Sports Round Up: Yellow Jackets aim for playoffs again; Walker, Live Oak rebuild with young coaches _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Denham Springs quarterback Torez Kinchen rolls out a regular-season matchup against Zachary. The two will square off in a Class 5A regional playoff game Friday night at Denham Springs.

District 4-5A isn’t filled with the big-name schools some of its counterparts have.

Whereas districts like 6-5A on the Northshore sent five teams into nonselect postseason play this year or District 5-5A with four of its five public schools making the bracket, District 4-5A only sent three teams — district champion Zachary (10-1), Denham Springs (7-4) and Scotlandville (8-3).

It may not have the numbers of some of the other districts, but 4-5A is making the opportunities it does have, count.

Of the 16 teams in Class 5A that remain in contention for a trip to the Mercedes Benz Superdome come December, nearly 20 percent hail from District 4-5A with all three of its representatives making it to the second round of the playoffs, tying it for second most in the state. It is the only district in 5A to advance all of its teams into the second round.

“That just shows the quality (of the district),” said Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles. “Anytime you have a team like Central who isn’t able to get out of the district and into the playoffs, it’s a tremendous testament to the three teams (who did make it) and where we’re at and how competitive we were during the season.”

But that feat will only stand true until Friday when No. 3 Zachary and No. 19 Denham Springs face off in a rematch of the game that ultimately decided the district title. Nettles said his team isn’t looking at the game against Zachary with a revenge factor on its mind, but the Yellow Jackets are excited about the opportunity.

Zachary barely edged Denham Springs in Week 9, when Broncos quarterback Lindsey Scott hit Shyron White on a short pass that turned into a 60-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left in the game.

“They’re excited to play and it gives you maybe the chance to fix some things you weren’t able to finish before, but that game doesn’t ultimately have any impact on the result,” Nettles said. “We still have to play well to give ourselves a chance. It was a good game, its competitive each year.”

District 4-5A’s numbers will inevitably whittle down even further, considering the winner of that game will play the winner of No. 6 Thibodaux and No. 22 Scotlandville in the quarterfinals.

Scotlandville’s only district losses of the season came in a lopsided loss to Zachary and a one-point loss to Denham Springs during district play, putting them in third place in the final district standings.

Hornets coach Eric Randall said his team is only focusing on Thibodaux this week, but the situation is rare in that it sets up like a secondary district playoff.

“You don’t get this type of situation to arise every day, but I guess it would be like having a playoff within your district,” Randall said.

“If we could win on Friday, it would be almost like a second round of a district championship in the playoffs.”