Top Nine going into Week 9
Written by Kyle Valdez
The 2019 LHSAA season is already coming to an end. It felt like yesterday that John Curtis outlasted Edna Karr in a Week 1 showdown. Eight weeks later, and here we are: district schedules ending, teams battling for playoff seedings, and others gearing up for a long playoff run. While some teams have two weeks left in their season, the true contenders are prepping to be on the field for seven more games.
Breaking down a composite top 9 list seemed nearly impossible at first due to the abundance of teams that have a rightful case. Although it’s not based off a mathematical power point formula, I decided to base the list off a list of factors: record, strength of schedule, win probability for the playoffs, margin of victory, team potential upside, and roster talent were all put into consideration. After much time and thought, I decided to put these teams in my Week 9 LHSAA composite Power Ranking:
9. Edna Karr
Many people would consider this season as a disappointment for Edna Karr. Despite suffering two early season losses, it’s hard to blame the Cougars for losses against Curtis and Catholic-BR. The 35-point loss to Catholic was hard to watch, but the reason they are so high on the list (and I contemplated leaving them off) was due to their recent trend of letting lesser teams stay close. Beating Landry-Walker by 4 points? And Wossman by 13? Maybe Karr has a switch to flip, but the real problem is the health of the squad. The full squad hasn’t been fully healthy since Week 1. Being in 4A, Karr still has roughly 4-5 weeks to rest up until their season is truly put on the line. Despite the questionability of the team, they still have a strong chance to make it to Poydras St. in mid-December.
Sitting at 8-0 and ranked #1 in Class 4A, the Titans always seemed to be overlooked by the more notable programs throughout the state. The first four weeks of the season didn’t prove the most, but their two October wins over De La Salle and Westgate proved that they are a serious threat (and possibly the favorite) to win 4A. Their defense is elite, but their offense flows strictly through QB Christian Westcott. With two favored matchups left on the season, Lakeshore will likely finish this season at 10-0 and secure the 1 seed. Barring any serious injuries, the Titans should be on their way to the dome for the second time in three seasons.
7. St. James
St. James has been impressive all season long. Currently with an 8-0 record, the Wildcats seem to be en route to a perfect regular season with their two remaining games against Patterson and E.D. White. Regardless of how mediocre their district schedule is, they proved themselves during the first five weeks of the season with big wins over East St. John, Destrehan, and Assumption. Regardless of class, the Wildcats have enough power-five talent on the field to compete with nearly any school in the state. Considering that St. James is in 3A, I don’t see them running into any problems until the semis. However, being in 3A makes me hesitant to place them higher on the list due to the lack of challenges in their district/class.
6. St. Thomas More
Sitting at 6-2 on the season, STM has proven themselves as the easy favorite to win the Division 2 state championship. After their week 9 matchup against Carencro, STM has no more serious threats for the rest of the season. Win or lose, STM already has the 1 seed going into the playoffs and should glide through the Division 2 bracket this year. With past threats such as University and De La Salle having down years (compared to their expectations), STM is in a different league. Their two losses could have been avoided and they could be going for a perfect season, but the 52-50 thriller against Catholic didn’t go their way, and they dropped a game to Westgate 24-21. If not for the Westgate loss, STM could very well be in the top 3 of this list.
5. West Monroe
Being from northern Louisiana, West Monroe lacks some of the attention that the NOLA/BR area schools receive. Moreover, it makes it harder to gauge a northern team’s season. West Monroe seems to put out a top 5A team in the state every year, and this year is no different. Currently at #2 in the Class 5A rankings and holding a 7-1 record, the Rebels seemed prepared for another deep playoff run. Their lone loss was a 10-point defeat to Longview, TX. Excluding the Longview loss, West Monroe has allowed an average of just 4.4 points per contest. Their top win of the season was over 4A powerhouse Neville by a score of 41-14.
Acadiana is ranked #1 in Class 5A and are rolling through their schedule with an 8-0 record. Their high-powered offense is averaging nearly 48 points per game behind the dual-threat RB combination of Army commits Dillan Monette and Jeremiah Brooks. With quality blowouts victories over LCA and Carencro, Acadiana is bound to make noise in the playoffs.
3. Archbishop Rummel
Many would put Rummel at the #1 spot on this list, but I feel like the two teams ahead of them are even more deserving. Either way, Rummel will have a golden opportunity on Friday against John Curtis to prove who the best team in the state is. Rummel’s defense has allowed just 3.1 points per game. Their schedule is one of the hardest in the state, and they have strung out 8 straight. In Catholic League action, they beat Brother Martin 30-0, St. Aug 16-12, and Holy Cross 17-7. Earlier in the season, they also defeated two quality out-of-state programs. If Rummel can knock off both Jesuit and Curtis in the following weeks, they are fully deserving of the composite #1 spot. However, they can’t lax in Division 1 because they will most certainly face either Catholic-BR or Curtis in the state semifinals.
All season long, Catholic has done the job each week. Their first season-defining win was the 47-12 beatdown on Edna Karr. Then followed by a 52-50 victory over STM. Being in District 5-5A, the Bears have had competition throughout their district slate, but have proven even more why they are the real deal. With beatdown wins over St. Amant and East Ascension, they look ready to finish the season at 10-0. Currently the #1 seed in Division 1, it will be a huge deal if they can secure the #1 seed to avoid both Rummel and Curtis until the eventual state championship game.
1. John Curtis
John Curtis is currently 8-0, but still has two big games left on the schedule against Rummel then Brother Martin. The #3 seed in Division 1, it looks unlikely that Curtis will steal the #1 seed, resulting in playing either Catholic or Rummel in the state semis. Either way, I feel like Curtis will beat both teams in the playoffs and will repeat as State Champions. Behind electric RB Corey Wren and QB Collin Guggenheim, the Patriots can score on anyone, and their defense is proven elite. Without facing a serious threat all season, the Patriots appear to be the clear favorite as the #1 team in Louisiana.
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