Louisiana 5A Quarterfinal Predictions, Part I

Not many teams turn it up in the playoffs like No. 24 Westgate. The Tigers, semifinalists last year, are seeking to advance to the Class 5A quarterfinals despite a pedestrian 5-4 mark during the regular season. To advance this week, Westgate will have to go on the road and upset undefeated No. 1 Dutchtown. Will senior linebacker Cole Harp (pictured) and the Griffins get past the upstart Tigers?

(Last week's 5A picks: 5-3; Overall, 97-22)

NO. 24 WESTGATE (7-4) AT NO. 1 DUTCHTOWN (12-0) -- No. 8 Higgins came to New Iberia last Friday with a gaudy 10-1 record and a team that seemed to be peaking. In the first-round of the playoffs, the Hurricanes stomped Denham Springs, 44-14, and it appeared that Higgins -- on paper -- was a solid favorite over Westgate.

Jamal Sam
It's a known fact that Westgate is always a formidable postseason opponent, despite whatever regular-season record the Tigers have accrued.

Last year, Westgate entered the playoffs with a 5-4 mark, but the Tigers managed to advance all the way to the semifinals before losing to Archbishop Rummel.

Three years ago, the Tigers were 5-5 in the regular-season and again made a semifinal appearance, losing to eventual state champion Destrehan.

Thus, it's no surprise that - once again - Westgate is knocking off higher seeds in the playoffs this year.

Against Higgins, the Tigers of head coach Brian Fine took a 21-0 lead in the first half and that margin stayed the same through four quarters. D'Nerius Antoine had 94 yards and a TD on only 5 carries for Westgate, which only attempted one pass vs. Higgins.

Johnathan Darville
Antoine and freshman Jamal Sam are both solid running backs. Sam ran for a long touchdown vs. Comeaux and also brought back a kickoff for another score in that game, a 26-0 Westgate win.

Westgate's strongest suit is its defense, which forced six turnovers last week. Senior LB Eugene Livingston and DL Duval Jackson wreaked havoc on Higgins' option offense.

Dutchtown, which was ousted from the playoffs in the first-round last year, has been on a mission since that disappointing loss, and the well-oiled offense of the Griffins is not apt to turn the ball over six times (or even half that) in one game.

Last night, senior RB Effrem Reed continued to do his thing, gaining close to 150 yards rushing on 23 carries with 3 TDs in the 12-0 Griffins' 38-26 win over Brother Martin.

Effrem Reed
Senior linebacker Cole Harp spoke with Scout.com this evening: "We're watching the film of our game in 15 minutes, and we're doing whatever it takes to stay positive. Every year, there are 32 teams that make the playoffs and 31 of those end the year with tears in their eyes. We're staying hungry and making sure we're never satisfied. We don't want to be one of those 31 teams that ends the year like that," said Harp.

Harp and the Dutchtown defense should be up to the task of stopping a run-oriented offense after having to deal with Brother Martin stud Dante' Butler last night in New Orleans.

Westgate lacks a legitimate passing attack and that will allow Dutchtown defenders such as DBs Johnathan Darville and Shaquille Lewis to creep up and assist against the Tigers' Wing-T.

Dutchtown, 27-12

NO. 5 JESUIT (10-2) AT NO. 4 WEST MONROE (12-0) -- West Monroe is focused and feeling hostile after a controversial second-round 34-29 win over Barbe.

Terrell Lathan
"Rebels win despite flags," read the Saturday morning headline in the local paper, the Monroe News-Star.

Long known as one of the most disciplined and well-coached programs around, West Monroe (12-0) was assessed 29 penalties for 241 yards Friday night, and it's a safe bet that that number will substantially decrease this week.

Nothing, however, could take away from the performance of senior RB Tyler Cain last week. Cain, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound speed demon, throttled Barbe's defense with 247 yards and a TD on 28 attempts.

Austin Duncan and Cameron Dobbins each scored touchdowns and Ralph Freibert hit a 42-yard field goal in Jesuit's 17-13 win over Terrebonne last Friday night.

Michael Hunter
The Blue Jays' leading rusher, Dylan Richard, conintued to rack up the yardage, gaining 112 yards on 24 carries, and QB Conner McMahon completed 5 passes for 93 yards. Richard, in two playoff games, has over 300 yards on the ground.

This week, Richard will mix it up with a West Monroe defensive front that includes four-star junior Terrell Lathan and three-star senior Chuck Hunter. Cornerback Michael Hunter heads up the secondary for the Rebels.

West Monroe QB Paul Turner, an LSU commit, enjoyed himself immensely the last time that the Rebels faced a Catholic League squad (in the 2009 state finals vs. Archbishop Rummel).

West Monroe, 33-10

Here Come The Dawgs Top Stories