Football Forecast: STM vs Teurlings, Barbe vs Comeaux, Catholic High vs OC [VIDEO]
It's crazy to think we're already at Week Eight of the high school football season. Only three games left before the start of the playoffs, and there's still a lot to figure out.
There are rivalries to settle, district titles to claim, power points to collect and playoff spots to battle for. Coincidentally, all of those factors play into this week's Football Forecast.
Of course, it's STM-Teurlings game week, which means we devote some attention to one of the most heated rivalries in South Louisiana. On top of that, we have another big time showdown in District 3-5A and a battle between two teams in District 5-2A with only one loss between them. Admittedly, there aren't too many incredible games to go around on this week's slate, so we will put some laser focus on our three games of the week.
As always, let's start off the Football Forecast by looking back at the week before. The Players of the Week from Week Seven are getting serious attention from colleges, and they're giving them their money's worth when the recruiters come sit in the stands.
Players of the Week: Griffin Hebert, Elijah Mitchell, Travis Etienne, Zach Clement
All four of our players of the week will be playing on Saturdays. Three of them already have offers, and the last player deserves way more attention.
The folks up in Ruston should be drooling right now, because Hebert is already committed to play for Louisiana Tech. He said he loves their "air raid offense," and with his skills, he could put up huge numbers as a Bulldog.
Speaking of guys destined for greatness, how about that Elijah Mitchell guy?
This isn't Mitchell's first appearance in Players of the Week, but he gave me no choice. He scored six, count 'em, SIX touchdowns for Erath last week, leading them to victory. He went over the 200 yard mark again on the ground, collecting three rushing TD's, and he added onto it with two receiving touchdowns. For the cherry on top, he tossed another touchdown through the air. That's a crucial TD countdown (3 rushing, 2 receiving, 1 passing).
Everyone in Acadiana needs to thank the stars he committed to play for the Ragin' Cajuns. Selfishly, I want him to stay in the area so I can keep watching him carve defenses like a jack-o-lantern.
In terms of the best running backs in the state, Jennings' star Travis Etienne Jr. might top the list. Also, the entire town of Jennings flooded our Twitter poll to nominate him as the write-in candidate, so we had to give him some love.
Etienne is getting attention from basically every big program in the country, and he already has offers from Alabama, Oregon, Miami, TCU and Texas A&M. Last year's Offensive MVP in Class 3A is destroying defenses as a senior, and Week Seven was just another example of his superb skills.
He helped Jennings stay undefeated by rushing for 271 yards and four touchdowns. I would say that's out of the ordinary, but that's basically a regular day at the office for Etienne. Stop it, Travis. You're not fair.
Our last player of the week put his team on his back, but he's used to the weight. Zach Clement has been doing it all season for the LCA Knights.
Lafayette Christian Academy is in the top five of the Division IV power rankings for the first time in program history, largely due to the play of Clement at quarterback. In a 55-33 win over Hanson Memorial, Clement racked up 426 total yards and six touchdowns. He's a scoring machine for LCA, and he's conducting the Knight Train right into the playoffs.
Did I say playoffs? What a perfect way to transition into our games of the week. Our first matchup has it all: playoff implications, a district title on the line...and a classic rivalry.
GAME ONE: St. Thomas More vs Teurlings Catholic
The entire city of Lafayette divides when St. Thomas More plays Teurlings Catholic. When the Rebels and Cougars meet, everyone knows they're in for drama.
St. Thomas More is coming off a win over Carencro that sent shockwaves through District 4-4A. The Bears were undefeated before last week, and the presumed favorite to take the district title. Now, the Rebels and Cougars are the only undefeated teams left in district play, and after this week, only one will remain.
Offensively, we're in for a treat. STM's quarterback Nate Cox leads the state in passing yards, and he did most of his damage without Griffin Hebert on the field. Now, Hebert is back, and the Cougars look really scary on offense. On the opposite side, Teurlings has one of the most dynamic athletes in Louisiana playing quarterback, Hayden Cantrelle.
Cantrelle sat out the last few weeks with a rib injury, but he's rested, relaxed and ready to go for the last rivalry game of his Rebel career. He has a massive offensive line in front of him and a versatile running back, Jansen Lormand, next to him in the backfield. With Sonny and Roch Charpentier calling the plays, they're always set up to succeed. When you factor in Cantrelle's ability to extend plays and create chaos out of the pocket, you get a very dangerous offense.
I hope the scoreboard operator at STM is getting paid well, because he's going to get a lot of work this Friday.
Defensively, STM is anchored by Hunter Clay in the middle of their defensive line. He's a big body to deal with, and he's proving that he's still explosive after coming back from an ACL injury last year. Teurlings is led by Tyler Batiste and Beau Leblanc at linebacker, and Justin Murray and Kade Sonnier at safety. Murray will probably get the tough task of following Griffin Hebert around the field, and it will be up to both defenses to slow down some of the most potent scorers in the state.
Throw the records aside in this one. Sonny Charpentier and Jim Hightower both told their teams practically the same message, "You know what to expect this week." What should you expect as a fan: two teams that are loaded to the teeth, incredibly well prepared and itching to earn bragging rights. Excited?
Our second game of the week might not be a rivalry, but any time two teams meet up near the top of District 3-5A, you should expect some nastiness.
GAME TWO: Comeaux Spartans at Barbe Bucs
With the LHSAA ruling taking a win away from the Acadiana Wreckin' Rams, things got a lot more interesting in District 3-5A. The Barbe Bucs are now tied with Acadiana with only one loss in district play, and if they want to keep pace, they have to go through the Comeaux Spartans to get there.
After two weeks of frustrating finishes, the Spartans unloaded on St. Martinville last week. Tiki Pascual and the Comeaux offensive line ran all over the Tigers in a 52-0 win on homecoming. The Spartans' offense is for real. They're averaging 42.8 points per game this season, and they only scored under 40 once this year. Brett Dotson, Tanarious Achan, Pascual and the rest of the seniors on this team are part of something special, and they're trying to carry as much momentum as possible into the playoffs.
A win over Barbe would be huge for Comeaux. Not only will it be payback for years of dominance by the Bucs, it would provide them with a ton of valuable power points, increasing their seeding and chances of advancing deep into the playoffs. Beating the Bucs is easier said than done though.
Barbe is one two-point conversion away from an undefeated season. If that one play goes different, we're looking at a 7-0 Bucs team. Even with the loss, they're still frightening on offense.
Gavin Nettles is the real deal at quarterback, and Kirkland Banks is an absolute beast at running back. Banks does it all, and he can hurt you from any point on the field. He returns kicks and punts, catches the ball out of the backfield and does the dirty work between the tackles. The Bucs can keep up with anybody offensively, and Acadiana was the only team in District 3-5A to score more than 14 points on their defense so far.
Barbe is probably drooling over the possibility of a district title, but Comeaux's seniors have been trying to crash everyone's party all season long. Every week in District 3-5A, there's a thriller. This one is the clear pick, if you're a fan of drama.
For our final game of the week, it's about time I show some love to Catholic High-New Iberia.
GAME THREE: Catholic High-New Iberia vs Opelousas Catholic
Everybody gets caught up in awe of the Notre Dame Pioneers in District 5-2A, but they need to be paying more attention to the Panthers and Vikings too.
Catholic High-New Iberia is undefeated and ranked #8 in the LSWA Polls, and Opelousas Catholic's only loss is to Notre Dame. They've both been bashing people all season, and now they meet up for a serious clash in district play.
The Panthers struggled last season with some young players, but they've been taking out their frustration from 2015 all year long. If you throw out one of their games that got called early, Catholic High's average margin of victory is 42 points per game. They scored over 50 points in all but one game this season, and they're crushing people week in and week out.
Diallo Landry orchestrates their offense from the quarterback position, complimented by his brother, Ben, and Jadan Stokes in the backfield. Diallo's Twitter handle involves the name "Superman," and with his play so far this season, he deserves a cape.
The Panthers are punching people in the mouth, but Vikings were made for battle.
Aside from their loss to Notre Dame, Opelousas Catholic scored 30+ points in every game this season. They're not getting any love from the LSWA Polls, which puts a big chip on their shoulder. The Vikings are a proud program, and they won't roll over facing a scary opponent.
Remember, it's not just Notre Dame's district. If Catholic High beats Opelousas Catholic, we all need to start preparing for a district championship game in the final week of the regular season.
With so many lopsided matchups in Week Seven, you can afford to go all-in on one of our games of the week. Whether it's the rivalry game between STM and Teurlings, the possible nail-biter in District 3-5A or the heavyweight fight in District 5-2A, make sure you go out and pack the stands for the players on the field.
For the seniors, the games are flying by. In a few months, their time to shine under the Friday night lights will run out. The memories they make will last them a life time, and their teammates will turn into lifelong friends and brothers.
When they look back at their time on the football field, let's all make sure they remember seeing fans in the stands, smiling and cheering them on. We wish football season never ended, but that's not how it works. The only way to deal with the passage of time is to enjoy every minute.