Football Forecast: Notre Dame vs Breaux Bridge, Acadiana’s Revenge, Carencro [VIDEO]
With one week in the books, we're already off and rolling in the high school football season. Teams like St. Martinville, Acadiana, Ascension Episcopal and Comeaux showed some muscle in their season opener, but who will flex in week two?
The second week of the regular season features a revenge match (Acadiana vs Ponchatoula), a North Acadiana vs South Acadiana throwdown (Carencro vs New Iberia) and an all-out brawl of defense against offense (Notre Dame vs Breaux Bridge).
When you throw in other games like Catholic High-New Iberia against Erath and Elijah Mitchell, you get a loaded slate to work with as a high school football fan. Pick your choice and enjoy the action.
Before we get into our top three matchups for the week, we have to put the spotlight on the first round of Players of the Week. Two quarterbacks put on a show, and another player came back from injury to start off his season on the right foot.
Comeaux might be the most slept on team in Acadiana. It's Doug Dotson's second year coaching the Spartans, and his son made a statement with his first game of the 2016 season.
Brett Dotson proved he's much more than the coach's son against Cecilia. The Spartans torched the Bulldogs in a 46-20 season opening victory, and Dotson orchestrated the air raid with 209 yards passing and four touchdowns. When Cecilia tried to take away his favorite target, Tanarious Achan, he hit other receivers to keep the ball moving.
With a physical offensive line in front of him, anchored by senior leader Shane Vallot, Dotson could make serious noise in District 3-5A. The students at "The Meaux" are getting rowdy in the stands, and if the Spartans keep winning like this, everybody in the area is going to have to recognize their rise.
Speaking of QB's, not all of them rely on moving the ball through the air. Sometimes, the running game is all you need.
When Regan Miller stepped down as quarterback of Lafayette Christian Academy last season, it allowed Zack Clement to start developing. Last season, he learned on the fly. This year, he's simply flying.
Clement kicked off his 2016 campaign with a 40-36 road win over Elton, which is impressive enough. Once you start looking at the numbers he threw up, your jaw starts to drop.
Against a quality opponent, in a hostile environment, Clement ran for 230 yards (on only 14 carries) and three TD's, and he picked up another score with his arm as well. His four TD performance fueled the Knights to a massive season opening win, and it should serve as a notice to the rest of District 7-1A that Lafayette Christian Academy is dangerous with Clement leading the charge.
Offensive players provide the statistical fireworks, but defense deserves love too. Our last player of the week earned this honor the hard way.
Sabarian Alexander spent a large portion of last season on the sidelines. An ACL injury ended his 2015 campaign, but he wasn't going to let it ruin his senior year.
It took him all offseason to get his strength and explosive ability back, and he proved he's not who QB's want to mess with in his first game against New Iberia.
After recovering from an ACL injury, some players lose a step, but not Alexander. In his first official game back, he picked off a pass and took it to the house. How about a pick-six to let everyone know you're back?
Breaux Bridge's offense looks vastly improved under Terry Martin, and if Julian Leon and the offense can depend on Sabarian Alexander and the defense, the Tigers could be a tough team to beat all season long.
It would be easy to keep naming players of the week (Erath's Elijah Mitchell, Acadiana's Ziggy Francis, St. Martinville's Deantre James), but we're going to keep it to three. Speaking of things coming in three's, it's time to outline your games of the week.
Game One: Acadiana vs Ponchatoula
Ted Davidson's Acadiana Wrecking Rams got embarrassed last season in Ponchatoula. It's time for a little payback.
In the 26-0 shutout, the Rams were plagued by turnovers and completely dominated. It was an early sign of the sloppy mistakes that followed Acadiana in 2015 and kept them from making a deep run in the playoffs.
At halftime of the 2016 Kiwanis Jamboree, Ted Davidson told his team, "We don't let go of the ball unless the ref takes it from us." His team doesn't want to drop the ball again against Ponchatoula, literally.
If Acadiana wants to get revenge against Ponchatoula, Ziggy Francis is going to be sore on Saturday morning.
Francis rushed for almost 200 yards and three TD's against Northside, and his offensive line imposed their will against an undermanned Vikings squad. It will be strength versus strength in the trenches against Ponchatoula, so we should know how dominant the Rams can be upfront after week two.
With the veer machine, things work simply for Acadiana: when they don't fumble, they typically win. Will they keep the ball in their hands and off the ground? The scoreboard will tell the tale.
Acadiana isn't the only wrecking crew in town. If you cross north of I-10, you better look out for Carencro.
Game Two: Carencro vs New Iberia
If you're a fan of offense, you need to make sure you get to the open air Cro Dome at least once this year. With Kevin Faulk calling the plays for a loaded roster, prepare for points.
Pick your poison, when it comes to defending the Bears. Carencro can hurt you with multiple weapons from anywhere on the field. Treylon Barnaba housed a 96-yard punt return in the season opener, and he added on a rushing TD as well. Barnaba is a beast in the backfield, with burst to compliment his size, and his quarterback is equally as dangerous.
Of all the QB's in the area, Karl Randall might be the shiftiest. His pump fakes make defenders look silly, and his ability to scramble and create plays out of the pocket wreak havoc on the opposition. Eric Tolivour was his favorite target in week one, but you can't talk about Carencro without discussing the Poullard twins.
Kendarius and Mondarius Poullard might be small, but they make up for their lack of size with huge hearts and relentless attitudes. They're mini monsters and complete gym rats, capable of producing surprising power from their size. With "Twinsanity" coming out of the backfield and playing out of the slot, Randall always has two targets to pick from. If one of them isn't open, the other twin probably is. Not to mention they're two of the more colorful characters in the entire area. They like to talk, and their play backs it up.
This week's game isn't all about Carencro though. New Iberia and Breaux Bridge went into overtime in week one, and NISH played Carencro closely last season in a 19-7 defeat.
Last but certainly not least, we have a defending state champion taking on a proud program with a rejuvenated offense.
Game Three: Notre Dame vs Breaux Bridge
Those two names speak for themselves. When you see Notre Dame vs Breaux Bridge on the schedule, your eyes light up. Two heavyweights, slugging it out on a Friday.
It's Terry Martin's job to bring the playoff pride back to Breaux Bridge, and his offense looks ready for the task. Julian Leon is a big quarterback with a strong arm, and he has young, talented receivers like Dartravien Gregory to haul in his passes. Their vertical passing game can give defensive coordinators nightmares, but Lewis Cook's Pioneers won their state championship with defense.
The Pios need to slow down the Breaux Bridge offense and give their own new QB Bryant Thevis a chance to put up some points. While the Pios will worry about Breaux Bridge's offense, the Tigers will be trying to deal with possibly the single most dominant player in all of Acadiana: Tyler Shelvin.
Shelvin is a four-star recruit and will be playing SEC football on Saturdays in Death Valley. In high school, he's a force of nature. Opposing offensive lines basically have no choice but to triple team him, which frees up the rest of Notre Dame's defense to fly to the ball and make plays. No matter how you draw it up, Shelvin creates problems. Either you devote your entire offensive line to stopping him, or he lands on top of your quarterback and drives him into the grass. Good luck.
Notre Dame shut out Breaux Bridge last season (20-0), so the Tigers want to erase that memory from their minds. A win against the Pioneers would put Terry Martin on track for something great in his first year at Breaux Bridge, but Notre Dame didn't get all those trophies in their case by accident.
There are way more than three great games around Acadiana (like Catholic-New Iberia and Diallo Landry vs Erath and Elijah Mitchell), but we'll keep it to three for now.
Who will step out in week two and earn player of the week honors for the next Football Forecast? There's only one way to make sure you don't miss it: go to the games on Friday.