It will be soccer rivalries times two over the next two days for Ascension Parish rivals St. Amant and Dutchtown.
The sixth-seeded Gators (9-3-2) travel to No. 8 Dutchtown (8-4-2) for a key Division I, District 5 boys match set for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Then at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the 12th-seeded St. Amant girls (9-4-1) face No. 8 Dutchtown (11-3-1) for a decisive Division I, District 4 match also at Dutchtown.
“The big thing for us will be getting leadership and the best play possible from our seniors,” Dutchtown coach Marcus Dyer said. “We know what a quality program St. Amant has. The kids all grew up playing together and still play together on club teams.
“It’s a rivalry, and there is always a lot at stake. When we play, we also feel like it helps set both of us up for the playoffs.”
Both boys squads will be without multiple starters beccause COVID-19 protocols. St. Amant coach Adrian Garcia also will be missing. Garcia is recovering from December surgery and assistant Collin Yammarino is the Gators’ acting head coach.
“The big key for us is to remain focused and just play,” Yammarino said. “If Dutchtown makes big play, we have to counter that.”
Senior Tyler Bridgewater is the top offensive threat for the Gators, who also rely on Ulrich Gaffney and Joshua Barbera. David Hopkins and Ayden Rawashdeh help lead the Griffins. Rawashdeh scored three goals vs. Central Lafourche last week.
Keeping emotions in check and handling Dutchtown’s physicality will be pivotal for the St. Amant girls on Wednesday, said coach Joleigh Hartman.
“Dutchtown is big, and they have so much speed,” Hartman said. “They come right at you every single minute, and we have to handle that pressure. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us.”
Hartman, a former Gator player, said she saw two of her seasons as a player end with losses to Dutchtown, citing both as examples of how emotional the rivalry can be.
Sophomore Nya Bridgewater leads the SAHS girls with 18 points. Rachel Cretini is next with nine. The Griffins’ leaders include Riley Hicock and Maya Tilley. Hicock has seven goals for a balanced offense.
“When we play it is always seems to be an even matchup,” Dutchtown coach Anant Vyas said. “Because it’s a rivalry and the girls all know each, other it means a lot.”