Tonight is a big night not only here in the northeast corner of the state, but throughout the state, as several teams meet with power points hanging in the balance that could create really interesting situations for the final week of the regular season.
BLOG: Updated Power Points Rankings, through Week 8
BLOG: NELA Individual Stats Leaders, through Week 8
RUSTON (2-1, 5-3) at OUACHITA (2-1, 4-3)
Last Week: Ruston beat Alexandria 57-56; Ouachita lost to West Monroe 27-14.
What to Watch For: The status of both of these offenses is interesting: Ouachita was normally a lock to score at least 35 points, if not get into the 40s, before being held to 14 by West Monroe last week, while Ruston is the kind of team that seems to be more comfortable methodically moving the ball and winning a game with 27 points. The first two or three possessions for each offense could be telling of the game to come.
Lions, Bearcats square off
PINEVILLE (0-3, 3-5) at WEST MONROE (3-0, 8-0)
Last Week: Pineville lost to Natchitoches Central 27-16; West Monroe beat Ouachita 27-14.
What to Watch For: Given this Pineville offense gave up 49 points to both Alexandria and Ruston, this game falls squarely on the West Monroe defense. It’s fair to assume WM will score enough points to win, the defense simply has to do its part.
GRANT (0-3, 3-5) at BASTROP (2-1, 6-2)
Last Week: Bastrop beat Franklin Parish 40-0; Grant lost to West Ouachita 52-30.
What to Watch For: Despite running a ball control double wing offense, Grant has scored on some teams in district, scoring 22 on Franklin Parish in a loss and the 30 points in the loss to West Ouachita last week. How the Bastrop defense reacts to that is big, as the Rams offense is almost certain to give this defense more than enough opportunities to take control of this game.
FRANKLIN PARISH (1-2, 2-6) at TIOGA (1-2, 2-6)
Last Week: Franklin Parish lost to Bastrop 40-0; Tioga lost to Neville 45-0.
What to Watch For: The Franklin Parish secondary is going to be tested this week with Tioga’s pass-first attack. Last week, a strong Neville pass rush kept the Tioga offense on its heels for most of the game, and I’m sure the Patriot coaching staff would like to emulate that to keep its secondary out of constant pressure situations.
NEVILLE (3-0, 7-0) at WEST OUACHITA (2-1, 6-2)
Last Week: Neville beat Tioga 45-0; West Ouachita beat Grant 52-30.
What to Watch For: Neville coach Mickey McCarty has been preaching it all week: West Ouachita’s offense can be boring at times, but boring is what wins games for them. Neville’s defense needs to be aware that three-yard gains may have been OK in previous games, but in this one, such gains could lead to that unit giving up its first touchdown in over nine quarters.
Neville’s perfect season at stake at Chiefs
Donald Jenkins lowering shoulder on opposing defenses
RICHWOOD (1-2, 1-7) at CALDWELL (0-3, 0-8)
Last Week: Richwood beat Madison in overtime 28-26; Caldwell lost to Wossman 62-0.
What to Watch For: Simply put, Richwood has to execute early in the game offensively to establish a rhythm. After seeing Wossman put up 62, Carroll put up 33, West Ouachita put up 33 and Sterlington put up 49 on this defense, some first downs early in the game could create the best offensive night of the season for the Rams, who have yet to score more than 21 points in regulation.
WOSSMAN (2-1, 4-4) at CARROLL (3-0, 6-2)
Last Week: Wossman beat Caldwell 62-0; Carroll beat Union 32-19.
What to Watch For: I’m being honest, guys, there’s a whole lot going on in this one: Wossman’s defensive line and how it impacts Carroll’s ability to test the deep ball, how both teams react to the emotion of this particular rivalry game, how the Wossman offense attacks a Carroll defense that’s been awesome in all facets this season. There’s a lot going on in this one.
MADISON (1-2, 6-2) at UNION (2-1, 3-5)
Last Week: Madison lost to Richwood in overtime 28-26; Union lost to Carroll 32-19.
What to Watch For: Most of Madison’s games have been somewhat low-scoring: Madison has yet to play in a district game this season in which a team scores 30 points, and one of those games even went to overtime. Close games have been a fickle mistress for Union this season: 21-18 win over Wossman and 27-26 win over Haynesville balanced with 42-36 loss to Many and a 21-7 loss to Calvary.
Rayville starts strong in win over Sterlington
MANGHAM (2-1, 6-2) at FERRIDAY (1-2, 4-4)
Last Week: Mangham lost to Ouachita Christian 52-18; Ferriday lost to Sterlington 55-52.
What to Watch For: Look at the teams that have recently scored 50 or more points on Ferriday: Sterlington and Rayville. They have a lot in common, for sure, but the one that sticks out to me is execution on the offensive line. Mangham, your objective has been set.
OUACHITA CHRISTIAN (3-0, 7-1) at GENERAL TRASS (0-3, 0-8)
Last Week: Ouachita Christian beat Mangham 52-18; General Trass lost to Rayville 52-20.
What to Watch For: The teams that have more of an ability to pass – Wossman, Carroll and Rayville – have score more points on General Trass than the run-based teams. Now, some of that can be explained by the obvious big play potential in how pass plays are designed compared to how runs are designed, but some of that could be a matchup thing. Let’s see how much the Eagles let Grant Fitzhugh throw the ball around the year – they sure haven’t had a problem doing it at other times this season.
CEDAR CREEK (4-1, 5-3) at ARCADIA (2-3, 5-3)
Last Week: Cedar Creek beat Plain Dealing 49-8; Arcadia lost to D’Arbonne Woods 46-38.
What to Watch For: The Arcadia defense comes into this game reeling and with bad timing, as this Cedar Creek offense is clicking both through the air and on the ground.
Cedar Creek rolling in district
PLAIN DEALING (2-3, 3-5) at D’ARBONNE WOODS (4-1, 4-3)
Last Week: Plain Dealing lost to Cedar Creek 49-8; D’Arbonne Woods beat Arcadia 46-38.
What to Watch For: The Timberwolves are playing some of their best offensive football of the year right now, averaging 40 points per game in its last two games. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealing defense has been up in down in its last four games, allowing 53, 22, 6 and 49 points in its last four games. The good version of the Plain Dealing defense can keep this game close in the second half; the bad Plain Dealing defense is meeting this D’Arbonne Woods team at a very inopportune time.
DELTA CHARTER (1-4, 2-6) at DELHI (3-2, 5-3)
Last Week: Delta Charter beat Sicily Island 28-6; Delhi lost to St. Frederick 32-20.
BEEKMAN CHARTER (0-5, 0-8) at SICILY ISLAND (0-5, 0-8)
Last Week: Beekman Charter lost to Tensas 44-22; Sicily Island lost to Delta Charter 28-6.
What to Watch For: These teams share more than their winless records: in their closest losses, they weren’t defensive struggles. Since both teams can score points in the right situation, this one has the making of a shootout of sorts, and turnovers almost always decide those. Take care of the ball, win the game.
DELHI CHARTER (4-1, 5-3) at ST. FREDERICK (4-1, 5-3)
Last Week: Delhi Charter lost to Oak Grove 48-22; St. Frederick beat Delhi 32-20.
What to Watch For: It’s hard to hate the running attacks in this game, as both St. Frederick and Delhi Charter can run the ball well. Both teams seem to have similarly skilled front sevens, too. This one might come down to the quarterback that can accurately place throws over the top of the defense and capitalize on however many attempts they can get.
OAK GROVE (5-0, 5-3) at TENSAS (3-2, 4-4)
Last Week: Oak Grove beat Delhi Charter 48-22; Tensas beat Beekman Charter 44-22.
What to Watch For: Given Tensas is fresh off of allowing 22 points to winless Beekman Charter and 38 points to an albeit solid St. Frederick offense, that unit has to figure itself out in time for a big test with this Oak Grove offense that has obliterated everything in sight of late.
Check out the link posted below for more info on the three local MAIS teams – Riverfield Academy, Prairie View Academy and River Oaks – that will play in the first round of the playoffs tonight.
MAIS playoffs begin Friday