By LEE BRECHEEN, Special to the Journal
Part III of our Playoffs in Depth preview takes a look at local teams in Divisions II and III of the Select side of the playoffs.
Istrouma at Evangel Christian
I think this will be a win for No. 13-seed Evangel Christian if the Eagles just execute on offense. No. 20-seed Istrouma is where former LSU running back and the late Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon played and many others — including current Texas A&M freshman running back Le’Veon Moss.
Istrouma has little depth and is really weak at defensive back and linebacker, which will hurt trying to defend the Eagles’ high-powered throwing attack. What the Indians do have is size. They have some huge kids in the trenches — led by tight end/defensive end Le’Darius Jones (6-3, 245), who I think is one of the better big athletes in Louisiana. They also have huge linemen, including Zion Burrell (6-0, 330), Travyon Jefferson (6-1, 330), Tyrese Tate (6-6, 330), and Dylan Fox (6-0, 285).
If the Eagles execute on offense, they should be able to put up 35 or more points in this game. I have Evangel — with quarterback Parker Fulghum and wide receivers Peyton Fulghum and Tyreek Robinson – winning this first-round game.
Calvary Baptist: Bye
The No. 5-seeded Cavaliers await the winner of the Northlake Christian vs. Houma Christian game. I have Northlake Christian — a senior-laden, gritty team – winning that one.
North Caddo: Bye
The No. 7-seeded Titans await the winner of Parkview Baptist vs. Holy Savior Menard. I have seen both teams play and think Parkview Baptist will win this one in a close game. Parkview has a special group of players who play hard but they’re not deep with many kids playing both sides of the football.
St. Thomas Aquinas at Loyola Prep
This should be a great matchup between the 11th -seeded Flyers and the 22nd-seeded Falcons. I’ve seen both teams play and give the edge to Loyola Prep in this one. I think the Flyers have the ability to score more points if they execute on offense – led by seniors Cooper DeFatta (quarterback), Nick Haynes (6-4, 210), Grayson Hutchins, John Carmody (6-2, 190) and others.
What St. Thomas Aquinas does have is size on the offensive and defensive lines, but the Falcons don’t have a lot of team speed. They do have some great athletes in senior wide receiver Case Reed (who has great hands), running back Darrius Vaughn, and wide receiver/defensive back Kendrell Perry (6-1, 185). Division I baseball prospect Bryce Simmoneaux (6-3, 180) is their new quarterback this year. Both programs play hard, and both are well-coached, so I think it will be a close game.
Green Oaks at Metairie Park Country Day
I give the edge to No. 24-seed Green Oaks in the trenches because the Giants are a bigger team. However, Country Day has a ton of skill guys who produce and the Cajuns also have a top running back in senior Jack Schwing, who may be just 5-8 and 155 pounds but he has 4.4 speed in the 40 and has run for over 1,500 yards this season. (Interesting fact: this kid didn’t even play running back until Week 1 of this season; he was a defensive back/wide receiver for three years.)
The key to the game is stopping Schwing, who had over 254 yards rushing last week, from running out the clock. For the Giants, the key will be to hold the ball, kill clock and finish drives with quarterback Tovoras Lee (6-0, 175). The Green Oaks’ defense will need leaders like defensive tackles Kashaun Green (6-1, 275) and Travis Lewis (5-11, 190) and defensive end Marlo Williams to try and stop the run game of Country Day.
Country day has a roster of less than 25 players, but the Cajuns have 22 really good players. I am going with Country Day – with too much offense to stop — in this one. If the game is close, Country Day has one of the state’s best kickers in senior Connor Gibbs (5-10 185), who is money from 55 yards in. I’ve seen this kid and he’s the real deal on kickoffs and field goals.
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Contact Lee at LBrecheen@aol.com