(photo by Ryan Baniewicz)

Old school passion runs deep in District 5-4A, and there are a couple big dogs on the block trying to bully their way to district dominance.

When it comes to the teams with more bite than bark, it's only fair to start with the Cecilia Bulldogs. With serious beef in the trenches on both sides of the ball (their two DT's are combined 600+ lbs), the men in green and yellow can go toe-to-toe with some "bigger" 5A schools, just ask Lafayette High and Comeaux. The only team to trip them up so far was Crowley (50-49), who could very well be on their own course to a deep playoff run. Diversity is their game, which makes them a tough outfit to trip up.

Track star speed, fluid moves in open space and deceiving power...any guess who I'm talking about? If you were thinking Raymond Calais Jr., then congratulations. Cecilia's Running Back is one of the most electric talents in all of the state, with multiple TD's scored from 50+ yards out, including a couple in the return game. He might not be the biggest back, well under 200 lbs, but he makes up for his size with determination and vision. It's almost become pedestrian for Calais to register 200+ yard games with three or more scores, which is nothing to balk at.

If colleges pass on Calais due to size, they might dearly regret it down the road. Don't let the size deceive you, he's a can't-miss talent when you see him on the field.

Cecilia's puzzle would be much easier to figure out if they were one-dimensional. On top of Calais carving up the defense, Quarterback Landon Roberts heads a potent passing game that could end up posting new school records. Kenya Dartez and Rusty Robin are legitimate threats on the outside, and Dartez possesses the type of downfield ability that warrants a lob or two each game. Sometimes even double-coverage isn't enough to stop Dartez when he high-points a throw.

If college scouts go the the game to get a glimpse of Calais, they might walk away with a few more names on their clipboard.

In terms of collegiate talent, look no further than the Breaux Bridge defense. Ragin' Cajun commit Korey Louis, related to LSU linebacker Lamar Louis, heads a rugged, physical crew along with Sabarian Alexander, Kaelan Onezine, Izrael Ledet and tons of other heat-seeking missiles. The Tigers haven't allowed over 20 points yet this season, and they faced high-octane opponents like Notre Dame, Carencro and Teurlings Catholic. If you're headed to Breaux Bridge, you better bring your ice packs.

Unfortunately, points are eluding the Tigers. Rubin Hypolite is a viable threat at the RB position, but he doesn't have the size to endure a pounding for the entire game. Drake Guidry and youngster Julian Leon have gotten their shot to run the offense at quarterback, but their highest point total of the year came in a 21-20 win over Rayne. If they can find a way to breech the 21 point mark, Breaux Bridge could take some people out in the playoffs.

Two very interesting outfits sit at 3-2. Both stories involve the winds of change, and the breeze feels fantastic for Abbeville and St. Martinville.

Football season wasn't so fun for Abbeville of late, but their first 3-2 start in years has the blood pumping in new ways for their fan base. Their 14-7 win over North Vermilion was another recent bane to scratch off the list, and they scored 99 points in their other two victories. We'll see if the good times roll into district play, but for now, it's party time in Abbeville.

VIncent Derouen was hired to change the climate of St. Martinville football. Their season got off to an ugly start when a game against Jeanerette took a nasty turn and was called in the first half, due to a fight involving both players and coaches. The game went down as a 32-0 win, but it was far from how Derouen wanted to begin his tenure in charge. Since then, the Tigers tacked on wins vs Ellender and Opelousas to sport a winning record halfway through the season.

Each 3-2 team suffered big losses already (St. Martinville blown out, 40-18, by Eunice; Abbeville lost 44-7 to Kaplan and 48-15 to Welsh), but they were to playoff teams.Can they still find their way into the playoffs? If so, it would be a splendid turnaround for either program.

There's no real way to sugarcoat the season for Westgate. "Rough" would be a bit of an understatement at this point.

As a man who played on a team that scored less than five times all season and only won one game, I know what it's like to get your tail whipped on the football field. It's the farthest thing from fun. Through five games, Westgate is getting outscored, 28-184. With some simple math, that makes their average scoreline a 37-6 loss. Any time you average a three touchdown loss per game, it's just not your season.

With all the differing story lines in District 5-4A, which do you think will pan out in glory? Teams like St. Martinville and Abbeville are trying to change the course of their programs and head in the right direction, while Breaux Bridge and Cecilia want to tune their motors up for a crack at playoff glory...and maybe a moment in the Superdome.

Just think, we're only halfway through the regular season. Wild finishes, surprising starts...what's next?