Written by Kyle Valdez
A week ago, the LHSAA playoffs began with a full slate of games for Round 1. In Class 4A, there weren’t many upsets in the bracket; #20 Warren Easton blew past #11 Peabody 44-6, but I wouldn’t consider that an upset for the ages. The top 12 seeds took care of business, but #17 Leesville, #18 DeRidder, and #19 G.W. Carver all spoiled the fun by upsetting the higher seed. With multiple exciting matchups set for Round 2, the 4A bracket looks destined for multiple upsets - the madness is coming in the second round:
1 Lakeshore vs. 17 Leesville
Lakeshore, winners of 11 straight, haven’t been seriously challenged since their Week 1 28-21 over Fontainebleau. Since then, no team has come within 20 points of the Titans. Leesville, who just beat Pearl River 47-21 on the road last week, gets to host their first playoff game since a 2nd Round matchup last year. The home field advantage will be more of an upper hand than most recognize, as Lakeshore must travel four hours west to the Texas border. No matter how far they travel, if Lakeshore plays their brand of football, the Titans should be on their way to the quarterfinals. Their defense is elite, giving up just 14 points combined in their last four contests. And with Christian Westcott under center, the offense should be moving the ball down field effectively.
Final: 42-7 Lakeshore
2 Neville vs. 18 DeRidder
Neville will travel three hours on the road to DeRidder. This will be DeRidder’s first home playoff game since 2014, so you know the stands will be packed and ready to go. However, Neville is also prepared. The Tigers have won five straight games, including their 41-14 first round win over South Lafourche. Furthermore, Neville’s non-district schedule has prepared for them for deep playoff games: opponents such as West Monroe, St. Thomas More, University, Ruston, and Ouachita Parish. DeRidder, on the flip side, just slipped past #15 Minden by a score of 14-13 last week. This pick feels like a no-brainer.
Final: 35-7 Neville
3 Edna Karr vs. 19 George Washington Carver
This may be the most-anticipated matchup of the second round. Edna Karr is one of the best programs in the state, and G.W. Carver is one of the most slept-on teams in the state. Karr is still the favorite in this game but shouldn’t underestimate their opponent. Carver has shown the potential to keep up with top-notch opponents in their close losses to Brother Martin, John Ehret, and Warren Easton. Although unable to win those games, that still gives a team much confidence. If Karr plays to their potential, they should breeze their way into the quarterfinals, but you never know what can happen in the playoffs.
Final: 35-23 Karr
4 Tioga vs. 20 Warren Easton
This may be the most even matched #4 vs. #20 matchups that I’ve ever seen. Tioga comes into the contest at 10-1, and Easton enters at 6-4. However, I feel like Easton is the far better team. Tioga hasn’t played any serious contenders all year, while Easton has faced Karr, De La Salle, East Ascension, Landry-Walker, Holy Cross, and G.W. Carver in the regular season. Considering that Easton is the home team and Tioga will travel 3.5 hours to Pan American Stadium in New Orleans, there’s no reason why Easton doesn’t dominate the #4 seed.
Final: 40-21 Easton
5 Carencro vs. 12 Northwood-Shreveport
Carencro breezed past #28 Salmen 41-7, while Northwood squeaked past #21 Rayne 7-6. After surviving a first round test, Northwood needs to turn things around if they want to stay competitive with Carencro. Northwood reached the quarterfinals as the 7-seed a year ago, but don’t seem to be prepared this year. Carencro is battle-tested and has multiple wins against quality 4A opponents such as Westgate, Teurlings, and Sam Houston. Factoring in a long drive for the visiting Northwood, Carencro should get it done at home.
Final: 35-17 Carencro
6 Breaux Bridge vs. 11 Belle Chasse
Both teams come into this game after a convincing first round win. Breaux Bridge defeating #27 South Terrebonne 35-12, and Belle Chasse defeating #22 Huntington 28-14. Looking at both team’s resumes, it’s difficult to judge who the better team is due to the two teams sharing no mutual opponents. Breaux Bridge seems to be the more accomplished team, finishing with an 8-2 record and only losing those games by 7 and 6 to Thibodaux and Teurlings Catholic. Belle Chasse seems to play down their competition often, with very few big wins. Along with a 2.5-hour drive for Belle Chasse to Lafayette area, the Cardinals are looking at an unfavorable matchup.
Final: 28-16 Breaux Bridge
7 Assumption vs. 10 Westgate
A very intriguing second round matchup, this game feels like a coin flip when attempting to predict the outcome. Assumption has a 10-1 record with their lone loss coming from St. James. Westgate has an 8-3 record with their losses coming understandably to LCA, Carencro, and Lakeshore. Outside of Westgate’s 24-21 over STM, the Tigers haven’t won a close ball game. The team struggles to keep their composure and fails to remain disciplined when things aren’t going their way. Although Westgate looks better on paper, I get the feeling that Assumption will be advancing to the quarterfinals.
Final: 34-31 Assumption
8 Eunice vs. 9 Bastrop
A year ago, Eunice was tearing up 3A en route to a 59-47 state championship in the Superdome. However, things are different in 4A. When Eunice hits the road for a 3.5-hour trip to Bastrop, they should expect nothing easy. Bastrop is an underrated #9 seed who has shown the ability to compete with any team in 4A, and just destroyed North Vermillion 56-14 a week ago; beating Evangel Christian 32-25, losing to Neville 19-14, and losing to Ouachita Parish 35-26 also shows high upset potential. Eunice has a quality win over Tioga, but have multiple questionable performances (20-16 L vs. Rayne, 35-27 W vs. Plaquemine) that increases the upset alert on this matchup.
Final: 32-30 Bastrop
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