The risk of promoting any football game is that it might not live up to the hype.
But when a coach offers the kind of assessment Matt McCullough made, the anticipation and hype for top-ranked Acadiana’s game with No. 3 Catholic High is inevitable.
“Catholic was very good when we played them last year,” McCullough said. “But this may be the best team we have played in my time at Acadiana.”
The Bears (1-0) host Acadiana (1-0) for a nondistrict game set for 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium. The blockbuster Class 5A contest helps highlight a Week 2 schedule that includes several notable games.
For example, top-ranked University High (1-0) of Class 3A hosts 5A Woodlawn (0-0). Fourth-ranked Zachary (1-0) hosts another 5A/Division I power in St. Paul’s.
“It’s going to be a war for sure,” first-year Catholic coach David Simoneaux Jr. said. “The last time I coached against them it was 2009 when I was at Parkview. There is nothing but respect for the coaches and the team.
"Their kids are so freaking tough. And the tradition and brotherhood that the Wreckin’ Rams are speaks for itself. We know they won’t change for us. They will come out and do what they do. It is tough to stop them.”
And what the reigning Class 5A champions do so well is run the veer. A year ago, fumbles helped Catholic race out to a 21-0 lead. The Bears held on for a 27-21 win in a game that was also played at Memorial Stadium.
McCullough said the matchup between the teams in the trenches will be crucial. But he also noted Catholic’s depth at skill positions, including running back and wide receiver.
Both teams notched notable wins last week. Acadiana edged Lafayette area rival Carencro, the reigning 4A champion 9-7. Catholic beat Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland, 38-10.
Corey Singleton ran for 200 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns for the Bears. Omri Wiggins ran for 71 yards on 14 carries for Acadiana.
“The challenge is always to match them up physically up front,” Simoneaux said. “On film, we see things we can do better with our offensive and defensive fronts. It will be a huge test.”
Like so many teams, Zachary was forced to find new opponents thanks to Hurricane Ida. Coach David Brewerton said he thinks playing St. Paul’s is just what the Broncos need.
“Playing St. Paul’s suits us well,” Brewerton said. “They are not a team people know a lot about, but when you put on the tape and see what they did against Rummel in the jamboree and in their scrimmage with Curtis, you have to be impressed.
“Very solid up front. This is the kind of game that can make us better as we prepare for later in the year, win or lose. That is what we need.”
Meant to be
If at first you don’t succeed … you schedule the game you wanted to play Week 1 for Week 2, which is exactly what Woodlawn and U-High did.
Both teams lost their first two opponents in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. With school closed all last week, Woodlawn could not play. But a second chance to play the Cubs was too good to pass up.
“You know, I think it was meant to be,” Woodlawn coach Marcus Randall said. “This is great game for both teams. The kids all know each other because they played together when they were growing up and now they play 7-on-7 together.
“U-High is so well-coached and they are solid in every phase of the game. We need to see all of that.”