Calvary’s lines, defense to be tested in quarters at Dunham

LOOKING FOR SPACE:  Calvary’s talented skill position players will be relying on the Cavaliers’ offensive line to neutralize Dunham’s impressive defensive front in the state quarterfinals tonight in Baton Rouge. (File photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Calvary head coach Rodney Guin schedules Class 5A schools such as Byrd and Captain Shreve for a reason – to give his Cavaliers an idea of the competition when it’s time for the playoffs.

The Cavaliers have reeled off eight straight victories, but Guin says Friday’s Select Division III quarterfinal playoff matchup will provide the biggest test, especially up front, his team has seen since Week 2.

“They’re a lot like us – they haven’t played a lot of tough games since early in the year. Their defensive line is as good as we’ve played all year –- very comparable to Shreve in terms of the defensive line. The best we’ve played up front other than Shreve. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Calvary has scored at least 50 points in seven of its past eight games (beat Loyola 45-0 in regular-season finale).

On paper, Dunham and Calvary appear to be mirror images. Dunham has won 10 straight games since its season-opening loss to Parkview Baptist and has scored at least 40 points in every game since Week 6. That run began with a 72-14 victory against Northeast.

Dunham’s offense runs through quarterback Jackson House, who has compiled more than 1,000 passing yards and close to 800 rushing yards. The son of LSU defensive coordinator Matt House, he led his team in Kansas to a state title last year.

“We have to control (House),” Guin said. “He’s their key guy. He can throw and he can run. They spread out and try to create space for him to run.”

The Tigers had a bye in the opening round of the playoffs and then defeated M.L. King Charter, 56-21, last week.

If you’re going to clip the Cavaliers, the quarterfinal round is the place. Calvary had five consecutive losses in the quarterfinals from 2015-19. The Cavaliers won the Division IV state crown in 2020 and were bumped by Ouachita Christian in last year’s semifinals.

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Division III – Select Quarterfinals

5-Calvary (9-2) at 4-Dunham (10-1) 

Where: Dunham School Stadium, Baton Rouge 

Series: Calvary 3-0 

Last week: Calvary beat Northlake Christian 52-0; Dunham beat M.L. King Charter 56-21 

Rankings: Calvary No. 5, Dunham No. 2 in LSWA 2A poll 

All-time playoff record: Calvary 34-14; Dunham 19-23 

Last semifinal appearance: Calvary 2021; Dunham 2019 

Radio: Calvary – The Promise 90.7 FM, 

Notables: Calvary quarterback Abram Wardell has completed 80 percent of his passes this season (128 of 160 attempts) for 31 touchdowns and three interceptions … running back James Simon has 20 rushing touchdowns … Dunham DL/TE Jake Rizzo is a National Merit Scholar being recruited by Ivy League schools. RB/S Colin Boldt committed to SLU … Dunham head coach Neil Weiner is son of legendary Catholic coach Dale Weiner, who retired with over 300 wins.