There’s a sense of urgency that naturally attaches itself to the last two weeks of the football regular season.
Teams seek wins to boost their chances of getting a playoff berth or to increase the odds of hosting one or more playoff games. So what if there happens to be a marquee matchup involved? That’s lagniappe for Louisiana football fans.
And there will be plenty of it.
Eighth-ranked Madison Prep (8-0, 5-0) travels to Episcopal (7-1, 5-0) for a game that will help decide the District 6-2A championship.
There’s also a battle of district unbeatens in 5-5A. Catholic High (6-2, 3-0) hosts Dutchtown (6-2, 3-0) at Olympia Stadium. In 4-5A, it will be pupil vs. mentor as Central (5-3, 2-1) travels to Zachary (7-1, 3-0).
Those showdowns help highlight a Week 9 schedule that includes one Thursday game. St. John (4-4) hosts Class 2A Archbishop Hannan (5-3) for a nondistrict game at Plaquemine’s Canova Stadium. It is the sixth Thursday game of the year for the 1A Eagles.
T.J. Wisham ran for 226 yards on 36 carries and scored four touchdowns for Episcopal in its nondistrict win over Lake Area New Tech on Thursday. The Knights have won five straight.
“We’re going to get ready to go play Episcopal next,” Madison Prep coach Michael Roach said after his team’s 41-7 win over Dunham on Thursday. “And we’ll go into it knowing what to expect.
“The running back (Wisham) is a Division I kid who runs so tough. They’re a quality team and a challenge.”
Central takes on Zachary in a game that features many storylines. For starters, Central is coming off a huge win over rival Denham Springs.
Zachary coach David Brewerton’s first youth league coach was Central’s Sid Edwards. Brewerton also was an assistant to Edwards at Redemptorist and Jesuit before becoming head coach at Livonia.
“I think it’s fair to say (the Broncos) are the standard-bearer in 5A now,” Edwards said. “I’ve heard people say Zachary has a lucky horseshoe, but I don’t see it that way.
“What I see is a talented team with a triggerman (quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr.) who’s as good as you’ll find. On top of that, you have a coach with the Midas touch.”
Dutchtown and Catholic meeting with a district title on the line is nothing new. Griffins coach Benny Saia said his team relishes the opportunity.
“We’ve got some guys who are playing well, and this is obviously the most balanced offense we’ve had the 14 years I’ve been here,” Saia said. “What I’m excited about is the way this group works together and pulls for each other. They’re a pleasure to coach.
“We’ve been looking at Catholic on film, and they’re Catholic. I don’t think we’ve ever played them when they haven’t been good.”
Silliman Institute broke down some barriers with its 41-0 victory over Centreville Academy on Friday night. The Wildcats (8-1) beat Centreville for the first time in eight years and claimed their first district title for the first time in 14 years.
Next up is Heritage Academy of Columbus, Miss. Heritage travels to play Silliman to open the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class 3A playoffs on Friday.
“We’ve had a good run so far,” Silliman coach T.J. Davis said. “Our only loss was to Oak Forest early in the year, and we’ve done some things we have done in a while.
“We’re in the dance now, and the goal is keep this going. We don’t know a thing about Heritage yet and haven’t seen film yet, but we’re excited about it.”
The area’s other MAIS 5-3A team, Central Private (5-5), just missed the playoffs despite beating Ben’s Ford 42-20 in its season finale.
“We took care of our end of it by winning,” CPS coach Joey Sanchez said. “But we didn’t get any help from the other teams in terms of who won and who lost. We finished 18th, two spots out of the playoffs. It was good not to have a losing season and to win a district game. Now these guys understand there’s something to play for.”