Five for Friday – Week 1
High school football kicks off this week in Louisiana with a handful of can’t-miss matchups, and each week the TigerSportsDigest.com staff will run “Five for Friday” – taking a look at the five things you don’t want to miss.
Lutcher vs. Dutchtown
Dutchtown is coming off a 10-0 regular season in 2010, which gave the Griffins the No. 1 seed in the 5A state playoffs – a ride that fell short when they lost to Westgate in the quarterfinals.
Now, coach Benny Saia welcomes a talented Lutcher team in week one of the 2011 season.
Matchups to watch
Shelby Christy vs. Jordan Batiste: Batiste committed to Ole Miss over the summer, and Houston Nutt is hoping that the 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback’s best football is ahead of him. This week Batiste gets Shelby Christy, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior wide receiver who is beginning to attract the attention of college coaches. It will be a great time for one of the two to take a big step in the right direction.
Landon Collins vs. Daniel Taylor: Sure, Collins will be a big factor on defense as Dutchtown looks to contain the speedy Lutcher running back (Taylor already holds the school’s record for career rushing yards.) But more important might be Collins’ performance on the offensive side. Dutchtown loses Effrem Reed at running back, but a strong showing on Fridays from Collins would help the Griffins not miss a beat.
Westgate vs. Breaux Bridge
This is an exciting one for a number of reasons.
Westgate ruined Dutchtown’s perfect season last fall with a 29-14 win in the quarterfinals round of the 5A state playoffs.
But in the semifinals, reigning champion West Monroe held Westgate to just three points – the lowest point total from the opposition in any of West Monroe’s playoff games.
Looking to get the bad taste out of its mouth, Westgate goes to Breaux Bridge – where a number of FBS prospects await.
Dural and Holmes should give the Westgate cornerbacks fits, while Louis will showcase his talents on both sides of the ball (linebacker and running back). And after Louis left Breaux Bridge, sat out for a season and then returned to Breaux Bridge, the two-way prospect will be eager to strap on the helmet and go.
Crowley vs. Patterson
Crowley’s Davante’ Bourque, another running mate in the group of Lafayette-area LSU commitments, gets his senior campaign underway against arguably the state’s top defense in Patterson.
Last fall, Bourque ran wild to the tune of 2,300 yards on 221 carries. With Bourque sporting an average of 10.5 yards per rush in Class 3A, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson pounced on the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder with an offer – and over the summer Bourque switched his commitment from Texas A&M to LSU.
But for Patterson, there are plenty of bodies on the defense to help contain the Tiger commitment.
Watch for big games from linebacker Lorenzo Phillips and cornerback Trevon Stewart. Both Lumberjacks had big summers – and committed to FBS programs. With their recruitment behind them, Phillips and Stewart will play their senior season with one focus – getting to the Dome.
Neville vs. Ruston
Ruston travels to Neville in one of the premier matchups in north Louisiana – where one of the premier prospects in the state will be on display.
John Diarse might only be a junior, but the Neville quarterback is projected as one of the state’s top athletes on either side of the football. At 6-foot, 185-pounds, Diarse will be recruited to SEC schools as a wide receiver, and he’s already camped with the LSU staff in Baton Rouge.
If Diarse wants to have success on Friday, he will have to get past a Neville defense that will key in on the run – primarily stopping Diarse from winning with his legs.
If it goes to the air game, Neville has a pair of future collegiate defensive backs to watch for: Cyril Noland and Kentrell Brice. Noland is already committed to Louisiana Tech, and Brice has named Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette as his two leaders.
Neville lost to Ruston last season. Diarse won’t let that happen this time around.
East Jefferson vs. Bonnabel
This game doesn’t have the same appeal as the aforementioned, but it does give LSU fans a chance to watch cornerback commitment Derrick Raymond in action.
Raymond has been the victim of multiple transfers that forced him to the sidelines in every year since his freshman campaign. After playing here-and-there at Lee High in ninth grade, Raymond jumped to Port Allen before landing at East Jefferson, where he sat out all last season.
Now, Raymond is back to the field.
LSU defensive backs coach Ron Cooper found Raymond during the spring evaluation period, and soon after the initial visit, an offer went out and the East Jefferson cornerback committed.
At LSU’s camps over the summer, the lanky, 6-foot, 166-pound Raymond showed off his quick feet and ability to change direction at the snap of a finger.
As for the highlight of the offseason: Raymond’s state title winning runs in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints on the LSU campus last April.