DIVISION I (1) JOHN CURTIS vs. (2) CATHOLIC
WHEN: Noon RECORDS: John Curtis: 12-0; Catholic: 11-1
HOW THEY GOT HERE
JOHN CURTIS: Beat No. 8 Jesuit 27-14, No. 5 Evangel Christian 56-34
CATHOLIC: Beat No. 10 St. Augustine 42-19, No. 3 Archbishop Rummel 13-10
JOHN CURTIS: 26 (most recent: 2013); CATHOLIC: 2 (most recent: 2017)
LAST TIME IN STATE FINAL
JOHN CURTIS: Lost to Catholic 20-14 in 2017
CATHOLIC: Beat John Curtis 20-14 in 2017
TOP STORY LINE
Look familiar? These two teams faced off for the first time a year ago in the Division I title game, which came down to a last-minute interception for the Bears to seal the deal. A year later, these two high-powered offenses both with the same quarterback as a year ago return to the Superdome knowing how small the margin of error for victory is.
JOHN CURTIS: The Patriots, who average 37.5 points per game, have led by double-digits in nine of their 12 wins. In last year’s championship game, they never led a single play. Scoring early will be key in avenging last year’s loss.
CATHOLIC: The Bears are more experienced at key positions and also are more explosive this year. Making plus plays on special teams was a key factor in 2017 and will be again. Catholic must find ways to win the battle for field position and score when the chance is there.
JOHN CURTIS: Quarterback Collin Guggenheim is a big-play threat with his legs and his arm, totaling 14 rushing scores and another 10 passing. Additionally, the Bears have to account for Curtis’ slew of running backs, including leading rusher Corey Wren and Ma’khi Smith. On defense, linebacker Joshua Valentine and end/tackle Angelo Anderson lead the team with 17 tackles for a loss each and have combined for 16 sacks, a menacing combo for Catholic to account for.
CATHOLIC: Quarterback Cameron Dartez was named his team’s Most Valuable Player in the title game a year ago and can lead Catholic with his arm and his legs and has a trusty target in wideout Greg Martin. Defensive lineman Elijah Reames will look to put pressure on Guggenheim, while safety Jonathan Mestayer aims to keep the Curtis passing attack at bay.
NATHAN BROWN: John Curtis 28, Catholic 24
ROBIN FAMBROUGH: Catholic 24, John Curtis 21
CLASS 4A (1) EDNA KARR vs. (2) WARREN EASTON
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. RECORDS: Edna Karr 14-0; Warren Easton 11-2
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
EDNA KARR: Beat No. 32 Minden 34-10, No. 17 Tioga 49-13, No. 9 Bastrop 48-19, No. 4 Neville 25-13
WARREN EASTON: Beat No. 31 Rayne 44-0, No. 15 Beaux Bridge 45-0, No. 7 Northwood-Shreveport 34-6, No. 6 Leesville 54-14
EDNA KARR: 4 (most recent: 2017); WARREN EASTON: 2 (most recent: 1942)
LAST TIME IN STATE FINAL
EDNA KARR: Beat Lakeshore 48-26 in 2017
WARREN EASTON: Lost to Neville 28-27 in 2014
TOP STORY LINE
These teams enter the Superdome with drastically different recent histories. Karr is the two-time defending 4A champion on a 26-game winning streak, while Warren Easton finally made it over the hump after three consecutive semifinal losses. But the Eagles came within a failed two-point conversion of knocking off the Cougars in the regular-season finale.
EDNA KARR: With plenty of experience in the Dome, Karr would benefit from jumping out to a multi-score lead early to try to jump on Warren Easton, but they will want to try to grind out a relatively low-scoring win rather than a shootout.
WARREN EASTON: The Eagles have led in the fourth quarter in their past two matchups against Karr but haven’t been able to pull it out. Limiting mistakes on special teams and jumping out quick with their high-powered offense will be keys.
EDNA KARR: Quarterback Leonard Kelly leads the Cougars offense that has proven it can lean on throwing the ball to win big games this postseason. Kelly’s chemistry with his receivers poses a constant big-play threat, with wideouts like Aaron Anderson and Larry Junior, while running back Ronnie Jackson controls the ground game. Arkansas-commitment Devin Bush will look to shut down half the field at cornerback, limiting the Eagles’ passing options.
WARREN EASTON: Quarterback Lance Legendre, the top-rated quarterback in the state in the Class of 2019, is a threat to make plays with his arms and feet. A trio of playmaking running backs in Ashaad Clayton, Ahmad Antoine and Jahmal Sam also draw attention to the backfield. Sam also poses a hard-hitting threat on defense at strong safety and has proven he can spark momentum as a kick returner.
NATHAN BROWN: Edna Karr 27, Warren Easton 21
CLASS 5A: (1) WEST MONROE vs. (6) ZACHARY
WHEN: 7 p.m. RECORDS: West Monroe 14-0, Zachary 12-2
HOW THEY GOT HERE: WEST MONROE: Beat No. 32 Pineville 53-0, No. 16 Captain Shreve 43-0, No. 8 Ruston 34-0, No. 4 John Ehret 28-0; ZACHARY: Beat No. 27 Sulphur 42-17, No. 22 Hahnville 41-20, No. 3 Acadiana 26-14, No. 2 Destrehan 67-57
STATE TITLES: West Monroe 8 (last in 2011); Zachary 2 (last in 2017)
LAST TIME IN STATE FINAL:
WEST MONROE: 2011 (lost 50-21 to Landry-Walker)
ZACHARY: 2017 (beat Hahnville 34-14)
TOP STORYLINE: This one is the rubber match with a title on the line. West Monroe won 35-14 in the semifinals in 2016, and Zachary beat the Rebels in the semifinals 29-27 in 2017. West Monroe is the first 5A team to shut out all its playoff opponents before the final. Brother Martin did it in 1971 when 4A was the top class and teams played only four playoff games.
WEST MONROE: The Rebels are known for their defense, but the offense has done notable things, too. WMHS has scored on its first possession 80 percent of the time. The Rebels have a running back duo that operates out of a variety of sets, giving the defense multiple looks. They want to take the lead early and dictate tempo.
ZACHARY: Once again, speed must be the name of the game. Multiple opposing coaches say the Broncos are the fastest teams they have faced. On offense, it starts with QB Keilon Brown and WR Chandler Whitfield, who combined for more than 600 yards in total offense last week. The role of the Broncos defense cannot be overlooked, too. This unit also needs to play fast and prevent the WMHS offense from grabbing momentum.
WEST MONROE: DT Dalvin Hutchinson, LB Chandler Moncrief, QB Garrett Kahman, RB Cam Wright, RB Charlie Norman
ZACHARY: QB Brown, WR Whitfield, RB RJ Allen, LB Wes Brady, DB Tyler Judson.
ROBIN FAMBROUGH: Zachary 21, West Monroe 20