NO. 1 NOTRE DAME (11-0) AT NO. 17 INDEPENDENCE (7-4) -- The defending state champion Pioneers weren't expected to be so dominant this year after losing several seniors to graduation - including linebacker D.J. Welter (to LSU) - but their performance is simply another testament to the fine coaching of legendary Lewis Cook and his staff.
Offensive lineman Pete Petitjean was one of the top performers at the Nike Training Camp held in Baton Rouge last summer. RBs Venable and Cook have combined for almost 1,400 yards rushing with 25 TDs.
Independence should be well-rested after getting an off week. Rayville, the originally-scheduled first-round opponent for Independence, was forced to forfeit that game due to an ineligible player.
The Tigers like to get the ball into the hands of running Marshall Bellazen (223-1,462, 14 TDs). QB Oscar Briggs has only thrown 87 passes this year, completing 41 for 556 yards with 7 TDs and 5 INT.
You can expect plenty of rushes between the tackles with these two teams, who both love to whip their opponents up front on the line of scrimmage.
Not many programs accomplish that task better than the Pioneers.
Notre Dame, 21-8
QB Tuskani Figaro was deadly with his accuracy, connecting on 10-of-12 passes for 298 yards with 4 TDs, and RB Davante' Bourque was equally effective, rushing for 250 yards on 12 attempts with 3 TDs.
Bourque has over 2,000 yards on the ground and 33 touchdowns. He's averaging more than 10 yards per carry.
Carroll coasted by Port Allen, 34-7, with RB Tyree Hollins scoring on both a run and a reception. QB Jamond Collins threw for 128 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs, who are holding opponents to under 17 points per game.
Back in September, Carroll saw another top junior running back - Peabody Magnet's Jalen Richard - and the Bulldogs were able to outscore the Warhorses that night, 38-36.
Expect another shootout here.
NO. 12 LORANGER (8-3) AT NO. 5 PARKVIEW BAPTIST (8-2) -- Parkview Baptist is probably playing better than any other team in 3A at the moment, having handed cross-town rival Redemptorist its first loss a couple of weeks ago.
Last week, the Eagles continued their hot hand, rolling up all 50 points in the first half vs. Bogalusa (PBS won, 50-14). Brooks Godberry got things started by bringing back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Garrett Banta contributed a pair of scoring runs, and Godberry also had a 37-yard interception return for another TD.
Loranger overcame a 21-11 deficit at the half to eliminate St. James, 24-23. The Wolves came through on defense, picking off four passes. RB/DB Jeryl Brazil ran for 96 yards and accounted for two of the Wolves' interceptions.
While Loranger was able to make adjustments in the second half against St. James' Wing-T, it should be a different story tonight versus Parkview's Double-Wing.
That's because the Eagles have a tremendous offensive line that would make almost every Class 5A school proud.
Parkview Baptist, 28-6
NO. 13 E.D. WHITE (8-3) AT NO. 4 MARKSVILLE (10-1) -- Are you a fan of programs that run the option? If so, then this is the game for you.
E.D. White wears down defenses by pounding the inside dive with fullback Dylan Ledet (1,341 yards, 18 TDs).
Conversely, Marksville utilizes an option attack as well, with QB Jake Dunbar and RB Peyton Dunbar playing pivotal roles in the Tigers' offense.
Last week, Marksville also demonstrated its ability to throw the football, as two quarterbacks went a collective 6-of-6 for 164 yards.
E.D. White's only three losses came to to 5A Assumption (playoff team; lost last week); 4A Vandebilt Catholic (still alive in 4A); and Patterson (still alive in 3A).
That rugged schedule should pay dividends tonight.
E.D. White, 28-25