Despite heavy annual losses to graduation, St. Thomas More historically finds itself in the thick of district championship races and deep postseason runs.
Statewide recognition from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association has also been commonplace, so it’s difficult to rattle the Cougars’ concentration with a No. 4 ranking in Class 4A when they’re hosting Class 5A’s Carencro (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“We’ve been pretty much focused on getting better and with our challenge of the week,” said STM coach Jim Hightower, who is 361-110 in his legendary career.
There was very little movement within the Class 4A ranks, with eight of last week’s top 10 teams emerging victorious.
STM passed its Week 1 test with a 43-26 win over Class 5A’s Sulphur and followed that with a second consecutive win in the Battle on the Border, rallying from a 7-point deficit at halftime for a 42-21 win over Gladewater, Texas.
“They’ve both been really stiff contests, and I think that’s good for us. It hasn’t come easy,” Hightower said. “That’s one thing I really like about this team is they practice and play hard. They’ve really had the right attitude from the first day on. Hopefully we’ll just keep getting better.”
Acadiana (1-1) lost its handle on Class 5A’s top spot, falling to third going into Saturday’s clash with new No. 1 Archbishop Rummel (2-0) at Joe Yenni Stadium at 7 p.m.
The Wrecking Rams had their 14-game winning streak snapped by Shades Valley, Alabama 39-21 at the Battle on the Border and fell behind Rummel and Destrehan.
Rayne (2-0) moved up one spot to No. 9 in Class 4A after a 26-10 victory over North Vermilion, while Breaux Bridge (1-1) tumbled to No. 10 following a 51-21 setback to Notre Dame of Crowley.
Notre Dame (2-0) remained the fourth-ranked team in Class 3A with Church Point (2-0) jumping one spot to No. 9 on the heels of its 30-0 win over Kaplan.
Blowout wins helped District 5-2A rivals Catholic-New Iberia (2-0) and Loreauville (1-1) to Nos. 4 and 7, respectively, in the Class 2A poll.
Catholic-NI, which edged Newman for the fourth position, blanked Erath 56-0, while Loreauville moved back into the rankings after a 54-6 win over West St. Mary.
A week after dropping its opener, Vermilion Catholic (1-1) rallied for a 32-26 win over Welsh and earned a No. 9 ranking in Class 1A with 41 points with St. Edmund earning votes.
STM, which trails Warren Easton (2-0), Landry-Walker (2-0) and Neville (1-1), has relied on a big-play offense led by quarterback Will Bellamy and running back Trevor Begue.
Bellamy has passed for 322 yards and four touchdowns with Begue supplying production in the backfield with 28 carries for 176 yards and 4 TDs, to go along with two kickoff returns for TDs on special teams.
Senior linebackers John Corry and Brennan Bourgeois have been steady forces on defense, Hightower said.
“We’re probably finding out a little more about who can do what and what works for us and what we can work on,” Hightower said. “That’s just part of the process everybody’s going through right now this early in the season.”