The postgame comments from Live Oak’s Brett Beard and Zachary’s David Brewerton were pointed. Both made it clear they were unhappy with their team’s performance in Zachary’s 24-10 win over Live Oak on Friday night.
Expectations were high for the District 4-5A opener between fourth-ranked ZHS and No. 8 LOHS. Each coach cited the reasons why their team failed to meet their expectations, which are obviously different than that of the average spectator.
During the drive home Friday night, I realized perhaps the most important point. This was about more than a sluggish offense for Zachary or the fact Live Oak yielded three game-changing punt returns. It was a Week 4 game and now many teams are moving toward Week 5 — yes, the halfway point of the season — with major questions to answer.
Talk of “cleaning things up” must translate into fewer mistakes and on-the-field improvement as teams, including some of Baton Rouge's best, look to establish themselves as contenders for district titles and deep post-season runs. That means the mix of district and nondistrict games in Week 5 could be as decisive as they are entertaining.
For the second time in four weeks, Zachary (3-1) finds itself in a matchup with a reigning LHSAA champion. The 5A Broncos lost 31-30 to Division I Catholic in Week 2. Next up is defending Division II champion University High (4-0) at home.
Plenty of people, myself included, believe the Cubs are the best team in any classification in Louisiana. This was supposed to be the regular-season gauntlet for U-High — a three-game stretch that features two ranked Class 5A teams and a District 6-3A rival. A 41-21 win over Catholic and a 34-0 victory over 6-3A foe West Feliciana indicated that it was UHS’ opponents who face the gauntlet.
Zachary will be charged with proving itself again despite winning 5A titles two of the past three years. Zachary is hardly alone. Live Oak (3-1, 0-1) hosts Livingston Parish rival Denham Springs (3-1, 1-0) for one of two crucial 4-5A games this week.
Walker (4-0, 0-0) travels to Scotlandville (2-2, 0-1) for its third game under acting head coach Cecil Thomas. After a 40-38 shootout with Slidell in Week 3, the Wildcats gutted out a 10-3 win over Parkview Baptist. Scotlandville and its first-year coach Jules Sullen look to snap a two-game losing streak.
Two Ascension Parish-St. James matchups warrant watching. St. Amant (3-1) is coming off a 31-28 double-overtime loss to Lutcher, and now the Gators host St. James (3-1). Meanwhile, Dutchtown (3-1) hosts Lutcher (2-2). Another Ascension team, unbeaten Ascension Catholic (4-0) of 1A, goes on the road to face Covenant Christian (4-0).
Class 1A Southern Lab (3-1) hosts 4A Parkview (0-4), which looks to changes its fortunes after some tough losses, including that one to Walker. Rumors of a possible return from injury by quarterback Colton Jumonville makes the PBS situation more intriguing. In 6-3A, West Feliciana (1-3, 0-1) looks to snap back at Brusly (3-1, 0-1).
Lots of teams. Plenty of possibilities and things to play for. Not half bad you say? We will know more this week.