By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine
Today, we will preview the three local teams all in Division III-Select in the LHSAA playoffs on what’s going to be a perfect night for football – cold enough for blankets, coffee and hot chocolate, but unlike last week, dry.
Let’s start with Calvary Baptist, which deservedly had a bye in last week’s Round 1.
The Cavaliers will play host to Northlake Christian, who is coming off a big 40-7 win over Houma Christian last week.
This will be an interesting game. I just saw Northlake Christian play two weeks ago. What I can tell the Shreveport-Bossier Journal readers is this: Northlake Christian is a determined, very gritty and well-coached team. The Covington-based Wolverines are not big in size but they are strong, and will give you a battle if you don’t bring your game to match their toughness.
Northlake is led by senior QB Jaden McCall (5-11, 160), who runs a 4.65 40-yard dash and has a ton of experience. The Wolverines have a freshman RB who has big-time power for such a young man in Kameron Casnave, a legit 5-11 and 225 pounds.
The offensive line is a scrappy bunch led by tough, quick senior Dylan Angelo (6-1, 265). The NC defense has a very good LB corps featuring tough kids Larkins Jenkins (6-0, 193) and Gavin Krone (5-10 200).
The key for Calvary is to wear this team down, be mistake-free and win the game in the trenches. I think the Cavs’ offensive line, paced by Landon Rothemel (6-0, 280), Jimmy Wright (6-3, 270) and Jordan Byrd (5-9, 230) needs to take over.
Defense is a big strength of this Calvary Baptist team. LB Cade Bedgood (5-11, 200), DB Hutch Grace (6-1 190), DB John Simon and others will need to do what they’ve done all season — make plays.
I like Calvary in this one, but it could turn into a tough game if the Cavs suffer some turnovers, which they’ve done well avoiding as Rodney Guin’s teams seem to always do.
Loyola Prep travels to Baton Rouge to square off against Episcopal. This game will be a classic – featuring two evenly-matched teams.
Episcopal lost 90 percent of its starters from last season and Loyola also lost a lot, but here we are, two great programs fighting to advance forward from Round 2. Episcopal had a bye last week while Loyola made it look easy against St. Thomas Aquinas in a 61-14 rout.
The key will be Loyola Prep getting some sustained drives to chew up the clock. The Flyers need the run game, led by QB Cooper DeFatta and RB Trace Wall, to deliver.
Episcopal will try and do the same thing, control the clock and the ball. QB Lewis Ward (5-9, 165) has a cannon arm. The Knights’ best player is RB/OLB Braeden George (6-1, 198, 4.5 speed), and other standouts include WR David Olinde, and two tough defensive players in LB Chase Cresson and DE John Brady Sessums, who are both 6-0, 220 or heavier.
Episcopal might be getting back star WR Cooper Breaud, who is originally from Shreveport. Breaud has been sidelined most of this fall. He brings a home run threat with 4.59 speed and lots of talent.
Parkview Baptist coming up from Baton Rouge to North Caddo could be a great game. Parkview is the hottest team in Baton Rouge coming off a Round 1 win over a solid Menard squad, 31-0, while North Caddo earned a bye.
The Titans, I believe, are the best-kept secret in the state. I have seen both teams play more than once. Parkview has not seen an offense as talented as North Caddo. What makes the Eagles so good is they are well-coached and play with a chip on their shoulders.
PBHS’ starting 11 is as good as any in Division III, but they don’t have any depth and will wear down fast if North Caddo has a great offensive night.
North Caddo will ride with QB/RB KJ Black, RB Aiden Brock, RB Tray Thomas, and the Titans’ stud — I think he will be a prep All American — WR/DB Omarion Miller.
Parkview will counter with a great QB in Abram Johnston (6-1, 185), who doesn’t throw bad passes and has a strong arm. The best two-way player in all of Louisiana, outside of Omarion Miller, is Parkview’s WR/LB Micah Johnson (6-2, 230, 4.55 speed). He has taken over games by himself this year.
This will be an offensive scorefest. Whoever makes the least number of mistakes, and the most big plays, wins. I like North Caddo but Parkview will make this a great game for 48 minutes, maybe more.
Friday, we’ll wrap up the Round 2 previews with games involving Byrd, Captain Shreve, Evangel and Northwood.
Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org