Mention the intrigue a matchup between two top-10 football teams from different classifications can bring to Week 3 without naming the schools and Friday’s game between Class 4A St. Thomas More and 5A Catholic High probably comes to mind first.
But a 7:30 p.m. Thursday game between Catholic High of Pointe Coupee and Episcopal should not be overlooked. CHSPC (1-1) enters the game ranked No. 6 in Class 1A and hosts the eighth-ranked Knights of 2A at NRG Field in New Roads.
The game helps highlight a Week 3 Thursday schedule that includes nine games.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for everything (coach) David (Simoneaux) and his program at Catholic,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “Every time we have played them the last few years, whether it has been in a scrimmage or a regular-season game, we have gotten a good gauge on where we are.
“That is what I expect this time. With the offense they run, they give you so much to prepare for. This is our first game on the road, which is another important step.”
After beating Country Day and Pope John Paul II by a combined 83-7, the Knights seek a solid test before entering District 8-2A play.
Each team enters the game with seniors who have made college commitments. Running back Matthew Langlois committed to Kansas State over the summer after helping lead the Hornets to a runner-up finish in Division IV select last fall.
Quarterback Dylan Mehrotra (UAB) and defensive end Austin Sybrandt (Davidson) are the first early commitments Bourgeois has had in 20 seasons at Episcopal.
Both teams like to run the ball. Episcopal’s Ryan Armwood is averaging 13.8 yards per carry with 314 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. Mehrotra keeps defenses honest with his passing (130 yards and five TDs), while also providing a running threat.
Langlois has 344 yards and an 11.0 yards-per-carry average with six TDs in the Hornets’ option offense, a system few schools run in football's spread era. It is the system Simoneaux played in as a running back at Parkview Baptist. Hunter Beard adds 232 yards and four TDs for CHSPC.
Turnovers were the issue for the Hornets, who are playing several freshmen and sophomores because of injuries. CHSPC fell behind by 21 points in the first half last week and rallied to take the lead with two minutes to go. But Riverside Academy scored with five seconds remaining to claim a 61-57 victory.
“I am so proud and excited for Travis and his program,” Simoneaux said of the Knights. “I really feel like this is one of his best teams. Armwood is probably the best back we’ll face, and Mehrotra can run and throw.
“Obviously, eliminating turnovers is important. They will definitely test us. I think it should be a great game and atmosphere.”