The loss of 14 seniors from one of the school’s most successful senior classes didn’t alter Episcopal’s expectations for the 2014 season.
Two weeks into the year, it hasn’t done a lot to change the perception about the Knights’ football program as well.
Episcopal (2-0) has won games both on the road and at home, and the momentum behind its early-season surge was enough to carry the Knights into the Class 2A poll released Tuesday by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Episcopal remained undefeated with a 31-7 home win over St. John-Plaquemine, moving the Knights to No. 9 with 34 votes after the Nos. 7-8-9-10 from a week ago all lost and dropped out.
“We’re constantly challenging these guys because it’s a different team,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “Cracking the Top 10 may be too big of a reward for these guys. We’ve still got a lot to prove. It’s great to be recognized. We know the road’s going to get tougher, starting this week (6 p.m. home game) with Country Day.”
Four of the state’s top-ranked teams retained their No. 1 position with the exception in Class 5A, where Archbishop Rummel (2-0) was elevated to No. 1, replacing Acadiana (1-1) which fell to No. 3 after a 39-21 to Shades Valley, Alabama.
Catholic High (2-0), which has scored 103 points in two weeks, remained ranked No. 6 in Class 5A with Zachary (1-1), Dutchtown (1-1) and Central (2-0) all receiving votes.
Plaquemine (2-0) moved up two spots in Class 4A to No. 7 on the strength of its 47-20 win over Brusly and garnered 60 points, ahead of District 6-4A foe Lutcher (2-0), which debuted at No. 8 with 40 points.
Despite an open date, Livonia (1-0) took advantage of previously eighth-ranked Amite’s loss to Ponchatoula, received 29 points and is ranked No. 10 in Class 3A with University High (2-0) retaining its No. 2 position and West Feliciana (2-0) receiving votes.
Episcopal traveled to Class 3A North Vermilion, where the Knights surged to a 21-3 first-quarter lead and held on for a 28-20 victory.
Running back T.J. Wisham scored a pair of touchdowns and quarterback William D’Armond ran for a touchdown and passed for another score.
“It was fun to get on the road and go to North Vermilion,” Bourgeois said. “The game was televised, and right off the bat our kids got exposed to a great high school environment. Their depth started wearing on us because we had guys going both ways and had to hang on.”
Without D’Armond because of an injury, the Knights turned a 10-7 halftime led over St. John into a 31-7 home win behind Wisham’s 15 carries for 119 yards and three TDs.
Senior receiver Spencer Kleinpeter took over at quarterback and carried 15 times for 87 yards and freshman linebacker Caden Dickinson closed the scoring on a 56-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.
“We had a great home atmosphere, our crowd was really into it,” Bourgeois said. “For three quarters, the St. John game was really a tight game. To play in some tight games right off the bat, and overcome some adversity with different players on the field, will only benefit us down the road.”
Brossette, Auzenne OK to play
Louisiana High School Athletic Association Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander said that University High running back Nick Brossette and Southern Lab defender Karl Patrick Auzenne won’t have to sit out their team’s games this week despite being ejected following an altercation both were involved in last week.
“They were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct,” Alexander said. “So they’ll have to complete a sportsmanship course and they’ll be able to play. Had then been part of a fight they would have to sit out.”
UHS (2-0) travels to Lake Charles to play LaGrange High; Southern Lab (0-2) hosts Amite.
The Advocate begins publishing its weekly high school football leaders this week and is asking for schools to submit statistics through a form on our website at www.theadvocate.com. The deadline is 10 a.m. on Wednesday each week through the end of the regular season. Statistics will be published on Thursdays.
Schools needing a hard copy of the form that can be printed out should contact Robin Fambrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.