One coach has 379 career wins. The other has 298.
The coaches are longtime friends and colleagues.
One team got a key win after losing two games to open the season, and the other is ranked second in Class 4A.
So it’s fair to say there will be multiple story lines to follow when Catholic High (1-2) hosts St. Thomas More at 7 p.m. Friday at Olympia Stadium.
“I always give credit to the teams who beat us,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “The first two weeks we got beat by quality teams. We made mistakes and did things you can’t do against teams like that.
“Last week our execution was better. It’s a mindset really, the way you approach the game. One of things that’s always impressed me about Jim’s (Hightower) teams at St. Thomas More is how efficient they are on offense. They’re the perfect mix of running and passing. This is another quality opponent.”
The STM-Catholic game helps highlight a busy schedule for area teams in Class 5A and 4A. With fourth-ranked Zachary (3-0) traveling to Shreveport to take on Calvary Baptist (1-2) in an ESPNU game, the schedule also includes some notable all-local matchups.
For example, Scotlandville (3-0) of District 4-5A hosts East Ascension (1-2) of 5-5A. Denham Springs (2-1) of 4-5A travels to play McKinley (2-1) of 5-5A, while St. Amant 3-0 travels to play 4A Woodlawn (1-2), a team that was a 5-5A rival until this season.
There’s no question about the allure of the STM-Catholic game. STM coach Jim Hightower enters the game with 379 wins and ranks second on Louisiana’s all-time wins list. Weiner, who started his career as an assistant to Hightower at Catholic-Pointe Coupee, now has 298 wins.
“Two weeks ago we played Eldorado (Arkansas) and they were real big, but not very fast,” Hightower said. “Last week we played Plaquemine ,and they weren’t as big but they were fast.
“Catholic looks like a combination of the two. Their skill people will be about as good as we’ll see all year. But I’m also impressed with their offensive front. Of course, Dale and his coaches give you a lot to prepare for.”
Junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has 439 rushing yards with four TDs and also is a top receiving threat. Ian Brian has 544 passing yards and three TDs for the Bears. St. Thomas More’s Will Bellamy has 535 passing yards and eight TDs. Evan Trahan is the top rusher for the Cougars with 249 yards and one TD.
Predictably, the two coaches stress the game isn’t about them. The chance to see two coaches with a combined total of 677 wins is a rare opportunity. The game comes a week after John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis (543 wins) came to Baton Rouge and beat Parkview Baptist in a nondistrict game.
St. Thomas More was rated 12th on the list of Louisiana’s 20 most dominant teams during the MaxPreps era. Catholic came in at No. 20.
Walker (3-0) of 4-5A hosts Broadmoor (0-3) of 5-5A. WHS quarterback Terry Bozeman has 803 passing yards.
Two other 4A schools, Livonia and Plaquemine, take on teams from outside the BR area. Livonia (2-1) hosts Lafayette-based Northside (0-3), a team coached by former LSU standout Trev Faulk. Plaquemine (1-2) travels to Reserve to play 2A No. 5 Riverside Academy (2-1).