The area’s five remaining unbeaten coaches credited their team’s 7-0 starts to senior leadership, hard work, strong focus and yes, a little luck.
All of them have looked dominant at times and survived at least one tough test thanks to big plays going their way late in the fourth quarter. Sure, opponents matter — no Northwest Louisiana school would be undefeated against Evangel’s schedule — but reaching this point in the season without a loss is an impressive feat for perennial powers and upstart underdogs alike.
Few schools can match the prestige of the Golden Tors, and No. 2 Many continues to establish itself as one of 2A’s top programs. Meanwhile, Loyola pulled off the most impressive turnaround while Logansport and Minden appear to be hitting the high point of a solid run in recent years, which could make it more tempting to look ahead to next month’s playoffs.
“We just keep a normal week,” Logansport coach Kevin Magee said. “We scheme, regardless of who it is, we’re going to go ahead and prepare our players as if it’s the biggest game of the year.”
At some level, of course, coaches and players know the most important games are yet to come. As we look back on how these teams got here, we look at the significant challenges to their perfect record all five teams will face, whether it’s in the regular season’s last three weeks or the late stages of a run to the Dome.
First time 7-0 since: 2006
Rankings: No. 4 in Oct. 18 LSWA 4A poll, No. 6 in Oct. 11 4A power ratings. “It definitely shows that there’s people not just in this area but across the state that are kind of seeing what we’re doing,” Heard said. “But at the same time, you can’t get caught up in that.”
Most impressive win(s): 23-20 at Haughton, 42-28 at Benton
Biggest obstacles to 10-0: District games vs. North DeSoto, Oct. 28 and at Woodlawn, Nov. 4, could both be competitive games for the Crimson Tide.
Playoff outlook: Minden has the misfortune of playing in the same playoff bracket as the state’s best team, Neville, and schools such as Edna Karr, McDonogh 35 and Carencro could present major problems ensure even making it past the quarterfinals could be a tough task.
First time 7-0 since: 1976. “I think a lot of people in the area are surprised that we’re in this situation,” Loyola coach Steven Geter said. “But we also knew going in that with 23 seniors this was a year for us to be a really good football team.”
Rankings: No. 10 in LSWA 3A poll, No. 1 in Division II power ratings
Most impressive win(s): 40-34 vs. North Webster
Biggest obstacles to 10-0: The most difficult game on Loyola’s schedule awaits on Oct. 28, when the Flyers go up two classes to take on a much-improved Captain Shreve team.
Playoff outlook: Winning even one game won’t be easy and anything beyond that would be a tall order for Loyola in a loaded 12-team bracket featuring 3A No. 1 De La Salle and four ranked 4A teams — Teurlings Catholic, St. Thomas More, Carencro and Vandebilt Catholic.
First time 7-0 since: 2014
Rankings: No. 2 in LSWA 2A poll, No. 1 in 2A power ratings. “That’s always a thought when you put your schedule together,” Curtis said. “You put tough teams on it so you can get a high seed.”
Most impressive win(s): 28-20 at Marksville, 34-33 vs. North DeSoto
Biggest obstacles to 10-0: The Tigers should cruise into a season finale showdown against No. 9 Pickering, which could decide the District 3-2A title.
Playoff outlook: A second-round loss last season taught Many a fourth straight No. 1 seed won’t guarantee anything, but it could provide a friendly path to the Dome if Madison Prep and defending champ Kinder wind up on the other side of the bracket.
First time 7-0 since: 2013
Rankings: No. 1 in LSWA 1A poll, No. 1 in 1A power ratings
Most impressive win(s): 41-19 at North Webster, 30-26 vs. Junction City
Biggest obstacles to 10-0: None, really. Haynesville played its best opponents in non-district and already beat the best 1-1A has to offer.
Playoff outlook: The Golden Tors could be heavy favorites, but don’t count out Logansport and defending champs Kentwood.
First time 7-0 since: 1996
Rankings: No. 4 in LSWA 1A poll, No. 2 in 1A power ratings
Most impressive win(s): 43-39 at Bossier
Biggest obstacles to 10-0: The Tigers close out their district slate with three games against teams with a combined four wins.
Playoff outlook: A win over Haynesville would be a big upset, but just reaching the semifinals would be a great way for seniors like Langston Murray, Braylen Wilson and Nakendric Peterson to end their careers.