Louisiana 5A Quarterfinal Predictions

No. 2 Jesuit and LB Deion Jones (Nebraska commit), our 5A Defensive Player of the Year, host No. 7 Carencro this week in the Class 5A quarterfinals. Will Jesuit, which exited in the quarters last year, continue unscathed with its perfect record intact, or will the Bears march forward to the semifinals?

(Last week's 5A picks: 6-2)


  • No. 7 Carencro (11-1) at No. 2 Jesuit (12-0)

    In the second round, Jesuit overcame a 14-0 second quarter deficit on the road at No. 18 East St. John to win, 49-21. This is the Blue Jays' first squad to go 12-0 since 1946, according to Mike Strom of the Times-Picayune. RB Paul Stanton appears to be back to full strength. Stanton, who was dinged up late in the regular season, gained 209 yards rushing on Friday with four touchdowns. The Blue Jays are paced on defense by our 5A Defensive Player of the Year, three-star LB Deion Jones. There are rumors that LSU might be taking a second look at Jones, who is committed to Nebraska. Chad Bender and Colby Simoneaux both picked off East St. John QB Darion Monroe, a four-star prospect who is committed to Texas A&M as a cornerback. Monroe managed 308 yards passing but Jesuit had no problem moving the ball, either, rolling up over 400 yards of total offense. Austin Duncan ran for 64 yards and junior QB Tanner Lee tossed a pair of TD passes to Justin Poole, both of which came in second quarter.

    Carencro, which spent much of the regular season ranked No. 1 in 5A by Scout.com, also rallied to win. The Bears were down 24-14 to No. 10 Ouachita Parish in the fourth quarter before storming back to prevail, 28-24.

    Jacoby Briscoe
    Brent Indest, our 5A Coach of the Year, dipped into his bag of tricks for the first of his team's two fourth quarter touchdowns. The first occurred on an 80-yard pass from RB Alex Johnson to WR Shawn Thomas. According to Kevin Foote of the Daily Advertiser, Thomas shook off several would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. Following a pivotal defensive stop, Carencro's offense marched 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown with QB Jalen Nixon doing the honors on a keeper. Nixon ran for 105 yards and threw for 80 more, while Johnson - the state's leading rusher - went for 78 on the ground and 64 receiving. Three-star DL Jacoby Briscoe and LB Kye Poole are players to watch on defense for the Bears, whose only loss was to defending state champ Acadiana.

    "They were big but not quite as physical as everyone was saying," said Ouachita defensive tackle Jarett Triplett, who has squared off with the likes of West Monroe, Ruston, Neville and Evangel Christian. "Alex Johnson was a patient runner. The QB (Nixon) evaded me several times. He doesn't go down easily; I experienced that several times. He's a big, strong quarterback who moved around enough to where I never could get both hands on him."

    Carencro is mainly known as a running team, but Nixon (and Johnson) can successfully launch the pigskin in the air. Indest and his staff will certainly scrutinize Jesuit's week ten nailbiter vs. West Jefferson where the Blue Jays won by one point. The Blue Jays got a huge night from Stanton on Friday but are very multiple on offense, even using dual quarterbacks (Lee and Cameron Dobbins). Nixon and Johnson -- our runner-up for 5A Offensive Player of the Year (behind Landon Collins) -- will bang heads with Jones for four quarters.

    Carencro, 25-20

  • No. 16 Ruston (8-4) at No. 9 Mandeville (10-2)

    Matt Bergeron
    Mandeville, ranked No. 8 in the preseason by Scout.com, was expected to be here. Ruston, which was bounced in the first round of the 2010 4A playoffs, not so much. The Bearcats are peaking, however, with a defense that's loaded in the secondary with Louisiana Tech commits Cyril Noland and Kentrell Brice and Darrlyn Lee. All three defensive backs made crucial plays in Ruston's second round win at No. 32 Central. Noland recovered a fumble, Brice returned a kickoff for an 88-yard TD, and Lee intercepted a pass. QB Pierce Spangler crossed the goal-line on a pair of 2-yard plunges for the Bearcats, who trailed 6-0 before going on to win, 28-19. Alexio Williams-Hargrove led Ruston in rushing with 97 yards, according to Robin Fambrough of the Advocate.

    The Skippers emerged victorious over Parkway, 38-37, in a double overtime slugfest. RB Charles Jones ran for 213 yards and QB Matt Bergeron accounted for 250 yards passing and scrambled for two touchdowns. Drew Graham split the uprights with a 37-yard field goal to give Mandeville a 17-0 lead that eventually melted away. LB Preston Winget, a junior, has spearheaded the Skippers defense all season.

    After a 4-4 start that included losses to Byrd, West Monroe, Ouachita and Neville, Ruston has reeled off four straight. If the Bearcats can contain Charles Jones, they could possibly get another crack at West Monroe.

    Ruston, 34-32

  • No. 5 West Monroe (10-2) at No. 13 Barbe (9-3)

    This is a rematch of last year's second round contest, which was won by West Monroe. On Friday, Xavier Woods continued his hot hand for West Monroe, returning a punt 63 yards to paydirt for the first points of the game. Conner Osborne connected on a scoring strike to Dayton Neal and Steven Jones rushed for a 32-yard TD, according to David Folse of the News-Star, as the Rebels handled Haughton, 51-19.

    Terrell Lathan
    Barbe pounced on No. 29 Ponchatoula with 31 unanswered points in the second half to advance, 41-27. The Green Wave held a 20-10 advantage at intermission but could not hold off the explosive Barbe offense. QB Kennon Fontenot threw for 194 yards and rushed for 81. RB Courtney Galentine stepped off a game-high 208 yards with two TDs, according to Darrell Ashley of sportsnola.com.

    If Barbe performs like it did in a 44-14 thrashing of Acadiana in week six, then the Buccaneers will pull off the upset. Which Barbe team will show up? The one that beat Acadiana, or the one that lost to Evangel Christian? Fontenot has become more and more confident as the year has progressed. As a result, Barbe is enjoying a five-game winning streak. The Bucs have two of the top underclassmen in the nation in '13 TE Desean Smith and '14 WR Trey Quinn.

    West Monroe dropped two of its first three but has since adjusted to a backfield that featured new starters at QB and RB. Matchup to watch? Defensive ends James McFarland and Terrell Lathan chasing Fontenot, who doesn't have prototype height but can scoot.

    West Monroe, 40-37

  • No. 6 Archbishop Rummel (10-1) at No. 3 Byrd (11-0)

    Here's the question: Can Rummel's defense put the brakes on a potent option offense again? In the second round, the Raiders cooled off an Acadiana team that hung 75 points on the board the previous week. Meanwhile, Byrd got all it wanted and more from No. 19 Airline before winning, 35-24. Acadiana runs the split-back veer, while Byrd's offense is based out of the Wing-T. QB Richard Carthon, a Cornell baseball commit, calls the signals for Byrd. He's not one-dimensional, having thrown for 138 yards vs. Airline.

    Rummel, which reached the 2009 state finals, didn't make the playoffs last year. In the Acadiana tilt, a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Zachary Pilet provided the Raiders with a 24-21 win -- considered an upset by many pundits (including myself). RB J.J. Brown, who skewered Higgins for 317 yards in the first round, left the game early due to injury. With Brown on the sidelines, junior QB Damian Williams and all-purpose star Cyril Grayson stepped up to fill the void. Williams rang up over 200 yards passing in the second half, according to Will Peneguy of the Times-Picayune. Grayson hauled in 10 receptions for 212 yards and carried 12 times for 53 yards. CB Jordan Frost's (pictured below) pick-six of Acadiana QB Stryker Trahan knotted the game at 21-all, setting up Pilet's heroics.

    Rummel yielded only 42 yards rushing to an Acadiana offense that dialed up 556 yards in the first round vs. Zachary. Head coach Jay Roth and his staff work their magic against the triple option for a second straight week.

    Rummel, 14-12

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