After the school’s first 10-win season and inaugural trip to the Class 3A state quarterfinals last season, Church Point’s accustomed to being part of the conversation among the state’s top programs.

But the validation never hurts.

Since beginning just outside the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Top 10 preseason polls, the Bears have been on a gradual incline in the Class 3A rankings, which includes a No. 8 showing in the latest rankings released Tuesday.

“We told them they’re starting to respect as a program and it doesn’t take much to lose that respect that you’re starting to gain,” Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux said. “They know the hard work and time they’re putting in. People statewide are starting to notice but it all can go away really quickly.”

Church Point’s off to a 3-0 start heading into Friday’s next-to-last nondistrict game against Class 2A’s No. 7 Loreauville (2-1).

Church Point received 54 points, just ahead of District 5-3A rival No. 9 Livonia (2-0) with 51 points and No. 10 Evangel Christian (1-2), which lost to Northside 13-10.

Notre Dame of Crowley (2-1) slipped from fourth to sixth and remained ahead of No. 7 Parkview Baptist (2-1). The Pioneers dropped a tough 17-14 decision to Class 4A’s Teurlings Catholic.

“We take a one-week-at-a- time approach and not to look ahead or down the schedule,” Arceneaux said. “We have to look to this week’s opponent, and they’ve done a good job of focusing.”

Following its second straight loss, Acadiana (1-2), which began the season atop the Class 5A poll, dropped from third to eighth after a 34-9 loss to top-ranked Archbishop Rummel on Saturday.

St. Thomas More (3-0) reached the No. 3 spot in Class 4A on the strength of a 56-21 win over Carencro, while previous No. 2 Landry-Walker (2-1) slipped to No. 4 with a 45-39 loss to Hahnville in triple overtime.

Breaux Bridge (2-1) remained No. 10 with a 28-14 win over Comeaux with Teurlings Catholic (2-1) ranked just outside the Top 10 with 32 points.

Calvary’s 42-13 loss to Class 5A’s No. 3 Byrd opened the door for Catholic High-New Iberia (3-0) to leap from No. 4 to No. 2, trailing No. 1 Many (3-0).

With four losses, there was plenty of movement within the Class 1A poll with Vermilion Catholic (2-1), a 35-30 winner over Erath, vaulting two positions to No. 7. Ascension Episcopal and St. Edmund each received points.

Church Point’s latest win — 40-36 over Class 4A Cecilia — showed a bit of ingenuity, recovering an onside kickoff to start the third quarter, converting both a fake punt and halfback pass to help overcome a 28-21 halftime deficit.

Running back Deion Monroe led the Bears with 27 carries for 149 yards and 2 TDs, while Frederick Williams added 104.

“This group of kids experienced the success last year and were part of some big games, playing in the regional and quarterfinal round game,” Arceneaux said. “So they’ve experienced what it’s like to be in big games, and they understand what it takes to prepare each week to give yourself a chance to win.”