It’s high noon for Riverside Academy.
The Rebels will take on Country Day at noon Saturday in Metairie in the 2020 regular-season finale.
“The last time we had a Saturday day game like that was against Ascension Catholic in the playoffs last year and we got whooped,” said Riverside coach Kevin Dizer, whose team lost 55-20 in the opening round of the playoffs a year ago.
The day or time if this year’s game, Dizer said, is no big deal for the Rebels.
“The bottom line is as long as we get to play, it is what it is this year. Country Day, I believe, they are still in quarantine, so they need whatever days to practice and I’m OK with that,” the Riverside coach said.
Riverside, 5-1 overall and 2-0 in District 9-1A play, is coming off a hard-fought 15-14 win over West St. John.
Meanwhile, Country Day is 2-2 overall and 1-0 in league play, and has not played in two weeks after dealing with hurricane and then coronavirus issues.
The Cajuns are under first-year coach Guy LeCompte, the former Holy Cross mentor.
“Coach LeCompte is one of the better coaches in the area. He’s doing a really good job with them. It looks like they weren’t going to be a very good team early in the year, but they have kind of got that turned around,” said Dizer.
Country Day’s two losses were 41-7 to Episcopal and 27-7 to Newman.
“They got beat pretty bad by Episcopal but when you saw them against Newman, they stayed right there in that football game the entire time,” Dizer said. “They are a team we can’t sleep on even if they haven’t played it the last couple of weeks when you are that well coached.
“Those kids have been in a winning program the last few years, so they are going to expect to win.”
The Cajuns operate out of a spread offense.
“They like to throw a lot of screens. They do a lot of quarterback runs as well,” Dizer noted.
The Cajuns have switched quarterbacks since the start of the season.
“They have a freshman, Dawson Simmons, that has taken over. He’s a really good athlete. They do a lot of (quarterback) runs. He can extend plays in the passing game and get out of the pocket,” said Dizer.
The quarterback’s older brother, senior Dylan Simmons, lines up in the backfield.
“He’s a really good athlete. He’s a real slippery guy and can make you miss,” Dizer said.
Also getting some carries is 6-foot-5, 233-pound junior Scott Isacks.
“They do a really good job offensively and we have to make sure that they can’t dictate the terms on Saturday,” Dizer said.
Figuring out the Cajuns defense can be a bit difficult, according to Dizer.
They are kind of tough to read,” Dizer said. “They play this 3-3-Stack, but they move guys all over the field and do a lot of blitzing and things of that nature.
“The (Riverside) quarterbacks have to be really good with their eyes and don’t let them deceive you and don’t let all the movement mess with you.”
The Cajun are a scrapy bunch on defense, said Dizer.
“They have 11 dudes that all look the same, but they all fly to the football. They are not the biggest team, but those guys are always moving around and flying to the ball. If we allow it to, it can be a problem accounting for some of the guys. We have to make sure we follow our rules no matter what looks they are showing,” Dizer said.
Many of the starters on offense also play on defense for Country Day. Isacks plays along the defensive line, while Dylan Simmons is in the secondary.
Michael Talbot, the team’s former starter at quarterback, is one of the team’s top defenders in the secondary.
The Rebels, currently No. 3 in the unofficial power rankings in Division IV, will have an opening-round bye in the playoffs, as all select teams.
“I think if we beat Country Day, we have a good chance to jump into that No. 2 seed, which would be big for us,” said Dizer. “If you get the 2 seed, you will have the first (playoff game) at home. You may or may not have to travel in Round 2. If you make it to the semifinals, you know that will be home as well.
“With COVID, you never know. One team may cancel the game and that could throw everything off.”