A Black Friday filled with shopping is the main event for most people the day after Thanksgiving. But for two Class 1A football teams from Iberville Parish it is “That Friday,” as in the day they meet again with a berth in the semifinals on the line.
The quarterfinal matchup between District 7-1A rivals East Iberville and White Castle might not sound like a big deal. Don’t tell that to the either team ahead of the 7 p.m. Friday game at White Castle.
When No. 3 seeded White Castle and No. 6 East Iberville played earlier this year, it was a doozy. White Castle escaped with a 22-20 victory in a Week 7 district game on Oct. 18 at East Iberville.
For East Iberville (8-2), last week’s 28-20 win over Grand Lake provided history for the program that is more than 25 years old. It was the first time in school history the team advanced past the second round and gives the Tigers their most wins in a season.
White Castle won the Class 1A title in 2010 after making multiple deep playoff runs. Both teams had a bye in the first round before White Castle (7-3) beat Delhi Charter 32-6 in the second round.
East Iberville lost in the second round each of the previous two years under coach Ron LeJeune, now in his second stint at the school.
“Every year, we’ve gotten a little better,” LeJeune said. “We won six games, then we won seven and were in the second round and this year we won eight and we’re in the third round.”
On Oct. 18, White Castle converted a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter, which ended up being the difference in the game.
“It was a tough game,” White Castle coach Aaron Meyer said. “I thought both teams played hard and played good football. We have to play a clean game and stay focused.”
LeJeune said his team needs to correct some of the mistakes from the first meeting.
“We had some coverage busts on defense,” he said. “We’ve improved since then on offense and can correct some blocks we missed that night. We’ve gotten better and they’ve gotten better, too.”
The East Iberville coach said it will be imperative to contain White Castle quarterback Javier Batiste. Batiste, also a top basketball player for WCHS, has more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 yards passing.
“We have to contain the quarterback because he is a phenomenal athlete,” LeJeune said. “He scored twice on us in the first game. We can’t have any turnovers this time. Once we get in the red zone, we have to punch it in. We tried to do too much in the first game. It should be a really good game.”
Meyer said the time of possession will play a factor in who wins the rematch Friday.
“(East Iberville) runs the ball very well and do some good things on defense,” Meyer said. “If we can control the football and run the ball, we’ll be fine.”