Going into this season, there wasn’t any talk of another undefeated regular season in the University High locker room. Just big-picture objectives such as winning a fourth straight district championship and returning to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and winning a Division II state title.
Now that top-ranked U-High is entering the final week of the season, the Cubs have the opportunity to achieve all three, taking a 9-0 overall mark and 5-0 record into Friday’s District 7-3A finale at home against Baker.
“We kind of talk about the district championship and the opportunity for a state championship,” said U-High football coach Chad Mahaffey, who is 54-8 at the school. “To get the district championship by yourself — which we have to win to do — for our seniors would be a chance to have it for four straight years in different districts is pretty special for those guys.”
For the fifth straight week, U-High nailed down the top spot in the Class 3A poll released Tuesday by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The Cubs received 10 of 11 first-place votes and piled up 131 votes compared to 121 for Curtis (7-1), which will play in the Division I state playoffs.
Livonia (8-0) outpointed idle Parkview Baptist (6-2) to remain No. 6, followed by the Eagles at No. 7 in the Class 3A rankings.
“Going 10-0 and having a perfect regular season is great,” Mahaffey said. “But as much as anything, we just want to keep the ball rolling. We have done a lot of positive things that last few weeks, and we want to keep that going.”
In Class 5A, Catholic High (8-1) and Zachary (8-1) held down the Nos. 6 and 9 spots, respectively, while Plaquemine (8-1) did the same in Class 4A at No. 7 with District 6-4A foe St. Michael the Archangel (8-1), receiving consideration.
Episcopal (6-2) climbed one spot to No. 9 in Class 2A, while St. James (5-4), which began the season ranked No. 8, returned at No. 10 with Springfield (7-1), Northeast (7-1) and East Feliciana (5-3) all receiving points.
U-High lost 17 seniors from a team with a 32.5 average margin of victory during its nondistrict run a year ago.
The Cubs took a pair of scintillating one-point wins in two of their first three games, rallying for a 36-35 win at Class 4A’s No. 2 Teurlings Catholic and 27-26 at LaGrange.
U-High overcame a determined Southern Lab team in the second week of the season (19-6) and repelled Denham Springs 56-21 after leading 42-21 at halftime two weeks ago.
Teurlings and LaGrange have won a share of their respective districts, while Southern Lab will play for its league title Friday. Denham Springs will finish no worse than second after a 28-24 loss to Zachary last Friday.
“It says a lot,” said Mahaffey, whose team has 11 seniors. “Any team able to do that shows that you came ready to play each week. As you experience success, people assume you’ll win this game or that game, and we learned early that’s not the case.
“I’m proud of these guys to learn from mistakes early in the year,” Mahaffey said. “I think we’re definitely a better team at the end than we were at the beginning so that means they did a good job of trying to get better each week.”