Sports history is filled with stories about teams who find a way to beat a team they previously lost to in a high-powered matchup.
Episcopal looks to add its name to that list Friday night. The seventh-seeded Knights (11-1) travel to play second-seeded Winnfield (12-0) in a Class 2A quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Friday at Winnfield High.
A year ago, both were up-and-coming teams. Winnfield used a big fourth quarter to notch a 33-22 home win in the regional round.
Episcopal isn’t expecting the task to be any easier Friday.
“Because we played there last year, I think we’ll be ready for the atmosphere,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “And I do believe both teams have changed and matured since then.
“When you look at their season, you can see they’re scoring a lot of points, and they’re not giving up very many, so that’s a challenge. But I think it’s one this group is anxious to have.”
Winnfield is led by big-play offensive threats in Alonzo Moore and Trey Gilbert.
Moore plays receiver, running back and quarterback and is being recruited by Nebraska and several Southeastern Conference schools. He is the top senior prospect in central Louisiana.
Moore has 1,153 yards on 100 carries and has scored 136 points. He is also a dangerous return specialist. Gilbert, a Memphis commitment, has 1,570 yards on 106 carries despite missing three and a half games with a leg injury. Last week against St. Thomas Aquinas, he rushed for 258 yards on 12 carries.
Linebacker Frank Swafford leads a Winnfield defense that has shut out both its playoff opponents.
District 7-2A runner-up Episcopal, making its first quarterfinal appearance since 2002, counters with its own potent offense.
Running back-linebacker Mike Henry has 1,506 on 167 carries with 26 touchdowns. Quarterback Vincent Dellocono has passed for 1,363 yards and 15 TDs.
Basketball standout Brian Bridgewater (20 catches, 543 yards, five TDs) and Jarrel Rogers (28-453, eight TDs) are the top targets.
Henry and defensive end Tylor Harris, who is considering Stanford among his college choices, help lead the Episcopal defense.
“We need to make them earn everything they get and not give up big plays,” Bourgeois said. “We need to score when we have the chance.”
Like Bourgeois, Winnfield coach Andy Pyles said Episcopal has improved since last year’s playoff game.
“They are a much better team than last year,” Pyles said of the Knights. “They are very solid in all three phases of the game.
“They’ve got a real good running back, and they are tough up front on both sides of the ball. It’s going to be a battle Friday night.”