We are just six weeks away from KPLC's coverage of Two-A-Days and to get ready we continue our 7-in-Seven countdown.
Countdowns will include topics from McNeese to high school football. A new countdown each week, beginning every Monday.
We continue the countdown with the seven most competitive local districts this upcoming season. Of course, this is just our analysis, you never know what might happen on the gridiron this fall.
7. Class 2A - District 4 (4-2A)
This was a district I got dead wrong a season ago. Although I can guarantee you, I wasn't alone.
While I called for Rosepine to surprise everyone, I wasn't expecting a 10-2 season with an undefeated run through district.
The Eagles may even be a better team this year. Rosepine returns plenty of talent and is arguably, the biggest team in the district.
DeQuincy was only a win over Rosepine away from a co-district title and you can expect the Tigers to not make the race easy despite their losses on offense. Losing big-time talent is also a theme with Vinton, East Beauregard and Oakdale.
Pickering is likely a year away from being in contention as the Red Devils switch offense and defensive schemes.
I called for a log-jam in 2017, but this season I think the Eagles are the clear-cut favorites.
FAVORITE: Rosepine Eagles (10-2 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: DeQuincy Tigers (5-6), Oakdale Warriors (3-8),
UNDERDOGS: East Beauregard Trojans (3-6), Pickering Red Devils (0-10), Vinton Lions (4-6)
6. Class 2A - District 5 (5-2A)
Boy, was this a great district a season ago? Two of the teams played for state championships.
Kinder and Welsh played a thriller during the regular season, as did Notre Dame and Kinder.
Once again this is a three-horse race at the top, although it's heavily shifted in Notre Dame's direction.
The state champion Greyhounds lose Zach Hayes and a host of other stars, while Kinder parts with an impressive senior class that includes two-star prospects Jordan Cordova and Joey McNeely.
Lake Arthur could also be improved and come in with momentum after winning a playoff game a season ago.
FAVORITE: Notre Dame Pioneers (11-1 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: Kinder Yellow Jackets (7-6), Welsh Greyhounds (13-1)
UNDERDOGS: Lake Arthur Tigers (5-6), Ville Platte Bulldogs (3-8)
5. Class 1A - District 4 (4-1A)
We move down to our lowest classification, but certainly not the lowest form of competition.
St. Edmund ruled the roost with a perfect 7-0 district record a year ago, but Basile was a win over the Blue Jays away from the same record. Elton, Oberlin and Merryville were each a step behind in the race.
This season, Basile looks to be poised to take the biggest leap coming off a 9-4 season. The Bearcats return their biggest two play makers in Reed and Ashford. St. Edmund (Luke Doucet), Oberlin (James Kirklin), Merryville (Desmond McCain) and Elton (Keshawn Lyons) meanwhile all lose their top offensive player from 2017.
Grand Lake and Hamilton are hopeful to right the ship, along with South Cameron who despite low numbers, will still field a team.
FAVORITE: Basile Bearcats (9-4 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: Elton Indians (7-4), Grand Lake Hornets (2-8), Merryville Panthers (6-6), Oberlin Tigers (7-5), St. Edmund Fighting Blue Jays (10-2)
UNDERDOGS: Hamilton Christian Warriors (2-7), South Cameron Tarpons (0-9)
4. Class 4A - District 3 (3-4A)
Leesville towered over the district a season ago with a perfect 4-0 record. The Wampus Cats' closest game was a 27-0 victory over DeRidder. I don't expect that type of domination again with Leesville losing such a strong senior class.
Tioga looks to be the best threat to dethrone Leesville as the Indians feel good about their young but experienced passing attack that's returning. Tioga is just two seasons removed from a 9-1 regular season. DeRidder meanwhile loses a boatload of starters, but quarterback Lane Armer and Greg Woodard are still in place and give the Dragons a fighting chance for the district title.
Buckeye took a step forward a season ago, as they hope to build on their momentum.
FAVORITE: Leesville Wampus Cats (10-2 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: DeRidder Dragons (6-4), Tioga Indians (7-5)
UNDERDOGS: Buckeye Panthers (5-6), Grant Cougars (1-9)
3. Class 3A - District 4 (4-3A)
This district has been a fan favorite in recent memories with South Beauregard, Iowa, Jennings, St. Louis and Washington-Marion all playing for a share of the district title late in the season over the past few years.
Last season, Iowa romped it's way to a perfect 9-0 record with Jennings and Washington-Marion tagging behind. The Bulldogs are hoping for a similar result this season as they come in the favorite.
Jennings' track record says the Dogs will be a handful while Iowa has to replace an impressive senior class that had three Division I players. Washinton-Marion will likely compete for the crown as well, but the Charging Indians have to cope with the loss of their head coach Freddie Harrison late in the off-season. Despite his loss, W-M is still the most talented team in the district with three players with multiple DI offers.
Westlake is once again a dark-horse, but the Rams will have to replace their two biggest weapons from 2017. St. Louis will have numerous new pieces and a new offensive/defensive system as Chad Lavergne takes over the program. South Beauregard and LCCP should also be better after taking their bumps and bruises a season ago.
FAVORITE: Jennings Bulldogs (10-3 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: Iowa Yellow Jackets (10-1), Lake Charles College Prep Trailblazers (2-8), St. Louis Saints (4-8), Washington-Marion (5-6), Westlake Rams (5-7)
UNDERDOGS: South Beauregard Golden Knights (0-9)
2. Class 5A - District 3 (3-5A)
We continue the list with the big boys in class 5A. This district has been arguably one of the best in the state over the past few years and nothing should change this season.
It'll be the usual suspects competing for the crown. 2016 and 2017 co-champions, Acadiana, Barbe and Sulphur will all be in the mix for the district title.
Barbe and Sulphur look to be in a good position both returning all-district quarterbacks. Acadiana meanwhile brings back just six total starters as well as having to replace legendary coach, Ted Davidson.
Comeaux, New Iberia and Sam Houston could also pull some upsets if the teams take a step forward. While LaGrange has some top talent, the Gators have a coaching change and lost a solid senior class as well.
FAVORITE: Sulphur Golden Tors (7-3 in 2017)
CONTENDERS: Acadiana Rams (12-2), Barbe Buccaneers (11-2)
UNDERDOGS: Comeaux Spartans (4-7), LaGrange Gators (3-6), Sam Houston Broncos (4-6), Lafayette Lions (0-10), New Iberia Yellow Jackets (4-6)
1. Class 3A - District 5 (5-3A)
This district was a load of fun in 2017. While being a fringe coverage district with Iota being our only local team, it is the most competitive.
While Church Point posted a perfect 7-0 district record, three of their wins came by a single possession. Crowley, Eunice, Iota and Northwest all posted strong seasons a year ago and each could do the same again.
Iota added a pair of transfers (LB Tayte Langley/Eunice and RB Luke Doucet/St. Edmund) that could tip the scales in its direction. The Bulldogs turnaround is special with Iota coming into last season with just three wins since 2012.
FAVORITE: Iota Bulldogs (9-3)
CONTENDERS: Church Point Bears (9-2), Crowley Gents (8-5), Eunice Bobcats (5-6), Northwest Raiders (9-4)
UNDERDOGS: Mamou Demons (1-9), Pine Prairie Panthers (3-7), Port Barre Red Devils (0-10)