Football season is nearly here and the excitement is building.
After LHSAA recently released the 2017 regular season schedules, I had a chance to sit down and look at what is on the menu, and I must say there are quite a few intriguing matchups this year.
It was difficult to do, but I narrowed the full list of games of the four Iberville Parish teams down to a top five. Here are the five games that I feel will be stellar clashes for the regular season:
5. White Castle vs. Ascension Catholic (Oct. 20)
The Bulldogs missed having a winning record in district play by three points last year. They ended up going 2-3 after earning a win over lowly East Iberville and winless St. John in 2017. White Castle opened district play against the neighboring rival Bulldogs and fell just shy 14-16 in September. The early loss came back to bite White Castle later in the season when they failed to earn victories over Southern Lab and Kentwood later. This year, White Castle has Ascension Catholic smack dab in the middle of their district schedule and will look to earn that victory under the leadership of first year head coach Aaron Meyer.
4. Plaquemine at Parkview Baptist (Oct. 13)
The first of three of the most interesting games of the year involving arguably the best football club in Iberville Parish. Plaquemine will face off against District 6-4A newcomer Parkview Baptist this season. Parkview just came off a very successful year in District 6-3A after earning a 6-1 overall record. The Eagles advanced to the Division II Finals and ended as this year’s runners-up in that division to St. Thomas More. This game will be the second district game of the season and will take place after the district opening tilt between the Green Devils and Tara High. This is a statement game for head coach Paul Distefano. Look for this one to be the first of a classic rivalry.
3. East Iberville at St. John (Oct. 27)
Now this matchup last season took place at East Iberville High and both teams were fighting to earn their first win of the year. Each club began their regular seasons 0-3 in non-district play and both were looking to make a statement. For St. John, their goal was to continue their dominance they’ve had for decades over the young Tiger team. For East Iberville, they just wanted to earn their first win since 2012. Surprisingly, this one ended up becoming a blowout victory in favor of the Tigers. With the win, East Iberville Tigers earned their first since 2012 and their first over their parish rival since Sunshine High days. This season, both clubs are under new leadership and both clubs may be fighting to stay out of last place in 6-1A in this late-season tilt, which almost always makes for some great 1A football.
2. Plaquemine vs. St. Thomas More (Sept. 15)
At first, I had this in my number one spot, but after some thought had to drop it down because the game in the number one spot is just too juicy and this one is non-district. In the past, St. Thomas More has given the Plaquemine Green Devils some trouble. Last season, PHS took on STM in week three and were dominated on the turf after suffering a 42-21 loss. Though it was a non-district loss, the game still had an effect on the eventual postseason seeding for the Devils. Plaquemine also entered the game with a 1-1 record and were looking to right the ship, but came up just shy. St. Thomas More became the eventual champions in Division II last season over Parkview and went 5-0 in 4-4A. Look for this early season game to be a hard-hitting, high-scoring affair.
1. Plaquemine vs. Lutcher (Nov. 3)
Now for the most intriguing game of the season. Plaquemine Green Devils against District 6-4A newcomer Lutcher. Though Lutcher did not win their 9-3A district title, they won the overall 3A championship over Amite last season. Some may be thinking Lutcher won’t have the same success after moving up in classification to 4A, but this is the final game of the regular season. Both teams will be clawing their way for a high seed in the postseason. If, somehow, Plaquemine is struggling at this time, and Lutcher has been just hanging on all year, this game could very well decide the 6-4A champ. Will Plaquemine earn their fifth straight title? Or will Lutcher claim the crown in their first go-round? We’ll have to wait and see.