NO. 2 ST. THOMAS MORE (12-0) AT NO. 10 ST. AUGUSTINE (9-2) -- St. Thomas More is the best-coached team in the state this year. Period.
How do we know, you ask?
Answer: Because the Cougars, despite a lack of star power, are unbeaten and have easily handled every opponent outside of a 20-19 win at defending 2A state champion Evangel Christian.
Don't get me wrong; STM has several quality athletes, and they do have two future college football players in safety Sam Scofield and tight end Evan Tatford, but the Cougars' roster isn't dotted with nearly as many stars as most of their opponents.
"STM doesn't wow you," said veteran journalist and prep football expert Brady Aymond of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette. "Their best player on offense is (QB) Matt Flores, and he's 5-foot-9, 165 pounds.
"Coaches that face St. Thomas More say that they 'formation you to death,' and the Cougars get it done with great coaching. Jim Hightower has been there for 20 years and he does a great job."
Flores is one of two quarterbacks that share duties for St. Thomas More, with Flores (approximately 1,050 yards rushing, 19 TDs) serving as the primary running threat and fellow signal-caller Brandon Bergeron (1,615 yards passing, 13 TDs) doing the vast majority of the passing.
Running back Joe Oliver LaPrairie, who missed the first-round game vs. Airline due to a shoulder injury, rambled for 215 yards on only 8 carries early in the season vs. Catholic-BR. Last week, LaPrairie ran for two TDs, including a 28-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Scofield, a Tulane commit, returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown vs. Hahnville. Tatford, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior, has several scholarship offers.
QB Terry Lucas found WR Lorenzo Doss from 30-yards out in the right corner of the end zone to give St. Augustine a 27-21 victory over the Lions. Lucas only completed 11 of his 25 throws, but he made them count, with three going for touchdowns.
"This is as scary a matchup for STM as they can or will get," said Aymond. "St. Aug has more college prospects than anyone in the state, and they have the best freshman tailback (Fournette) in the country.
"STM beat Evangel in Shreveport and if you can beat ECA, then that says something about your team."
St. Augustine lost a 59-56 shootout to West Jefferson in its season-opener and also dropped a 14-13 decision to Jesuit in October
Key matchup: STM running game vs. St. Aug's front seven, which includes Tulane commit Lawrence Burl at DE.
Will the Purple Knights be on top of their game this week?
St. Augustine, 22-18