LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - We are just five 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 top seven Touchdown Live matchups this upcoming season.
7. Iowa at Iota (September 4)
We begin our countdown with a season-opening tilt between Iowa and Iota. The Bulldogs were able to snap a four-game losing streak to the Jackets by winning last season’s opener on the road.
After a 5-0 start to 2019 on the heels of a semifinal appearance in 2018, Iota had its inconsistencies down the stretch before bowing out in the second round of the playoffs. It's expected that the Dogs will have a different approach on offense with the departure of bruising running back Luke Doucet who rushed for just over 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior. Junior quarterback Dawson Wallace took over the starting role last season and his plate will become even more full as he heads into his second season as QB1.
Meanwhile, Iowa is looking to build off last year’s 4-6 season with a bevy of talent returning. After starting three different quarterbacks in as many seasons, that position will have some stability as Gene Natali returns for his senior campaign. He’s fortunate to have a trio of weapons at his disposal in senior running back Tyrone Brass and receivers Curtis Deville and Cade LaBruyere. Perhaps the most dynamic player that will take the field for Iowa this season is senior defensive back Cejae Ceasar who holds a number of Division I offers including one from Big 12 member Kansas State.
Both the Jackets and Dogs enter 2020 with plenty to prove and being able to go head to head to open the season will be a great measuring stick for both squads.
6. Eunice at LaGrange (November 6)
At number six we have the season finale between District 4-4A foes Eunice and LaGrange. The Gators fought tooth and nail with the Bobcats a season ago losing 21-18 in Eunice.
In its first season back in Class 4A, LaGrange snapped a losing streak that dated back to 2017 by upsetting crosstown foe Lake Charles College Prep in week four. The Gators would go on to rattle off three more victories and advance to the postseason. The Gators will look to continue turning the corner in 2020 as they will be led by senior quarterback Quintorus Jones.
Eunice is also coming off its first year back at the 4A level after winning the Class 3A state championship in 2018. The Bobcats will have a change at the top with the retirement of head coach Paul Trosclair who also was the head coach at Oakdale for five years during the 1990′s. Offensive coordinator Andre Vige will take over as the head coach as the Bobcats bring back six first-team all-district performers.
The week 10 showdown in the Swamp could decide the district champion.
5. Kinder at St. Louis (September 18)
Coming in at number five is an early-season non-district matchup between St. Louis and Kinder. This game came down to the wire in 2019 with the Saints escaping with a one-point victory in double overtime.
This game will be a battle of studs at the running back spot between Kinder's Ty Fuselier and St. Louis' Evan Joubert. Both were key factors in the success of their respective teams a season ago as both the Jackets and Saints were fortunate to make it to Thanksgiving week.
Much like last year, this game should serve as an early test for both teams as they both aim to compete for district titles in 2020.
4. LCCP at St. Louis (October 16)
At number four we have the district 4-3A battle between LCCP and St. Louis, the two teams that shared the district title in 2019.
Last year this game went down to the wire with the Trailblazers winning by six after overcoming a two-touchdown halftime deficit. The win was the first of four straight to close out the regular season for LCCP en route to its second consecutive district crown.
St. Louis is coming off its best season since 2010 as the Saints finished 9-3 and advanced to the Division II semifinals. Returning to lead the offense is senior quarterback Cooper Miller and running back Evan Joubert who rushed for over 1,700 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior.
LCCP will once again be a challenge to every team on its schedule with its arsenal of weapons at the skill positions led by South Alabama commit Dillon Simon at quarterback. The Blazers will look to take another step in the right direction after having an inconsistent 2019 season.
We should be in for yet another classic when these squads meet in week seven as the victor will likely be in the driver’s seat to win the district.
3. Sam Houston at Barbe (October 9)
Barbe and Sam Houston has become a multi-sport rivalry that’s must-watch no matter where it’s held. Last year we saw history on the gridiron as Big Sam took down the Bucs for the first time ever.
The lineup for the Broncos will look quite different than years past. Gone is quarterback Kyle Bartley along with all-state receiver Tavyen Grice and Louisiana Tech signee Jerren Gilbert. After playing all over the field the past two seasons, junior and Texas A&M baseball commit Luke Yuhasz will take over under center.
Meanwhile, on McNeese Street, the Bucs say goodbye to QB1 Davis Meche who will play baseball at Mississippi State, an all-state receiver of their own in Chandler Ware, and Air Force signee Hunter Brown. Senior Asa Higginbotham is expected to take over under center and will look to running back Tylan Ceasar to lighten the load as he breaks into a new role.
Given how the past two meetings have gone, we could see yet another classic when these two squads go head to head. But, if the Bucs or Broncos truly want to get over the hump and win a district title they must go through the defending Class 5A champions, Acadiana.
2. Jennings at Leesville (September 4)
Holding down the second spot on our countdown is the season opener between Jennings and Leesville. When the two squads met to open 2019, it was the Wampus Cats winning an overtime thriller by a touchdown.
Jennings will look to build off its state championship game appearance and start the season on a high note as its loss to Leesville would lead to an 0-3 start a season ago. The Dogs return plenty of talent at the skill positions led by the one-two punch in the backfield in Trevor Etienne and Jalen Lewis along with quarterback Bub Wilridge and receiver Jacorien Palfrey.
After a semifinal appearance in 2018, the Cats would have an up and down season last year. Leesville started off 5-0 but would lose four of their last five games before being eliminated in the second round. The Wampus Cats do return a strong set of skill players themselves, led by senior quarterback Jacob Mount and junior running back Caleb Gallashaw.
Both teams will look to be more consistent in 2020 with the talent they have returning and this matchup will serve as the first step.
1. LCCP at Jennings (October 23)
Coming in at the top spot is a battle of district foes in LCCP and Jennings. One thing is certain about this matchup– it will without question feature the most elite talent.
The Trailblazers have four Division I commits in QB Dillon Simon (South Alabama) and receivers Solomon Lewis (Louisiana Tech), Glynn Johnson (New Mexico State), and Jaylen Joseph (Grambling). Juniors Tre'Vonte Citizen and Keshlon Jackson have also seen their recruitment pick up steam as of late as they both hold six Division I offers apiece.
On the other side, the Bulldogs have some studs of their own. Senior defensive tackle Keenan Landry has been an anchor up front and holds five Division I offers including one from LSU. Junior running back Trevor Etienne is coming off a monster sophomore campaign totaling more than 1,700 yards on the ground and 25 touchdowns. He holds five SEC offers including LSU and Alabama.
After a slow start to 2019 that included losses to LaGrange and Westlake, LCCP won five straight before falling in the second round to McDonogh 35. The Blazers will aim to be more consistent this season as they look to win their third consecutive district title.
As mentioned before Jennings has plenty to build off of after last season. The young squad should benefit from the extra practices during its playoff run that saw them win three consecutive games by just one point.
This matchup could potentially decide who takes home the district crown and will be a game 247 and Rivals will have their eyes on because of the star power on the field.