The Mandeville Skippers have the chance to earn their third trip to the Class 5A state semifinals in three years.
Who’s standing in their way? Defending state champion Acadiana.
The Skippers (9-3) and Rams (8-4) are set to tangle Friday night in Mandeville with the winner taking on the Scotlandville-Zachary winner in the semifinals.
“We are excited to still have the opportunity to still be playing,” Skippers coach Guy Lecompte said. “As a coaching staff and a team, this is what you work all year for. We are going to be going up against a good Acadiana program that has made it to the Superdome multiple times. They know how to handle the week with school not in session. We are certainly excited and will be ready to go.”
Coming off of a thrilling, last-second win over Barbe on the road last week, the Mandeville offense was boosted by the return of Parker Orgeron. One of the Skippers’ top players, Orgeron had 157 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Skippers 24-21 win over the Bucs in Lake Charles.
“Anytime your best players are on the field and not injured you are better as a team,” Lecompte said. “(Orgeron) makes us better. We are definitely a better team on the field than when he is not on the field making plays for us.”
Acadiana comes in off a 38-28 upset of No. 2 Ponchatoula. The Rams are led by the running back trio of Eric Duhon, Donavin Solomon and Deveryn Constantine, who combined for 225 yards rushing in the win over the Green Wave.
“We know what they are capable of offensively,” Lecompte said. “The fact that we have played two veer teams in John Curtis and Ponchatoula already this year will hopefully help us, and we can draw from that experience to help us be successful Friday night.
“When you talk about Acadiana, you are talking about a program that takes a tremendous amount of pride in their offensive line.
“They are known for a lot of things. While they are known for their offense, you have to remember their defense is really good as well. They have a tremendous amount of speed and fly around to the football. That has a lot to do with the offense they see every day in practice.”
One storyline will be the Acadiana high-powered offensive attack against a Mandeville defense that has become one of the stingiest in the state the last half of the regular season.
“While we respect what (the Rams) do, what we do week-to-week doesn’t matter who we are playing,” Lecompte said. “We practice the same every week and go through the same routines every week. Our emphasis is on what we do and how we execute. Every week as a defensive unit we take our opponent as a challenge.”