SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - 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 6 (6-2A)
District 6-2A repeats as No. 7 again as the race a year ago came down to just Notre Dame and the newcomer, Lafayette Christian. LCA edged out the defending champs en route to a state championship in 2019.
The district played out in a similar way as I expected last season and we could be in for another round of the same. Both Notre Dame and LCA allowed a combined nine total points in the district outside of their matchup. In fact, the Pioneers pitched shut outs in its three other games for the second straight season.
I expect Notre Dame and LCA’s bout to once again decide the district as Lake Arthur, Welsh and Port Barre aim to bounce back following losing seasons.
6. Class 2A - District 5 (5-2A)
The Lake Area's other 2A district comes in at six following another undefeated district title run by the Kinder Yellow Jackets. Kinder made its return to the district a year ago after two years in district six with Notre Dame and Welsh.
Kinder should have some strong competition in the district this year. Oakdale was the only district team that came within a possession of downing the Jackets a year ago although the Warriors lost district MVP, Keyon Pugh, to transfer. Rosepine returns a consistent face at coach and quarterback too and should be a threat. Vinton and DeQuincy, meanwhile, break in new coaches and Pickering is aiming to continue making positive steps in the right direction.
That being said, Kinder is still the favorite in this district as the Jackets haven’t lost a game vs. any of their district foes since a 2012 matchup with Rosepine.
5. Class 3A - District 5 (5-3A)
Once again district 5-3A was a tight one as Church Point held off Iota and Northwest to take home an undefeated title. But repeating for the Bears won’t be an easy task with the loss of running back Rodney Dupuis.
Church Point isn't the only team losing key ball carriers however as Iota must replace Luke Doucet and Northwest will be without Montez Sam. The Bears defense does return plenty of experience however with three first-team all-district members.
That experience should give the Bears the right to be the favorites coming in, but Iota and Northwest have proven to be teams that reload and not rebuild in recent seasons.
4. Class 4A - District 3 (3-4A)
This was a fun district last season as Tioga, DeRidder and Leesville each played tight games between each other a year ago and Peabody even threw in an upset over the Wampus Cats to close out the regular season.
Tioga's young playmakers were finally upperclassmen and that experience showed with a perfect 4-0 record in district. The Indians bring back plenty of experience as six first-team all-district athletes return led by the district's offensive (QB Blake McGehee) and defensive MVP (LB Jakobe Brock).
Leesville too has playmakers back in QB Jacob Mount and running back Caleb Gallashaw as they should once again threaten for the district crown. DeRidder meanwhile will have first-team all-district athlete KJ Gooden back at quarterback and an experienced offensive line. Peabody is a dark horse after a 7-5 season.
Tioga will be the favorite going in thanks to returning experience but this will be a tight race to the finish line.
3. Class 4A - District 4 (4-4A)
District 4-4A proved to be a great pairing of schools as four of the five teams were within a win of each other in the final standings with Eunice and Rayne sharing the district with a 3-1 record.
Eunice brings back a ton of experience on both sides of the football with six first-team all-district players back for the Bobcats. Eunice lost head coach Paul Trosclair last week after the state champion coach stepped down due to COVID-19 concerns. Trosclair is a cancer survivor and didn't feel safe coaching amid a pandemic. Offensive coordinator Andre Vige will take over head coaching duties.
Rayne went through a coaching change a year ago and came through with a 6-5 record although the Wolves will have plenty of senior talent to replace. LaGrange bounced back from a rough 2018 posting a 4-6 record and nearly winning the district title. Despite losing the district defensive MVP in James Christy, the Gators welcome back quarterback Quintorious Jones who enters his third season as a starter. North Vermilion must replace an all-district quarterback but usually, the Patriots are a consistent team. Washington-Marion meanwhile will be in year two under their coach and should take a step forward.
The Bobcats will come in as the favorite, but nearly every team will have a say in the race.
2. Class 1A - District 4 (4-1A)
The Oberlin Tigers cruised to a district title last outscoring their opponents 294-96 in seven games. This season should see a lot more competition for the top spot.
The Tigers were a senior-heavy bunch in 2019 and thus, of the eight first-team all-district players from a year ago, only one returns in Aiden Reed. Basile meanwhile lost a strong senior class as well as did Grand Lake and Hamilton Christian. The district race looks to be anyone's ball game with so many new starters from a year ago.
I said it a year ago but I mean it more now— this may be the hardest district to predict. East Beauregard will continue its power running attack and should make a run at the title. Basile is always a tough out and should be again. Hamilton Christian and Grand Lake benefited from new coaches a season ago and year two may be better for both schools. Gueydan meanwhile will break in a new coach and Merryville should bounce back following a rough season. Elton while going winless last year, is switching offenses to a more ground-focused attack.
East Beauregard is my favorite to win district coming into the season, but I think just about every team has an argument for the top spot and my answer will likely change week-to-week.
1. Class 3A - District 4 (4-3A)
This is arguably my favorite district because of how balanced it seems to be in every sport. Last season, the top four teams in the district finished within one game of each other with third-place Jennings going on to place in the Class 3A title game.
LCCP and St. Louis split the title a year ago with 4-1 records as both were expected to make noise. LCCP returns plenty on the offensive side of the ball as all five of the Blazers' first-team all-district performers are back led by South Alabama commit and district MVP Dillon Simon. In addition, four other weapons on the LCCP offense have division I offers. The SLC Saints, on the other hand, don't have the elite talent, but the Saints have some experience back. St. Louis welcomes back its efficient quarterback Cooper Miller, productive running back Evan Joubert and leading tackler John Reina.
Jennings too should feel good about their chances to win the district as the Dogs bring back a pair of highly recruited players in Trevor Etienne and Keenan Landry. In addition, Jennings brings back its quarterback, second-leading rusher, leading receiver and numerous starters on defense. Westlake won't get the publicity of the other three but the Rams made great strides under John Richardson a year ago leading the district race at one point. Iowa meanwhile dealt with major injuries to key players and South Beauregard was close to big wins a year ago but couldn't close losing all but one district game by two possessions.
The Blazers are once again my pick to win the district title but like last season it won’t come easy as each team may actually be better this season than last.