Road to the Dome: LHSAA Class 5A Quarterfinals Preview
by Jace LeJeune, Cameron Cerniglia, and Lee Brecheen
24 teams are down and there are 8 more teams left to go. All 8 teams have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they all have one goal in mind. That is to be one of nine teams in the end holding a state championship trophy in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the Queen smash hit “We Are the Champions” playing in the background. For Louisiana football fans, this is the most wonderful time of the year. It is our version of “March Madness”. This year, we got you covered as for the next couple of weeks, we will go through all of the matchups from 1A all the way to 5A each and every week leading up to the All-State Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic from December 6th-8th. Louisiana Football Magazine’s expert Lee Brecheen has seen all of these teams play and gives his insight on which teams will survive and continue their march to the Superdome. Today, we preview the Class 5A public division quarterfinal playoff matchups.
#1 West Monroe (12-0) vs. #8 Ruston (9-3)
Jace’s Game Preview: The West Monroe Rebels faced off against the Captain Shreve Gators in the second round, which is a team that is having a really good year. Unfortunately for the Gators, their season came to an abrupt end to the number one seed West Monroe Rebels, who made a statement by dominating the ball game from start to finish in their second round game with a shutout of 48-0. The Rebels will now face a familiar Ruston Bearcats team in which they defeated 45-21 earlier in the season. The Ruston Bearcats just played in one of the best playoff games of the season so far. They too had to face a familiar opponent in the Alexandria Trojans, which was a team they defeated earlier in the season 40-28. The Trojans took their best shot at the Bearcats and almost pulled off the victory, but in overtime, it was the Bearcats that prevailed in a wild 61-60 final score. While the West Monroe Rebels look like a machine right now, the Ruston Bearcats know exactly what they are going to get as they played the Rebels earlier in the year. Anytime the game is played at West Monroe, you know it is tough to win, but on the other side of the coin, it is tough to beat a good team like Ruston twice in the same season. Well, something has got to give in this quarterfinal matchup.
Jace’s Pick: West Monroe
Lee’s Pick: “It’s going to be a tough game for West Monroe. I know it is good sportsmanship, but it is a rival game. It might not be as much as Neville, but it is still pretty big for West Monroe. Ruston is going to want to come to play because they want to make a statement. West Monroe wants to make a statement and make it back to the Dome. I think this game will be the best in North Louisiana. It is going to be a tough game between two good defenses. I tell you West Monroe is going to have a tough time winning this. I do think the Rebels will win this game, but it is going to be really close. The difference is that West Monroe has a defense that could shut down Ruston’s offense and I don’t know if Ruston’s defense can shut down West Monroe’s offense. I would have to give the edge to West Monroe because of their defense.”
#4 John Ehret (11-1) vs. #5 East Ascension (11-1)
Jace’s Game Preview: This game features two of the best front sevens in South Louisiana in the John Ehret Patriots and the East Ascension Spartans. The John Ehret Patriots’ formula is to play dominant defense and move the ball through the air on offense. That is exactly what the Patriots did in their 37-6 quarterfinal win over a Haughton Buccaneers team that scored 57 points the week before. UNLV commit and senior QB Travis Mumphrey had an incredible game throwing for 390 yards and three touchdowns while arguably the best defense in the state gave up six points along with only 109 yards of total offense. The East Ascension Spartans had to play against a red hot Slidell Tigers team that is coming off one of their best seasons in a quite long time. The Spartans showed great resiliency once again after trailing 17-7 entering the fourth quarter and then scoring three unanswered touchdowns to win a dramatic game 28-25. With both games going final, it leads us to a big quarterfinal matchup between two similar teams. The Spartans have big offensive and defensive fronts while the offense is managed by senior QB Jason Wakefield. The Patriots have size, athleticism, and are led by a senior quarterback in Mumphrey. It will be one of those games in which the team that controls the line of scrimmage and wins the turnover battle will win the game.
Jace’s Pick: John Ehret
Lee’s Pick: “This is another tough game. East Ascension has a good defense as well as a good offense with Jason Wakefield and their receivers. John Ehret has arguably one of the top three defenses in the state and so, I am going to take John Ehret here in a close game because I think East Ascension’s defense can slow John Ehret’s offense down. However, it is going to be very tough to score any points on John Ehret.”
#3 Acadiana (11-1) vs. #6 Zachary (10-2)
Cameron’s Game Preview: Acadiana is coming off a close win against Denham Springs by a score of 38-37. Zachary defeated Hahnville by a score of 41-20. These two teams can score so it might come down to Zachary’s experienced defense making a big play in the end.
Cameron’s Pick: Zachary
Lee’s Pick: “I think Acadiana has overachieved this year. That is a compliment to Coach Matt McCullough. They are a young, but very talented team. Zachary is very experienced. Even though they are going to play on the road at Acadiana, Zachary is starting to hit their stride right now so I am going to go with Zachary.”
#2 Destrehan (11-1) vs. #7 Terrebonne (11-1)
Cameron’s Game Preview: Destrehan enters this matchup after a 31-26 victory over Landry-Walker in the second round. Terrebonne is coming off a 35-14 victory over Ouachita Parish. These two teams played late in the regular season and Destrehan came out on top. It is tough to beat someone twice in the same season, but Destrehan’s offense will be hard to stop.
Cameron’s Pick: Destrehan
Lee’s Pick: “This is a rematch of the regular season game that was for the district championship between both teams where Destrehan won pretty heavily. Terrebonne has three great running backs. They are definitely the best offensive team in the Houma area and is probably the best offense Terrebonne has had in twenty years. The problem here is stopping the other team while they are on defense. The game will probably be closer, but I still don’t think that Terrebonne can stop Destrehan’s offense. It could be a better game and I think that Terrebonne will put up more points in this one, but I am still going to take Destrehan in this game.”
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