First-year Livonia football coach Guy Mistretta understood that with bordering parishes Friday’s clash with Port Allen would bring about heightened emotions.
Little did Mistretta realize the close proximity until recently when running back Malcom Dedrick informed him of his special situation.
“The side of the street Malcolm lives on is the Livonia side,” Mistretta said of the school’s attendance zone. “The other side is Port Allen. It’s that close, and the kids really know a lot about one another.”
No. 10 Livonia (1-0) opens its home schedule at 7 p.m. against Port Allen (2-0) to highlight Week 3 action involving lower classification teams.
“When we scheduled this game, we wanted to play somebody good and get a measuring stick of where we are,” Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said. “They’ll definitely give us a test we haven’t had to this point. There’s going to be some unique challenges with this group.”
Class 2A’s Episcopal (2-0) entertains Class 1A’s No. 8 team in Metairie Park Country Day (2-0) at 6 p.m. Ascension Catholic (2-0) travels to Christian Life Academy (1-1) for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“We need to come out and look like a team that’s progressing from week to week,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “We want to keep making that climb and positive push forward.”
Dedrick played a big role in Livonia’s 41-19 road win over Class 5A Live Oak, rushing 21 times for 230 yards and four TDs. Quarterback Cee Jay Powell passed for 133 yards and a pair of scores.
Livonia found itself with a rare open date last week because of the closure of Point Coupee Central, where several of their former players are now Wildcats. Livonia is 20-1 in its last 21 games at home and has averaged 33.5 points in that span.
“Having the open date that early it’s not what you want, but you have to make the best of it,” Mistretta said. “We really spent a lot of time going over the mistakes we made in the first game and made our corrections.”
Port Allen has wins over Avoyelles (45-14) and Redemptorist (66-12) but realizes the degree of difficulty Livonia poses.
“Once you go up against a team like that, you’ll have a good idea of what it’s going to be like next week when we open district (7-3A) with West Feliciana,” Blanchard said. “We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us.”
DeMarcus Franklin leads a balanced ground game for the Pelicans with 10 carries for 160 yards and two TDs.
Bourgeois said the decade-long series with Country Day has been beneficial to both sides from style of play to a power rankings windfall because of the success the programs enjoy.
“We give each other an opportunity to see some things we’re not used to seeing,” Bourgeois said. “We never see the split-back veer, and you don’t know in the playoffs if you’ll see a team that runs that. We hope to give them a taste of something they may not see in the playoffs.”
Bourgeois said quarterback William D’Armond, who missed last week’s 31-7 win over St. John, will start with running back T.J. Wisham leading the Knights with 252 yards and five TDs rushing.