Last week it was Southern Lab and Ascension Catholic, two top 10 teams squaring off in a pivotal District 6-1A game. Another week brings yet another intriguing match-up of ranked district rivals.
Will East Ascension (7-0, 2-0) and Catholic High (6-1, 2-0) find a way to top the drama that unfolded in SLHS’ 22-19 come-from-behind win? The third-ranked Spartans prepare to host the No. 4 Bears on Friday night in District 5-5A action seeking the answer to that question. The game helps highlight a busy Week 8 schedule in the Baton Rouge area.
“(Catholic) has one of the best programs in the area year in and year out,” East Ascension coach Darnell Lee said. “This year is no different. They have a couple of guys who can make plays out in space and an experienced quarterback who can run it or throw it. I know our whole community is excited about it. This is definitely the kind of game every team wants to be in.”
A year ago, the Spartans beat the Bears 9-3 in a game played at Olympia Stadium. At the time, Catholic was the only one of these two teams ranked in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A top 10. From there, the Bears went on to win their second Division I select title in three years with a playoff run that included wins over traditional powers Evangel Christian and John Curtis.
Both teams established themselves on a statewide level early this year. Catholic’s lone loss was to nationally ranked University High. East Ascension's stature has grown with each win. Like Cameron Dartez is to Catholic, quarterback Jason Wakefield is the catalyst for EAHS.
Lee said 10 players have scored TDs for the Spartans. However, the thing wows opposing coaches like Catholic’s Gabe Fertitta is East Ascension’s long list of defense standouts. EAHS has two shutouts and another game in which the other team’s lone score came on a safety.
“They have multiple guys on defense that can come up and make plays,” Fertitta said. “They have playmakers at every position. We will have our hands full trying to move the ball. On offense, they relied a lot on one or two guys last year. They have more weapons on offense, which also makes them tougher.”
The Week 8 schedule features four Thursday games. Plaquemine (5-2, 2-0) meets St. Michael (4-3, 1-1) at Memorial Stadium in District 6-4A is the most notable Thursday game.
Two District 4-5A games also are worth noting on Friday. Sixth-ranked Zachary (5-2, 3-0) travels to Central (4-3, 3-0) in a matchup of league leaders. Denham Springs (4-3, 1-2) travels to Walker (6-1, 2-1) in a matchup of Livingston Parish rivals.
In District 6-3A, West Feliciana (4-3, 3-1) looks to solidify its spot as a contender with a fourth straight win. The Saints meet Madison Prep (3-4, 2-1) at Memorial Stadium.