With both schools opting to play up into the Division I state playoffs Friday’s District 5-4A showdown between No. 7 Teurlings Catholic and No. 1 St. Thomas More may only serve as a preliminary round.

The true prize fight could still be more than a month away with the Rebels and Cougars expected to make deep runs in the select playoff bracket.

“It’s going to be a big game, but our kids have played in big games before,” St. Thomas More coach Jim Hightower said. “I don’t think it’s anything they haven’t done before.”

St. Thomas More (6-0, 2-0) hosts Teurlings (4-1, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday to highlight play this week’s Acadiana area action that actually gets underway a day earlier.

“You want to play in a big-game atmosphere like that and not everybody gets to do that in a career,” Teurlings coach Sonny Charpentier said. “We’ve been fortunate to play in big games in that atmosphere. It’s something that they’re used to, which will be two- and three-fold this week.”

The highlight on the Thursday schedule features Crowley (5-1, 3-0) hosting LaGrange (2-4, 2-0) in a key District 4-4A game at Gardner Memorial Stadium, while Rayne (5-1, 1-1) hosts Eunice (3-3, 1-2) in 4-4A play and Lafayette (4-2, 1-2) travels to Comeaux (2-4, 0-3) in a District 3-5A encounter.

Acadiana (3-3, 2-1) visits District 3-5A leader, Sulphur (4-2, 3-0), on Friday. Carencro (4-2, 2-1) heads to Sam Houston (5-1, 2-1) in the other key 3-5A matchup. In other games of interest, Erath (3-3, 1-0) hosts No. 9 Notre Dame of Crowley (4-2, 1-0) in a District 6-3A headliner and Central Catholic-Morgan City (4-2, 2-1) visits Ascension Episcopal (5-1, 2-0) in District 7-1A.

St. Thomas More rolled to a school-record 63-13 victory over Westgate — the most points scored since the school opened in 1982.

The Cougars, who are averaging 50 points an outing, bolted to a 42-7 first-quarter advantage behind three touchdown passes from quarterback William Bellamy and three total TDs from wide receiver Tiger Bech.

James Braun and Jacolby Broussard came up with interceptions to support a solid defensive effort.

“These are going to be two good teams with two high-powered offenses,” said Hightower, now 365-110 in his career. “It ought to be a fun game to watch. They’ve been very productive and have a lot of weapons on offense and I think we do too.”

Teurlings is riding a four-game winning streak, including a 31-15 victory over Breaux Bridge, before sitting idle this weekend with an open date.

Without any significant injuries to mend, the Rebels went through an abbreviated week of practice and fine-tuned some things in preparation for the Cougars.

“The benefits are minimal, and we would have preferred to have played,” Charpentier said. “We couldn’t find anyone to play. I’m not a big fan of open dates, but if we had to pick a time to have one this isn’t a bad time to do it.”

Erath has rebounded from a 0-3 start, including losses to Class 2A’s No. 2 ranked Catholic-New Iberia and Class 1A’s No. 3 Vermilion Catholic, to reel off three consecutive wins that featured a 49-29 win over Vermilion Parish rival Abbeville in the 6-3A opener for both.

“We’re excited Notre Dame’s coming in,” Erath’s first-year coach David Comeaux said. “This is going to be a great gauge to see what kind of team we have at this point. We feel like we’ve gotten better every week, but Notre Dame’s going to be the ultimate test for us.”

Notre Dame responded to a 56-28 loss in Week 5 to Catholic-NI — a game the Pioneers played without suspended starters — with a 58-0 pasting of West St. Mary.

Comeaux’s hopeful the anticipated playoff-type atmosphere and backing from the home crowd will serve his team well.

“I think we’ve gotten better every day,” Comeaux said. “To play Notre Dame and to beat them would be the biggest thing we could do all season. This is like a playoff game to us. I know our fans will be there. When we get it packed and rocking with everybody behind us like they do creates an extra energy.”