University High grabbed the top ranking in Class 3A in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s preseason football polls.
And there was more. Southern Lab claimed No. 2 spot in Class 1A, while Parkview Baptist was rated third in 3A behind U-High and Amite.
Zachary High got the No. 5 ranking in Class 5A. Catholic High was rated eighth. Livonia was sixth and Plaquemine High ninth in the first 4A list.
Yes, the LWSA voters really liked Baton Rouge teams. Class 2A was the only group that didn’t include a local team.
As nice as the accolades are, staying locked in on high-powered Week 1 opponents remains the priority. Example one — U-High hosts Class 5A No. 2 Archbishop Rummel at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Being No. 1 is a great accomplishment for our program and this group of kids,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “With that said, we’re preparing for probably the best team that’s ever come in here to play us. I was pleased with how we played in the jamboree. That (game with Rummel) is what has our attention now.”
Southern Lab hosts Class 3A Bogalusa at Glen Oaks.
“It’s nice, but a lot of it is based on last year,” SLHS coach Marcus Randall said. “The reality is this group hasn’t won anything yet.”
Parkview faces Catholic in another 3A vs. 5A match-up at Olympia Stadium on Friday that has become a local favorite in recent years.
PBS coach Jay Mayet acknowledged the ranking, but said a jamboree performance that included seven fumbles has the Eagles going back to basics.
“It’s about where you end up, not where you start,” Mayet said. “We were ranked up there last year in the first poll. After we lost to Catholic in the first game we dropped down in the polls and we moved back up as the season went on.”
Mayet is not the only coach of a ranked team seeking improvement. Zachary lost its jamboree to 3A West Feliciana 14-6. The Broncos travel to play Wilkinson County, Miss.
“I told them (Zachary players) I sensed a form of entitlement and that doesn’t bode well for most teams,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “We need to get back to the things that helped get us to where we were last season (semifinals).”
The Saints didn’t garner enough points to make the 3A top 10 after their win over Zachary. But WFHS faces an opponent that also notched a playoff win over a 5A opponent. East Feliciana of 2A hosts West Feliciana on Friday. The Tigers ousted McKinley 20-19 in jamboree action.
Livonia and Plaquemine face different kinds of challenges. Livonia lost 21-0 in its jamboree match-up with U-High last week.
Plaquemine hosts Class 5A No. 6 Brother Martin in its season opener. Livonia makes its 4A debut at home against Madison Prep. MPA moves up to 2A after advancing to the 1A/Division IV select semis.
Parish rivals Lutcher (ninth) and St. James (10th) also made the 3A top 10. White Castle in 1A and Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas in 2A garnered No. 10 rankings in their respective classes.