The 5 biggest questions for Acadiana area football teams heading into the fall
With the Louisiana high school football season starting next Friday, teams from across Acadiana are gearing up for the new year.
Here are five big questions surrounding the Acadiana area teams heading into the new year.
1. How will young pieces around Walker Howard perform for St. Thomas More?
St. Thomas More won the Division II state championship last season and has the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the nation according to 247Sports Composite, Walker Howard, coming back for his senior season.
But losing 16 all-district players from a season ago, including three at wide receiver, will make repeating last years success much harder. One of those three, Jack Bech, was Howard's top target and is now a wideout at LSU.
St. Thomas More is also hauling in five new starters on its offensive line and will have to replace eight All-District players on defense.
New faces will be littering both sides of the ball for the Cougars.
2. Can Lafayette Christian win a fifth consecutive state championship?
Brylan Green, Fitzgerald West Jr. and Jordan Allen lead a Lafayette Christian defense that held Isidore Newman, led by five-star quarterback Arch Manning, to just seven points in the Division III state semifinals. Green, who is committed to Liberty, is also pledged to play baseball at the school, while West is committed to LSU and Allen is committed to Penn State.
The unit around them is also rich with talent. Outside linebacker Masey Lewis has offers from Kansas, UL and Tulane; his brother Sandy mans the other edge rusher spot; and Brayden Ziegler and Melvin Hills give the defense even greater depth in the middle of the field, playing middle linebacker and defensive line, respectively.
LCA's defense should be elite. If the Knights score enough points — sophomore quarterback Jujuan Johnson returns after getting starting snaps as a freshman — a fifth consecutive state title should be well in reach.
3. Will Westgate be a state title contender?
Westgate will have a very talented group in 2021.
It will have nine returning starters on defense, including four-star 2023 safety recruit Derek Williams. Williams has offers from Alabama, LSU, Texas and Texas A&M. Linebacker Zyion Madison and defensive back Damarion Davis give this Westgate unit a strong veteran presence.
On offense, Westgate will have the ultimate Swiss Army Knife in Danny Lewis Jr. Lewis, a top-45 recruit in the state, is a three-star tight end, running back and quarterback at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.
4. How will Notre Dame's offense shake out?
Lewis Cook Jr. has found plenty of success as Notre Dame's coach. The Pioneers have accumulated a 273-41 record while he's been in charge.
But Notre Dame will have turnover at every position on its offense, losing four players who were all-district selections a season ago. Quarterback Parker Seilhan is among those departing all-district players.
On defense it's a different story, with five returning starters from last year. It's a group that should help an offense that may go through growing pains early on in the year.
5. Which teams in Acadiana could become surprise contenders?
Loreauville and St. Martinville are two teams that could make a deep postseason run in 2021.
At Loreauville, coach Terry Martin has built a strong team around the offensive duo of Colin and Calep Jacob — who are brothers. Calep is the quarterback while Colin catches his passes. The Tigers don't have any returning linebackers, but bring back their entire secondary from a year ago.
St. Martinville will have all but one starter on offense returning this season. And defensively it has Quinton and Mandrel Butler, cousins who lead a strong defense that is bringing back eight starters from a year ago.