Who could blame St. Michael the Archangel if it took a little peek ahead on their District 6-4A football schedule?
The Warriors (5-0, 1-0) are off to one of the best starts in school history. A showdown with fourth-ranked Lutcher looms.
But SMHS coach Eric Held insists that looking even a week ahead is the last thing on his mind. Instead, Held said the Warriors must focus on Belaire (1-4, 1-1), the team they play Thursday night.
“That game (against Lutcher next week) is not something I’ve even thought about,” Held said. “We’re getting included with some really good teams in the state polls.
“To be honest with you, there are still a lot of things we need to clean up and improve on before we make that kind of jump. We have to get better every week. Belaire is a team with some talented athletes and we’re not going to overlook them.”
The St. Michael vs. Belaire game set for Olympia Stadium is one of four games on the local Thursday schedule.
Walker (2-3) hosts Live Oak (2-3) for a District 4-5A opener. The Dunham School (2-3) meets Capitol (1-4) for a District 7-2A opener, while St. John-Plaquemine (3-2) hosts rival Ascension Catholic (2-3) to open the 9-1A season.
With a win over Class 3A Jewel Sumner last week, St. Michael finished its predistrict schedule unbeaten.
The Warriors are led by quarterback Dash Duncan, who has 1,114 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. Sonny Adams has 34 catches for 515 yards and 11 TDs. J.T. Mauldin (306 yards) and C.J. Okpalobi (276 yards) are the top rushers.
In Belaire, St. Michael meets a team that garnered its first on-the-field victory since the 2009 season last week.
Senior quarterback Jarvis York was a catalyst for the Bengals’ 26-14 win over Istrouma. York ran for 107 yards and passed for 72 as Belaire rolled up 272 yards. Gerome Springer caught two TD passes from York.
First-year Belaire coach Jason Wilkins said his team has to take a disciplined approach.
“St. Michael is a fundamentally sound, very disciplined team,” Wilkins said. “We need to be able to match that in order to play with them.
“If we make a mistake, whether it’s a turnover, a penalty or a blown coverage, they’ll make us pay for that.”
Off and running
Three of the area’s rushing leaders will be in action Thursday.
Walker’s Carlton Perkins has had back-to-back 300-yard rushing games and has tallied 1,191 yards in five games, tops in the state.
Meanwhile, St. John relies on the duo of DaVante Williams and Christian Primeaux. Williams has 802 rushing yards and Primeaux is at 672, despite missing one game because of an injury.
There will be some contrasts in style. Live Oak, led by quarter Cole Leblanc has 547 passing yards. Ascension Catholic’s Collin Rowland has 549 passing yards.
Walker and Live Oak are Livingston Parish rivals and St. John-ACHS are longtime 1A rivals.
Meanwhile, the Dunham-Capitol game features a slightly different rivalry.
First-year Dunham coach Guy Mistretta is familiar with Capitol from the days when the Lions competed in Class 3A against his Redemptorist teams. Grant Messer leads Dunham with 767 passing yards.