Round 2 Playoff Preview: Evangel, Captain Shreve, Northwood, Byrd

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

Today wraps up the Round 2 previews of Shreveport-Bossier teams hoping to advance to the quarterfinals of the LHSAA football playoffs as they kick off tonight.

We start in Division II Select with Evangel Christian facing E.D White on the road in Thibodaux.

Evangel is coming off an impressive 60-0 win over Istrouma, and E.D. White comes off a bye.

I might be the only one in the statewide media who thinks Evangel has a chance, but my reasoning is that Evangel keeps getting better with talented players, both at the skill positions and in the trenches. The Eagles boast players like WR/DB Kody Jackson (6-2, 185), WR Parker Fulghum (6-1, 190), QB Peyton Fulghum, and “athlete” Tyreek Robinson, who has 4.4 speed.

I saw E.D. White play in 2021 and they will not on paper be a bigger team or faster team. Actually, Evangel will be the faster team overall, and has the advantage skill-wise. What E.D. White does do well is control the ball, mount long drives and eat clock with their big offensive line lead by Luke Gauthreaux (6-4, 310), Jacob Ginn (6-0, 280), and Matthew Broussard (6-4, 280).

Evangel can counter with a great linebacker core led by Drake Damari (6-0, 210), and DE/RB/OLB Gabriel Reliford (6-3, 230), who is as talented as anyone locally on the DL. E.D. White’s best athlete might be Matthew Melancon (6-0, 185), who runs a legit 4.5 40 and was All-State in 2021 as a DB.

If Evangel doesn’t turn the ball over, the Eagles have a chance to shock the Louisiana High School Football world — but not me — on Friday night.

Division I Select Captain Shreve goes south to New Orleans to meet powerhouse Warren Easton. Captain Shreve is coming off a 36-27 win against Tioga in the first round; Warren Easton had a bye.

This will be a game of “can you keep up” for Captain Shreve; Warren Easton does give up points but for the Gators to win this one, scoring at least 31 to 35 points might be needed. Warren Easton is again one of the fastest teams in Louisiana, led by a host of players with God-given talent, including QB Keddrick Connely (6-1, 205, 4.5 speed), CB Wallace Foster (5-11, 175, 4.4), DB/QB Mathis Lee (5-11, 175, 4.5), and All-State RB Fred Robertson (5-9, 180, 4.4).

Captain Shreve will need huge games from QB Kenyon Terrell (5-11, 175), WR Marquez Stevenson (6-2, 180, easy 4.5 speed), center Chris Allen (6-3, 275), Jayden Edwards (5-10, 185, 4.5 speed), and OT Devin Harper (6-5, 285).

The Gators will have to contend with two of the best players in Louisiana. Warren Easton’s defense is led by LB All State Jirrea Johnson (6-0, 215, 4.5 speed) with over 300 tackles in his career, and DT Jameian Buxton (6-1, 290. with 4.9 speed as a DE/DT), a transfer from Thibodaux in 2021.

Northwood takes on St. Paul’s from Covington. This is a good matchup for Northwood. St. Paul’s is balanced but doesn’t have a strong run game or passing game; the Wolves just do both pretty well.

St. Paul’s has depth and rotates a lot of personnel. When I saw the Wolves play this year, their strength was their offensive line, led by Gage Guzan (6-0, 265), Andrew Viener (6-3, 270)  Dylan Buckel (6-1, 250), Cayden Arnold (6-4, 270), Dominic Livaccari (6-0, 250) and three tight ends, each at least 6-2, 215.

This could be another huge game for Northwood’s interception king, CB MarJayvious Moss, who has two five-interception games in his career. But I think the Northwood trenches will be where this game is won; the leaders on the line are DE Ta’Derius Collins (6-4, 250), DT Jamarion Kennedy (6-4, 295) and DT Ted Jamison (6-0, 255). I also like Northwood’s run game to have a chance to control the clock.

St. Paul’s is coming off a win over Holy Cross, 24-21.

Alexandria Senior High taking on Byrd at Lee Hedges Stadium tonight at 7 will be one of the best games in North Louisiana. Everyone who’s “in the know” realizes Alexandria is not a true No.-22 seed, talent-wise. Byrd will try to win another game with QB Lake Lambert (6-3, 194), a senior who is approaching 30 career wins as a starter.

The key to this game is whether or not Byrd can run the ball on ASH, which has a great defensive unit led by DT/DE Jeremiah Wright (6-1, 260), DB Josh Marie (6-1, 190, 4.45 speed), CB Chris Clark (4.4 speed) and DT Wyatt Dauzart (5-11, 295). Defensively, Byrd is led by four-year starter LB Brooks Brossette (6-0, 205), who’s managed more than 200 tackles since the 2021 season.

ASH is coming off a huge win over McKinley, 42-0, and Byrd had a bye. But no one gets the night off tonight, especially in the trenches, where this one will be won. Or lost.

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