Four-star junior John Diarse may have grabbed the inside track as the state's top-ranked player in the '13 class with a sensational effort last week against a very good Breaux Bridge team. Will Diarse be able to run the football against Edna Karr's front four? What should you watch for this weekend in the five state championship games? We reveal the storylines inside.
1A - Ouachita Christian (14-0) vs. West St. John (12-2)
2A - Winnfield (14-0) vs. John Curtis Christian (13-0)
3A - Amite (12-1) vs. St. Charles Catholic (14-0)
4A - Neville (13-0) vs. Edna Karr (11-3)
5A - Carencro (13-1) vs. West Monroe (12-2)
Can Ouachita Christian block four-star defensive end Ronnie Feist (West St. John)? That's a tall task to ask of any high school offensive lineman, let alone in the state's smallest classification. An LSU commit as a linebacker, Feist has spent his prep career playing with his "hand on the ground."
Exactly how good is Ouachita Christian WR/DB Mark Laird? Many people in northeast Louisiana feel that Laird has SEC talent. With offers from a couple of FCS programs, is Laird getting slept on by the big boys of college football?
Is this the best John Curtis defense since 2006? The Patriots finished that year ranked near the top of the national polls after a terrific season that included a road win over a Hoover (AL) team that was ranked No. 1 by some outlets. The scary thing for future opponents? In all likelihood, Curtis will be saltier next year.
Is Alonzo Moore of Winnfield better than many people realize? That's what fans of the Tigers believe, and Moore can certainly bolster his case if he makes big plays against a John Curtis defense that registered double-digit sacks last Friday vs. Evangel Christian.
Will St. Charles Catholic RB Lazedrick Thompson take snaps vs. Amite? A Tulane commit, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior is a tough individual. Last Friday, Thompson entered the game with a torn ACL and carried the football on the Comets' game-winning drive.
How fast is Amite junior RB James Oden? At LSU's camp last summer, Oden was clocked well below 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. The Warriors will need his speed to move the ball against a St. Charles Catholic defense that has been - for the most part - impenetrable (yielded only 82 points in 14 games).
Can Neville QB John Diarse and FB/LB Ricky Wyatt run the football against an Edna Karr front four comprised of Darrian Dyson (6-4, 300), Leonard Washington (6-0, 290), Gerald Willis (6-3, 265) and Titus Charles (6-0, 305)? Last Friday, both had eye-opening success vs. Breaux Bridge's defense, which was anchored by FBS commits Lamar Louis and Tyren Alexander at linebacker.
Will Karr sophomore QB Devante Noil consistently move the chains vs. a Neville defense that allowed only seven points last week to a Breaux Bridge offense that featured dual LSU commits (WRs Travin Dural and Kavahra Holmes)?
How good is Neville sophomore defensive back Laurence Jones? Last week, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder -- who is built more like a linebacker than a corner - did stellar work vs. Dural and Holmes. On Friday night, we could see him cover Karr dynamo Jarrell Bennett (Arizona commit) or possibly even 6-foot-5 junior TE Standish Dobard.
Will Neville special teams ace Jamond Collins bust loose on a long return? Collins has been electric fielding punts and kicks for the Tigers, in addition to manning multiple positions on either side of the football.
Can Carencro run the football on a West Monroe front that features defensive ends James McFarland and Terrell Lathan? Carencro often calls the number of Alex Johnson, the state's leading rusher (Johnson wears No. 5, for the record). Johnson will surpass the 3,000-yard mark with 197 yards on Saturday night. Skeptical? He gained over 200 in each of the past two weeks, including a 227-yard effort vs. a Jesuit defense headed up by LSU commit Deion Jones, our 5A Defensive Player of the Year.
How many times will Jacob Tyson tote the rock for West Monroe? Many Rebel fans feel that the bruising 225-pounder holds the key to their success vs. Carencro.
Which is the better passing team: Carencro or West Monroe? Let's face it; these two offenses are predicated first and foremost on establishing the run. However, the outcome of this 5A battle could hinge on which team can chunk it vs. seven or eight in the box. Carencro QB Jalen Nixon is being recruited as an outside linebacker, but he can zip the pigskin through the air. During the regular season, Nixon (pictured below) completed 10 passes to WR Shawn Thomas in a 49-7 win over Lafayette High.