Predictions For Acadiana Area Schools In LHSAA Playoffs
How many of the Acadiana area schools will be victorious in the third round of the LHSAA football playoffs this week?
8 schools from the area are still vying for state titles, in six of the nine different classifications.
Let’s run down the different classes, and see what teams from the local area have the best chances at advancing to the quarterfinals:
In Class 5A, Acadiana, the #14-seed will travel to take on 11th-seeded Zachary.
Acadiana is not your typical #14-seed. They really have only two losses all year, but had to forfeit a game to Sulphur. As for their other losses; one was on the last play of the game to Carencro, and the other was a one-point loss to Ponchatoula.
The Wreckin' Rams have gotten better as the year has progressed over the past decade-plus, and this year is no exception, winning their last six, and eight, if you excuse the forfeit loss to Sulphur, a game they actually won on the field.
Zachary, out of District 4-5A, is good. Teams aren't playing on the Friday after Thanksgiving unless they're good. They're capable of putting up a lot of points, as their 102 points in two playoff games would attest.
Acadiana, who has scored 34 or more points in their last six games, and who has 10 interceptions in their last two games, is just too good, and playing too well.
The pick is Acadiana.
In Class 4A, 9th-seeded Carencro will host top-seeded Neville.
I know how good Neville is, and I'll take about that in a second, but I think Carencro has a realistic shot.
In case you haven't noticed, the Bears are pretty good too, with a win over Acadiana, two close losses to St. Thomas More and Teurlings, and two impressive playoff wins, in which outscored opponents, 63-10.
It also helps that Carencro is playing at home.
So, yes, Carencro has a shot, and a realistic one at that.
That being said, Neville is extremely impressive. Offensively, they've scored 40 or more points in 7 of their 11 games this season, while not allowing any more than 18 points in any one game on the defensive end.
Neville has kept their momentum going in the playoffs, outscoring the opposition, 68-7, in their two games.
Now, granted, this is the postseason, but to give you an idea of how good Neville over the last six years; the last time they lost a regular season game to a team from the state of Louisiana was 2010.
Carencro has a shot, and I hop I'm wrong, but I have to go with Neville.
The pick is Neville.
In Class 3A, Kaplan, the #3-seed, will travel to meet Jennings, the #6-seed, while 8th-seeded Northwest will be on the road to face top-seeded West Feliciana.
Kaplan plays old school football; straight ahead running, protect the football, and defense.
That philosophy has helped the Pirates to a 12-0 record, and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Kaplan simply doesn't make mistakes. They haven't committed a turnover since the second week of the season.
Defensively, Kaplan is only allowing 12.1 points-per-game.
Those are the kinds of statistics that give you a chance to win any game, and Kaplan will have to continue to play at a high level to defeat Jennings, who is currently 11-1.
Jennings is averaging 39.8 points-per-game, but has allowed 20 or more points in 8 of their 12 games.
This one is very difficult to pick, but I'm going to go with Kaplan, simply because they've been a little bit more consistent this season.
The pick is Kaplan.
Northwest has been underrated all year. Even at the end of the regular season, when they were 10-0, they still ranked in the LSWA 3A poll. All they've done is gone 12-0, while outscoring opponents, 496-108.
It's one thing to fly under the radar, and be underappreciated, as Northwest has done and been all year, but it's another to have bad luck.
The Raiders, unfortunately, drew the #8-seed, and got put on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded West Feliciana, who is unbeaten, at 12-0.
West Feliciana is the top-seed for a reason...they're that good...and they're playing at home.
Like they've done all year, Northwest will likely surprise people, and play better than expected, but they probably just have too tall of a task.
The pick is West Feliciana.
Unfortunately, there are no Acadiana area schools still playing in Class 2A.
There are also no school from the area left in Class 1A.
Moving on to the select divisions, where teams will be playing in semifinal action, there are no schools from Acadiana remaining in Division I.
In Division II, 3rd-seeded St. Thomas More will host 7th-seeded University Lab.
STM has won six-straight, and playing good football right now.
The Cougars have scored at least 37 points in 8-consecutive games, including 40 or more in 7 of those 8, while only allowing 68 points over their last 6 games.
University Lab has four losses, but all were to good teams, including two 5A schools (Rummel & Mandeville), and West Felicana and Parkview Baptist, who are both still playing in the playoffs.
University Lab can put up points as well, averaging 45 points-per-game over their last five, so you could see some offensive fireworks in this one on Friday night.
The Cougars have been a lite more consistent, have played a slightly better schedule, and are playing at home.
The pick is St. Thomas More.
In Division III, Catholic High (New Iberia), the #4-seed will be on the road to meet top-seeded Riverside, while Notre Dame, the #2-seed, will host 3rd-seeded St. Charles.
These should be two really good football games, with the two winners advancing to the state title game.
Make no mistake, Catholic-NI faces an uphill battle. Riverside lost their first game of the year, 16-13, to 4A Neville, and has since reeled off 10-consectuive wins, including victories of 5A Hanhnville and 3A Parkview Baptist.
Riverside has scored at least 30 points in 8-consecutive games, while not allowing more than two touchdowns in 6-straight games.
That being said, don't count out Catholic-NI. Their only loss was at the hands of Notre Dame, they're extremely well-coached, and they have the offensive firepower to be able to move the ball against Riverside...at least as well as could reasonably be expected.
I'm expecting a close game, but have to go with the top-seed, especially with them playing at home.
The pick is Riverside.
The Notre Dame/St. Charles match-up is one featuring two great defenses.
Notre Dame, who is 12-0, has three shutouts to their credit, has not allowed more than 22 points in a game all year, and has held the opposition to only 8.8 points-per-game this season.
Even more impressive, the Pioneers have played such talented offensive teams as Teurlings, Loreauville, and Catholic (New Iberia).
Notre Dame, who normally has an outstanding defense, is tremendous on the defensive side again this year.
St. Charles, who is 10-2, has a pretty stout defense in their own right, tossing four shutout this year, while holding the opposition to 9.3 points a contest.
The difference in this game will be offense, where Notre Dame is averaging 45 points-per-game, compared to 27 ppg for St. Charles.
Also important is that the Pios are playing at home.
The pick is Notre Dame.
Finally, in Division IV, top-seeded Ascension Episcopal will host 12th-seeded Central Catholic.
Don't pay too much attention to the seeds here, as this one should be close.
Ascension Episcopal had to come from behind to capture an exciting 42-41 win over Central Catholic in the regular season finale three weeks ago, one that was for the District 7-1A crown.
The Blue Gators are unbeaten, at 12-0, while Central Catholic is 8-4, but has only lost once since week four, that one-point setback to Ascension Episcopal.
Central Catholic has scored 40 or more points in 5-consecutive games, while the Blue Gators have scored over 40 points in 9-straight games, so this one could be another offensive clinic.
I can't pick against the Blue Gators, as they've done everything this year to warrant a spot in the state title game.
The pick is Ascension Episcopal.
So, I have 5 Acadiana area team moving on, including two to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
But, of course, I hope I'm wrong about the three losses that I predicted.
The very best of luck to all 8 schools from the Acadiana area this week. And congratulations on making it this far!