Southern Lab to face St. John in rematch _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Head coach Marcus Randall leads practice, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at the Southern University Lab School in Baton Rouge, La.

Call it a role reversal of sorts when Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall takes his No. 6 Kittens into Friday’s first-round of play in the Division IV state select playoffs against No. 11 St. John of Plaquemine.

Kickoff is scheduled the Louisiana Leadership Academy at 7 p.m.

Taking over Southern Lab’s program in the spring provided Randall, a former quarterback at Glen Oaks and LSU, the opportunity to direct his own program for the first time.

The results have been a 6-3 record and District 6-1A runners-up finish with the Kittens losing to Kentwood a week ago, 14-7.

Randall now moves into his first postseason as a head coach and is fortunate to have a veteran team that reached the Division IV state title game a year ago.

“I am kind of leaning on those guys to step up and do some things,” Randall said. “They’re used to being in the playoffs. They know what needs to be done and know what’s at stake. This is been one of our better weeks of practice this season.”

Randall pointed toward his team’s focus as a sign of an experienced team preparing in the manner it normally would, regardless of the competition.

In this case that bodes well since the Kittens defeated St. John, 46-6, more than a month ago in District 6-1A play. The Eagles have won three of their last four games and are led by running back Gavin Landry (217-1,190, 19 TDs).

“We’ve seen this team previously and we’re familiar with them and they’re familiar with us,” said Randall, whose team lost wide receiver Tevis Abraham for the season to a separated shoulder. “It’s hard to beat a team twice in one year. We don’t want to come out and hang our hat on that victory. We want to come out and get better, win and keep progressing throughout the playoffs.”

PINE V s. EAST FELICIANA: Nearly a month ago East Feliciana didn’t resemble a team primed for a late-season run that would secure a home playoff game.

However, that’s exactly what the Tigers did.

Seventh-seeded East Feliciana (6-4) overcame an 0-3 start in District 6-2A to win its last four games and lock up a host site for the Class 2A nonselect playoffs, facing No. 26 Pine (2-6) at East Feliciana Middle School in Clinton at 7 p.m.

“I reminded the kids that even though we would probably be in the playoffs, we could decline the invitation,” East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson said. “I don’t know how much that played into it, but we started to make plays on both sides of the ball and special teams also picked up.”

Anderson credited his team’s winless stretch to having to face Episcopal, Madison Prep and The Dunham School in successive weeks. The Tigers began their current win streak with a 34-28 win over Christian Life and concluded last week with a 20-12 win over rival Northeast.

“There wasn’t any moaning and they found a way to get it done,” Anderson said. “I commend them for that. They’ve showed up and did what’s asked of them, especially the senior class.”