By LEE BRECHEEN, Special to the Journal
Part II of our Playoffs In Depth preview takes a look at first-round matchups involving local teams in Division I of the Select side of the playoffs.
The No. 6-seed Yellow Jackets will play the winner of McKinley and Alexandria. I think they will meet Alexandria in the second round and will face a tough matchup.
The Falcons (No. 5 seed) will play the winner of St. Paul’s and Holy Cross – two teams I have seen play. I think St. Paul’s will be the team Northwood meets in the second round. Holy Cross – a sleeper team in the playoffs to me before the season started — has lost over 15 players to injuries.
Jesuit at Huntington
I just saw Jesuit play in week 7 and this is not a good matchup for Huntington. The Blue Jays are really good at stopping the run and have faced teams like John Curtis, Edna Karr, and Brother Martin — all highly skilled teams. The key to this game is Raiders’ quarterback Kameron Evans coming back from injury and taking over with big plays from wide receivers Tre Carter and Kenton Brossett and others. Jesuit has a big-time young quarterback in Beau Perez (6-4, 215) with a strong arm and good feet.
The Blue Jays also have a strong, tough offensive line led by senior Roland Waguespack (6-4, 270). They like to run as many as four running backs — led by senior Jaron Duplessis 6-0 205 – and have a big-time wide receiver in Jace Larson (6-2, 170 with 4.5 speed). If the game is close and it comes down to special teams, Jesuit is one of the best in the state — led by kicker Aidan Corbello (5-10 170) and punter William Hudlow (a Tulane commit at 6-0, 215).
Jesuit’s defense has talent but it’s not big like in years past. However, they do return a strong linebacking group and one of the state’s top defensive backs in cornerback Nick Jacobs (6-2, 200 with 4.5 speed). I give Jesuit the edge, but Huntington can take this one if the offense can score at least 28 points.
Captain Shreve at Tioga
This is a very interesting matchup between the No. 16 seed Indians and 17-seeded Gators. Both teams will rely on having big games on offense because that’s their strength. Tioga plays a spread offense spread with a quarterback who can, on any given night, throw for over 300 yards – senior Gabe Sellers (6-0, 190). The Indians also have an All-State offensive tackle in senior Hayden Christman (6-6, 300) and very capable wide receivers in Jeremiah Caldwell (who also plays some running back), Jacorian Norris (6-1, 180), and Joshua Loyd (5-6, 155). Tioga also boasts one of the better college prospects I have seen in all of the Alexandria area: the imposing running back/linebacker Jaquarius Bilups (5-11, 242).
Captain Shreve will need to get another big game out of star senior quarterback Kenyon Terrell (5-10, 170), who has won over 21 games in his career for the Gators. Texas Tech wide receiver commit Marquez Stevenson needs to have a big game, along with wide receiver Cam Randolph and running back Jayden Edwards. I predict a high-scoring game which might come down to a field goal at the end, with Captain Shreve kicker John Chance having a chance to win it. I think Captain Shreve can pull this one out if the Gators execute on offense.
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Contact Lee at LBrecheen@aol.com