Climbing to the top of Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s high school football polls is a tough task. Staying there may ultimately be an even greater accomplishment for Class 3A University High.
The Cubs (7-1, 5-0 in District 6-3A) have won seven straight since losing their season opener to 5A No. 1 Archbishop Rummel. Everyone figured there would be learning curve for this UHS team after the graduation of running back Nick Brossette (LSU) and quarterback Manny Miles (North Carolina).
So when wide receiver Tre Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury a few weeks ago, skeptics wondered how the Cubs would adjust. In reality, U-High has been adjusting all season.
“I am pleased with how this group has handled just about everything this year,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “You’ve had guys in new roles as starters. And then we’ve had guys fill in where you’ve had guys get hurt.
“Some guys take over that role. Other times we’ll have guys move over from defense to play in certain situations. I feel like we understand what this group can do as a coaching staff and that’s really helped.”
Offensive lineman Prince Pines (fibula) and defensive back Adam Lewis (collarbone) are out indefinitely. Linebacker Dylan Moses, the nation’s top junior, is set to play with a broken finger.
Two other key defensive starters, defensive backs Malik Antoine and Titus Nelson, have also missed time but are set to return. Defensive starter Sam Wharton and Aaron Mall have taken turns in Pines’ role. Chase Brown and Robert Marionneaux are among the defensive backfield replacements.
Not exactly déjà vu
Plaquemine High remained just outside the LSWA’s Class 4A top 10 for the second straight week. What looked like another kind of repeat is a concern for the Green Devils (5-3, 3-0), who host Belaire in District 6-4A action Friday.
Quarterback Austin Mitchell suffered an ankle injury for the second time this season and exited last week’s 54-43 win over Woodlawn before halftime. Mitchell sat out most of three games with an high ankle sprain early in the year.
Mitchell injured the same ankle. PHS coach Paul Distefano said this time it is a lower ankle sprain and a not a high ankle sprain. Distefano doesn’t expect Mitchell to play this week.
“It looked pretty bad at first, but the X-rays didn’t show a break, and swelling on Saturday wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be,” Distefano said. “He’s still not totally out of the woods. They’ll do an MRI.”
More polls points
In Class 5A, Zachary High (7-1) moved up one spot to sixth. Madison Prep (8-0) of 2A also moved up one place to seventh.
Lutcher (7-1) and Parkview Baptist (5-3) remain at Nos. 3 and 6 respectively in 3A. Southern Lab did not play last week and dropped one place to fourth in Class 1A.
Class 3A West Feliciana (5-3), like 4A Plaquemine, sits just outside the top 10.