Familiar foes and plans for road trips are in order as Baton Rouge’s remaining teams in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs get ready for the quarterfinal round.
Several of the matchups are rematches of some sort. However, a navigation device may be needed for more than just which road to take, according to coaches like Catholic High’s Dale Weiner.
“We did play Mandeville earlier this year, but I’ve already told our guys this game stands alone,” Weiner said. “First of all, it’s a quarterfinal game. And second, we played Mandeville in what was the first game for both of us.
“You can see that both teams have grown and matured since then. Mandeville was in the semifinals last year, and I think they’re a heck of a football team. I think it’s a heck of a matchup”
Fifth-seeded Catholic (9-2) travels to play No. 13 Mandeville in a Class 5A quarterfinal. The Bears are the area’s only remaining 5A team. Mandeville (9-2) already eliminated one Baton Rouge team, ousting No. 4 Central, last week.
The remaining BR area group of teams includes three Class 3A teams, two 2A teams and one 1A team. Catholic, 3A Parkview Baptist, 3A East Feliciana, 2A University High and 1A Southern Lab also travel this week.
Livonia (10-2), also a No. 5 seed, hosts No. 13 Jennings (9-3), which upset No. 4 Loranger Friday. It is Livona’s first quarterfinal berth. The teams played a home-and-home nondistrict series a few years ago.
“The whole town is going nuts,” Livonia coach David Brewerton said. “And our kids are excited. We’re familiar with Jennings from several years ago. They don’t change what they do: which is the veer and 4-2-5 on defense because they do it well.”
The other metro area team hosting a game is No. 4 Springfield (10-1) in Class 2A. The Bulldogs host No. 20 Many (8-4), a 21-14 winner over No. 5 Winnfield, last year’s runner-up, in the regional round.
Parkview and Southern Lab are the only teams with no ties to their quarterfinal foes. Top-seeded PBS (10-0) travels to No. 9 North DeSoto (9-3). Southern Lab (10-2) faces the opposite scenario as the No. 9 seed headed to top-ranked Ouachita Christian (12-0) in the Monroe area. OCS is the defending 1A champion.
Third-seeded University High lost to Calvary Baptist (9-3) in the quarterfinals last season in Shreveport and travels to play the No. 6 Cavaliers again in 2A. Likewise, East Feliciana (7-3), a No. 22 seed, travels to play No. 14 Farmerville (10-2). FHS ousted the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“Not many teams get an opportunity like this,” UHS coach Chad Mahaffey said. “Calvary is a program and is established around the state. With that said, I’m confident in our ability. We will need to do the things we do well. When we do, I think we’re capable of competing with anybody in 2A.”
The role is somewhat different for PBS coach Kenny Guillot and Southern Lab’s Nick Mitchell.
“This will be the first time we’ve played North DeSoto and I don’t know a lot about them, but I do know they’ve beaten some good teams,” Guillot said. “And we know they’re athletic.
“I’ve always said 3A may be the most balanced class. Every week is a war.
“We were able to win a very physical game with Brusly, which is a very good team. I expect more of the same this week.”
SLHS coach Nick Mitchell also sees his team’s game as a measuring stick.
“In Class 1A, I think Ouachita Christian has set the standard for what a program is and how they operate,” Mitchell said. “We want to be where they are, and this will be a test. Ouachita Christian runs a lot of offensive sets and gives you a lot to prepare for. This will be a test.”