Notre Dame, Kinder take big honors on Class 2A All-State team _lowres

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA -- Episcopal's TJ Wisham runs the ball for a touchdown against Metairie Park Country Day during a game at Country Day on Friday, September 18, 2015.

The quote “You’re only as good as your last game” is used so often it’s a cliché.

But what about your next game? That’s the burning focus going into two district football showdowns Thursday night.

“We’ve got no losses in district, and they have one,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “And when you look at the teams who each other plays over the next few weeks there’s a sense of urgency.

“Each week, I think we’re going to find out more about the district and how things are going to end up. This is a big one for us.”

Episcopal (5-1, 4-0) hosts Northeast (4-2, 2-1) for a pivotal District 6-2A game. Fourth-ranked Southern Lab (4-2, 2-0) hosts White Castle (4-2, 2-0) in District 6-1A action at Baker’s Wedge Kyes stadium.

Woodlawn (3-3, 1-0) hosts Tara (0-6, 0-1) for a 6-4A game that rounds out the schedule of 7 p.m. games.

Episcopal figures to learn some about its chances to win a 6-2A title this week. The White Castle-Southern Lab game should do likewise with a slightly different twist.

Northeast beat The Dunham School and lost to ninth-ranked Madison Prep by one point. The Knights play MPA and Dunham to close the season. WCHS and Southern Lab have to face third-ranked Kentwood on their paths to a possible district title.

“When you look at Southern Lab, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses,” White Castle coach Lamar Thomas said. “I think you could argue they’re the best team in 1A. They’ve got size and skill players. They’ve got a quarterback who can throw it around the field. One of the best things we can do is hang on to the ball and not give them as many chances.”

The two 1A schools that are best known as basketball rivals are in a football district together for the first time in decades. Planning this notable football showdown was harder than expected.

It was moved to Thursday and away from Southern University’s Homecoming festivities. Baker’s Wedge Kyes Stadium wasn’t confirmed as the site until Wednesday afternoon.

The Kittens dropped two spots in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 1A poll after losing 42-0 to national power IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., last Friday.

“There are ways you can win other than on the scoreboard, and I think we did that,” SLHS coach Marcus Randall said. “We were able to learn some things as a team and a program we can use moving forward.

“White Castle has some players with size, and their speed guys can hit that crease and score on you. We’ll need to be sound fundamentally.”

Bladrick Veal has 1,065 yards passing with six touchdowns for the Kittens. Dontrell Taylor leads White Castle with 911 rushing yards and 10 TDs.

The Northeast-Episcopal matchup features teams that prefer to run the ball. Episcopal’s T.J. Wisham leads all Baton Rouge rushers with 1,020 rushing yards and 12 TDs. Northeast’s defensive line led by returning all-state selection Leroy Roddy typically doesn’t give up ground. The Vikings would like to avenge last year’s loss to the Knights.

“Wisham is running the ball so dog gone hard, and it’s impressive,” Northeast coach David Masterson said. “We do throw it a little better than people expect, but it’s just not what we like to do. We’re still smarting from losing to them last year. It should be interesting.”