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All eight River Parish teams in hunt for state football championship

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  • Feature Story
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  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • November 09, 2014 - 12:21pm

File photosSeveral River Parish teams could find themselves playing familar foes in the second round of the state playoffs, including a Destrehan-East St. John rematch.

All eight River Parish teams qualified for the state football playoffs, with two teams receiving first-round byes.

St. Charles, as a No. 3 seed, received an opening-round bye in Division II. The Comets will play the winner of the De La Salle-Vandebilt Catholic game in the second round. A District 11-3A rival, St. Charles defeated De La Salle 28-21 in Week 7.

“I think it’s really good. It’s kind of a reward but when you get in the playoffs, there is no easy road. They are all playoff contenders and it’s a new season for everybody,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said. “You just can’t bracket watch. You just have to go out and play good football and do the things that got you there.”

A potential district rematch awaits the Comets if De La Salle beats Vandebilt.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing. We beat them during the season so it could be added motivation. The off week will help us heal up and get back to some basic stuff, but the off week is not good either because you lose your momentum and sometimes you lose your focus.”

West St. John, also a No. 3 seed, earned an opening-round bye in Class 1A. The Rams will face the winner of the Varnado-Ringgold game in the second round. Varnado is a No. 14 seed while Ringgold is seeded at No. 19.

“I think it gives us a chance to take a break a little bit and heal up,” West St. John coach Robert Valdez said of having a bye. “I think the body of work our team has put together deserves a bit of a reward with a third seed and a bye.

Like St. Charles, several other River Parish teams could find themselves playing a familiar foe in the second round.

In Class 5A, Destrehan received a No. 4 seed and will host No. 29 Pineville in the opening round. East St. John, the No. 20 seed, opens the playoffs at No. 13 John Ehret. Should they both win, Destrehan and East St. John would meet in the second round. Destrehan is coming off a 28-14 Week 10 win over East St. John.

“Because of the way we played, we got a pretty high seed. I don’t know a whole lot about Pineville but it looks like they are a running team. We just have to get ready to go play,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.

Should Destrehan and East St. John both win their playoff opener, they would meet for the second time in three weeks in the second round of the playoffs.

“We will worry about that when it happens. We have to take care of Pineville first,” said Robicheaux.

The third River Parish team from District 7-5A, Hahnville, earned a No 12 seed and will host Natchitoches Central, a No. 21 seed. A Hahnville win would advance the Tigers to a second-round matchup against the winner of No. 5 Haughton and No. 28 Ouachita Parish.

“They come from a very good district. I’m not that familiar with them,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “They are in the state playoffs in 5A so I have to believe they will be a tough out for anybody.

“We’re excited about our seed and we’re excited about the potential of where we can go if we can keep playing like we’ve been playing.”

Another team with a potential to face a familiar opponent is Lutcher in Class 4A. The Bulldogs barely missed out on hosting in the first-round by garnering a No. 17 seed. Lutcher will travel to take on No. 16 Deridder. A Bulldogs win would advance Lutcher to the second round against the winner of No. 1 seed Plaquemine and No.32 seed, McDonogh 35. A District 6-4A rival, Plaqumine defeat Lutcher 28-14 in Week 8. The Bulldogs defeated McDonogh 35 in overtime 40-39 in Week 2.

“We knew it would be close. We did what we could do. It’s how it shook out and we’ll take it,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said of narrowly missing out on a home playoff game. “I think we got a good draw.

“I know the winner most probably has to take on the No. 1 seed, but in our case, if we would be fortunate to win it would be in our back yard and I do like that.”

In Division III, No. 3 Riverside Academy will host Pope John Paul in the opening round. A win by Riverside would advance the Rebels to the second round against the winner of No. 6 St. Thomas Aquinas and No. 11 Archbishop Hannan.

St. James is the No. 9 seed in Class 2A and will host District 8-2A foe Carver in the second round. Carver, the No. 24 seed, lost to St. James 47-14 in Week 9. A win by St. James would advance the Wildcats to a second-round game against the winner of No. 8 Loreauville and No. 25 Jonesboro-Hodge.

“No matter who the first-round opponent is, you have to be ready to play. From a preparation standpoint, it’s a little bit easier. Normally, that first playoff game is a quick turnaround. You don’t find out officially who you play until Sunday so you basically lose a day-and-half of preparation. It’s a team we played a little more than a week ago so we are fairly familiar with them,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.