West Feliciana’s defense has held six foes to seven or fewer points this season and faces a tough challenge this week.
Sophomore linebacker Hunter Smith is among the defensive standouts for the Saints, who have outscored two playoff foes 84-13.
No. 5 West Feliciana (10-2) entertains No. 4 Union Parish (11-1), the defending state champion, in a Class 3A quarterfinal football playoff game Friday.
WFHS is seeking its 11th win for the first time since 1989. The Saints defeated Parkview Baptist 19-18 in Week 10 to finish tied for second at 4-2 in tough District 7-3A.
Smith is a 6-foot, 186-pounder who leads WFHS in tackles with 140. He has three fumble recoveries and one interception.
“Hunter Smith does all the little things right,” WFHS coach Robb Odom said. “He works hard all year, and he wants to be good. He’s a physical type kid. He lines up our defensive front. He’s a pleasure to coach and is a real student of the game.”
Smith said the defensive front has done a good job of taking on blockers to give him more time to make plays.
“I like hitting, and I like being in the middle of everything for sure,” Smith said. “I think I’ve done well this season, but I think I can do better. I like to know as much as I can about the other team’s offense.”
Union Parish is a power running team with a big offensive line. The District 2-3A champions have scored 30 or more points eight times. Its two playoff wins have been by a 73-20 margin.
“Union Parish’s offensive line drives defenders until the whistle blows,” Smith said. “We’ve played teams that can run the ball. We know we have to do our jobs.”
“Union Parish is a big challenge and will take a total team effort,” Odom said. “We’ve stepped up before. We’ve won 10 games and know we’re a good football team, too.”
WFHS quarterback/safety Ryan Reed and 6-5 wide receiver-cornerback Jazz Ferguson bring athleticism to the defense. Ferguson is an LSU football commitment.
“Ryan Reed always has my back,” Smith said. “He gets the secondary lined up. He’s a great teammate, and he’s always in the right place. It’s nice to be surrounded by talented guys like Ryan and Jazz.”
Smith said Odom has a special bond with this team.
“Coach Odom is a great motivator,” he said. “All of us love him and trust him. Our goal is to go all the way. I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet, but we’re getting close to that.
“I feel like we’re the underdog this week. That only lights our fire and makes us play harder.”