NO. 4 WEST MONROE (13-0) AT NO. 24 WESTGATE (8-4) -- This is the prep football version of David vs. Goliath.
West Monroe, AKA "Goliath," rides south into the semifinals with a 28-game winning streak in tow. Last week, the Rebels outgained Jesuit 234-55 in the first half of a 28-11 victory.
Turner and fellow senior Tyler Cain (RB) can both fly and are constant threats to take it to the house.
Although Turner will play another position in college, he's an excellent passer (13 TDs, 0 INT) on the prep football level. West Monroe missed some easy scoring opportunities last week when receivers dropped perfectly-placed passes from Turner.
Cain has rushed for 1,450 yards on the year with 23 touchdowns and is averaging almost 10 yards per carry. Last week, he gained 82 yards on 14 attempts (and scored a TD). He eclipsed the 200-yard barrier twice this fall (241 yards vs. Barbe and 267 vs. Captain Shreve).
The Rebels are formidable, as usual, on defense. Three-star defensive tackle Chuck Hunter does a nice job of clogging up the middle. He has 62 tackles. ILB Jonathan Tyson (46 tackles) has great size (6-2, 230).
Westgate may be "David" in this situation, but the Tigers have certainly been here before. Head coach Brian Fine has brought the New Iberia school to the semifinals in three of the last four years.
Last week, the Tigers upset then-unbeaten No. 1 Dutchtown on the road. RB D'Nerius Antoine scored on two touchdown runs as Westgate triumphed, 29-14.
Antoine, freshman RB Jamal Sam, and FB Allan Stansbury are all viable options in the Tigers' Wing-T offense. LB Bryson Broussard picked off a late pass vs. Dutchtown to help clinch the win.
"Westgate and Karr are the two best defensive teams that we played," said Northside DT Tyler Porter, whose team dropped a 17-6 decision to Westgate back in October. "They play some really good ball, especially on defense, but we basically stopped them.
"I'm not taking anything away from them, but their longest drives against us were only 40-50 yards. We threw five interceptions and lost two fumbles that night and our defense was on the field the whole game."
Porter hit the nail on the head with those comments.
Westgate is an ultra-conservative team -- especially on the 5A level -- that doesn't take unnecessary chances. The Tigers are going to run the football and they dare you to stop it. On defense, Westgate is quick and athletic and they'll pounce on turnovers.
The same team that was handled by heated crosstown rival New Iberia, 29-10; the same team that was blown out by St. Thomas More, 42-0.
The Tigers, once again, are here in the semifinals and it's a testament to Coach Fine's ability to get his team to perform at a high level in the postseason.
Can Westgate - at home - get past the semifinal hump, once and for all?
West Monroe, 24-0.