convincing 45-10 first-round win over St. Louis.
The Saints, who are now coached by Charlie Cryer, have won four straight games and tied with Iowa for the District 4-3A championship.
The Cubs feature an impressive 1-2 offensive punch in running back and LSU commitment Nicholas Brossette (154-1,235, 18 TDs) and quarterback Manny Miles (93 of 129, 1,277 yards, 20 TDs).
“They’ve got a lot of good wins under their belt and played good people,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “They’re kind of hot, and they won their first playoff game (31-21 over Thomas Jefferson) in a while so I’m sure they’ll be excited and ready to go.”