Two years into his building project at Madison Prep Academy, veteran coach Michael Roach believes he’s set down a solid foundation.
Now he’s hopeful the Chargers can take the next logical step in their growth and taste postseason success.
“We’ve won some district games, and now we want to be fortunate enough to get our first playoff victory,” Roach said. “Sometimes I think we may have gone a little faster than some people thought, but I’m real impressed with the kids.”
A year after a first-round playoff exit, No. 9 Madison Prep (6-4) returns to the select Division IV state playoffs and travels to Floyd Boutte Stadium in Donaldsonville to face No. 8 Ascension Catholic (8-2) at 7 p.m.
There will also be three other select games in the area with No. 5 Southern Lab (5-5) meeting No. 12 St. Frederick (7-3) at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium in a rematch of last year’s Division IV semifinal in which the Kittens were ousted, 19-6. Seventh-seeded Parkview Baptist (6-3) hosts No. 10 Lusher Charter (4-6) in Division II competition, while No. 9 Northlake Christian (8-2) travels to Episcopal (7-2) in Division III action.
“With the way the playoffs are set up, it’s basically eliminated the first round,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “For us, this is really the second round and there are going to be really good matchups, and in this case, there’s no difference.”
Tenth-seeded Dunham (6-4) is one of the area’s hottest teams with a five-game win streak going into its Division III opener at No. 7 Menard (6-4) in Alexandria.
“The last five games we’ve played really well, and I feel we’re playing our best total football at the right time,” Dunham coach Neil Weiner said. “We’re starting to gel on offense and get into a rhythm. We’re excited about where we are right now.”
Roach pointed toward this year’s No. 9 seed as a sign the program’s headed in the right direction after losing to Covenant Christian 39-7 as a No. 24 seed a year ago.
Quincy Banks leads the Chargers with 57 carries for 789 yards and six touchdowns while Malcolm Roach, the coach’s son, has registered 88 tackles, 14 sacks and returned three fumbles for TDs.
“We’re right in the hunt,” Roach said. “I think it says something about the program.”
Episcopal came within a step of the school’s first state title appearance in 2013, falling 12-7 to Archbishop Hannan in the semifinals.
The Knights lost 14 seniors from last year’s squad but returned key players such as two-way starter T.J. Wisham — the team’s leading rusher with 148 carries for 940 yards and 16 TDs.
“We do have a few new faces that haven’t actually been out there and experienced it,” Bourgeois said. “When you get to Week 11, there are no tricks. I think once the initial hype of the game and after a couple of series, guys will go back to playing football.”
Dunham’s current win streak has been sandwiched by last-minute dramatics, first with a 20-14 home win over Episcopal, and more recently last week when Jyron Walker and Abel Duhon connected on a 72-yard TD with 2:03 left in a 20-16 win at Port Allen.
The Tigers, led by Jyron Walker’s 1,467 yards passing and Chase Day’s 872 rushing, wound up in a three-way tie for second place in District 6-2A.
“I have a feeling this is going to be a close game,” Weiner said. “They run the ball well so we’re not going to get many opportunities on offense.”