Football coaches love to talk about taking it one game at a time and not looking ahead.
Luckily, I’m a sportswriter, and I don’t have to do that. I have the freedom to look ahead and to look back at where Baton Rouge’s high school football teams have been.
The 2014 season has been fairly predictable through three games. As cliché as it sounds, I do believe the best is yet to come.
This Friday’s Rummel vs. Catholic High game helps kickoff a string of pivotal games for local teams. Zachary (2-1) at Scotlandville (2-1) in 4-5A also is huge.
Remember, no regular season win can guarantee playoff success.
Here are some highlights so far:
Most surprising win: Catholic’s big 48-0 road victory over Mandeville in Week 2. The two teams had a history of playing close games recently. The margin here was the surprise. The fact the win came a week after the Mandeville lost 14-10 to powerful John Curtis made people take notice.
Most impressive teams: So far it’s a long list. Include 5A Catholic, 4A Plaquemine (3-0) and 3A University (3-0) and Livonia (2-0). Give 4A Lutcher credit for its 3-0 start too.
Catholic has Derrius Guice and U-High has Nick Brossette, both LSU commitments. Plaquemine is the team that intrigues many people. The Green Devils run behind a huge offensive line and are no longer a one-man show like last season when Julius Maracalin, now a redshirt at Southeastern Louisiana University, did all the heavy lifting.
Livonia’s Malcolm Dedrick has emerged as another running back to watch. Like ex-Livonia star Russell Farris, Dedrick was initially seen as more of a defensive player.
Catholic faces Ascension rivals St. Amant and Dutchtown to open district play.
Team getting the biggest wakeup call: Central High. The Wildcats were the preseason pick to win District 4-5A but a 35-6 loss to Jesuit left coach St. Edwards’ team exposed.
Central won easily over mismatched opponents for three straight weeks, creating an illusion that things were better than they are.
Sure the Wildcats have top prospects in safety Kevin Henry and receiver Terrell Chatman. But there has to be more to it than that.
This week Central (2-1) plays talented McKinley (2-1), a team that has gained confidence with back-to-back shutouts of smaller schools. The Wildcats face Scotlandville on Oct. 3, so it won’t get any easier.
M overs and shakers: Class 5A Woodlawn (2-1) is much-improved. Class 2A Northeast High (3-0) helps top the list of teams exceeding everyone’s expectations, though the tougher tests are coming. Another 6-2A team, ninth-ranked Episcopal (3-0), has managed to reload after heavy graduation losses.
I like Madison Prep (2-1) and Ascension Catholic (3-0) in 1A too. Hopefully this isn’t the kiss of death.
MPA is a second-year varsity program that has shut out two opponents and did some good things against 5A Woodlawn. ACHS has met all challenges so far too.
Olympia bound, finally
This is strange but true. There were no Friday night lights at one of Baton Rouge’s best-known stadiums, Olympia Stadium, during the first three regular-season weeks of the season.
This week’s blockbuster showdown between Catholic High and Rummel will mark the first high school action at the BREC stadium since last month’s Coca-Cola Kickoff Classic jamboree.
I did a story about more schools, including Olympia regulars like Belaire and Tara, making other stadium plans in order to cut costs. Belaire debuted its own stadium and Tara has played two home games at Glen Oaks High.
Anyone who has followed high school football in Baton Rouge for a while knows Olympia and has attended memorable games there.
Having a marquee game like Rummel vs. Catholic as the first of the regular season might not be all bad. It’s a game that could add to the stadium’s lore that dates to the 1970s.