By definition, uncharted territory is an area that has never been explored. But in high school football, it has multiple meanings — two of which will be on display Thursday night.
Mentorship Academy (1-1) hosts North Central (0-2) at Memorial Stadium, looking to claim the first two-game winning streak in its football history. Catholic-Pointe Coupee (1-1) hosts LHSAA newcomer Central Private (1-1) at NRG Field in New Roads. Both games are set for 7 p.m.
“One thing we are preaching every week is to take nothing for granted,” Mentorship coach Keith Woods said. “We had a great week of practice last week and won. And we’ve followed it up with a great week of practice this week.
“We remind the guys we have something to prove to ourselves and the other team every week. We need to remain hungry. In a game like this against a team that is very athletic, we need to take control early.”
The Class 3A Sharks have struggled to find their footing in football since adding the sport approximately a decade ago. The downtown-based charter school is best know for its academic programs but has made strides since Woods took over in March 2018, building the team up for less than 20 players to more than 40.
Donovan McCray scored all three offensive touchdowns last week for Mentorship in its 26-15 win over Istrouma. Da'shun Hugley is a key two-way player for the Sharks at wide receiver and defensive back.
St. Landry Parish-based North Central beat Mentorship at home a year ago. Several players then went on to be part of the Hurricanes’ Class 1A basketball title team in March.
Though the teams have never played, Central Private coach Robbie Mahfouz says his team’s game with Catholic-PC has a familiar feel because the Hornets run the same triple option offense Parkview Baptist employed for decades.
Catholic-PC coach David Simoneaux was a running back and later an assistant coach at Parkview. Mahfouz coached against Parkview when he was at Central. Simoneaux, a Central native, also was an assistant at Central before moving to Catholic-PC as head coach.
“That doggone triple-option is tough to defend, especially if you haven’t seen it,” Mahfouz said. “And it’s hard imitate in practice. So it will be something we have to figure out, which won’t be easy. They’re good and they do what they do well, based on what I’ve seen on film.”
The teams have endured some of the standard Class 1A issues — injuries coupled with limited depth. Colin Grezaffi leads the Hornets with 316 yards on 52 carries with three TDs. Matthew Langlois adds 271 yards on 24 carries and has scored four TDs to the option attack.
“I think coach Mahfouz is doing a good job and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of them on film,” Simoneaux said of the Red Hawks. “They’ve got a good win over Covenant Christian, which has been a solid 1A team for a few years. Last week against Independence they had matchup issues. Physically, I think we match up pretty well.”
The return of quarterback Cody Sharpe has given the Central Private offense a shot in the arm. Versatile Caleb Fontenot has caught eight passes for approximately 300 yards for Central. Linebacker/running back Mason Dailey is another jack-of-all trades going into the nondistrict game.
Mentorship garnered its first varsity win over Glen Oaks in the 2018 regular-season finale. A win Thursday would not only give Sharks a two-game winning streak, it would also be their third victory in their last four games.
Jacoby Durant, a player injured late in the Sharks' win over Istrouma, suffered a "stinger" after being hit in the neck area but has been practicing and is cleared to play Thursday night.
Though both are 1A schools, Catholic-PC, of District 5-1A, and Central Private, of 6-1A, will play in different districts.