The 10 is WWL-TV.com’s weekly prep predictions column. It runs every Thursday throughout football season.
People have off weeks. It’s a fact of life.
I had one in Week 5, when I followed a 9-1 Week 4 slate with a disappointing 7-3 outing. To make matters worse, the USA TODAY Score Predictor was 9-1, widening the gap between us. I was a little down on myself early last week, but then I remembered something: I was still picking games at a rate above 70 percent, which is pretty doggone good if you ask me.
Re-energized, I headed back to the drawing board and picked my way to a 9-1 record in Week 6, beating the computer—which inexplicably slept on Brother Martin again. Now that I’m feeling confident again, let’s see how the picks for Week 7 stack up.
McDonogh 35 vs. Warren Easton (Thursday, 7 p.m.)
The Roneagles are 1-4 no thanks to a brutal schedule, with three 5A teams and four road games in their first five contests. But even an extra week to prepare won’t help them in their District 9-4A opener. Easton (5-1, 1-0) has rebounded very nicely from a loss at Woodlawn (B.R.) three weeks ago, and they have the state’s leading passer in Deshawn Capers-Smith (2,090 yards, 24 TDs, 0 INT) and leading receiver in Tyron Johnson (48 catches, 931 yards, 10 TDs). And if 35 chooses to double Johnson, Capers-Smith can just turn to Clyde Chriss, whose 626 yards and eight scores are good for eighth in the state. And did we mention that the Eagles’ defense, led by Arthur McGinnis, has some serious talent too? McDonogh 35 will put up a valiant fight, but it’s going to be a long Thursday night at Pan American for the Roneagles. Easton over McDonogh 35
Score Predictor: Easton 37, McDonogh 35 21
Hahnville at East St. John (Friday, 7 p.m.)
The River Parishes are playing host to an exciting matchup, as the Tigers (3-3, 1-2) head to Reserve to take on the Wildcats (4-2, 3-0), who have rebounded nicely from dropping two of their first three. After all, those losses were to Rummel and Curtis. Quarterback Xavier Lewis, an LSU DB commit, and running back Nigel Anderson, the jewel of Tulane’s recruiting class so far, are a formidable backfield tandem, and Hahnville is still without starting QB Mike Neal. Add the fact that this game is in Reserve, and that sets up pretty nicely for the Wildcats. East St. John over Hahnville
Score Predictor: Hahnville 32, East St. John 28
Belle Chasse at Landry-Walker (Friday, 7 p.m.)
The Chargin’ Bucs seem to have a problem with penalties, but they should be alright this week regardless. RB Tevin Bush has proved to be one of the most exciting players in the area, the quarterback tandem of Li’Jon Cordier and Keytaon Thompson is coming into its own, and the Landry-Walker defense is confident after nearly pitching a shutout last week against an admittedly somewhat depleted Karr squad. Belle Chasse has the Metro area’s leading rusher in QB Andrew Hicks, but it should be all Chargin’ Bucs in Behrman Stadium this Friday. Landry-Walker over Belle Chasse
Score Predictor: Landry-Walker 40, Belle Chasse 20
St. Charles Catholic at De La Salle (Friday, 7 p.m.)
This matchup pits two teams with strong quarterback-running back tandems. Victor Gaines and Cole Lewis have led the Cavaliers t0 the No. 2 spot in the LHSAA’s Division II power ratings, but Austin Weber and Erron Lewis have the Comets at an underrated No. 7, with St. Charles’s only two losses coming to a solid 5A squad in East Ascension…and by a touchdown to John Curtis last week. The game is at Pan American Stadium in City Park, which should help De La Salle, but I think the Comets ultimately prevail. St. Charles over De La Salle
Score Predictor: St. Charles 41, De La Salle 20
St. Thomas Aquinas at Northlake Christian (Friday, 7 p.m.)
The Wolverines have the area’s longest regular-season winning streak, with 17 straight victories. They also have an outstanding running back in Miguel Black, and they’re at home. The Falcons are a strong squad as well, but with the winner having the inside track to the District 7-2A championship, coach Tony Agresta will have the Wolverines raring to go. Northlake Christian over St. Thomas Aquinas
Score Predictor: St. Thomas Aquinas 34, Northlake Christian 33
Riverside at Newman (Friday, 7 p.m.)
Both teams are 6-0 and near the top of Class 2A and Division III. When the Greenies and the Rebels met in Reserve last season, Riverside’s 35-28 win—sealed with a late interception by LB Evan Veron—clinched the District 8-2A title for the Rebels. This season should be no different. Whichever team wins has a strong shot at going 10-0 and claiming the top seed in the Division III playoffs. And these two offenses are outstanding. Riverside is averaging 48.8 points per game, with over 60 points scored in three straight weeks. Newman isn’t far behind, with 46.8 points per game and signature wins over Riverdale and St. James. The Greenie offense looks a little different, with Miles Lapeyre taking over at quarterback and Jay Tyler moving to receiver after a hand injury. But Kendall Bussey is one of the best running backs in the state.
The truth is that this game is something of a coin flip, but ultimately the Rebels come out on top. Riverside over Newman
Score Predictor: Riverside 41, Newman 34
West Jefferson vs. Higgins (Friday, 7 p.m.)
Both Westbank squads are 2-4 on the season, but are riding two-game win streaks after a closer-than-expected loss against an area powerhouse. The difference is that the Hurricanes actually played Shaw pretty close in Week 4, then put 56 points on a good Riverdale team before beating Helen Cox, while the Buccaneers scored their points in garbage time against Landry-Walker, then got their wins against Grace King (whose only wins have come against Lake Area and Hannan) and Bonnabel. Daniel White, Romalo Ford, and company should roll in this one. Higgins over West Jefferson
Score Predictor: West Jefferson 34, Higgins 28
Holy Cross vs. Brother Martin (Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
Holy Cross QB Kyle Schexnayder left last week’s loss to Jesuit with an injury, and his status for Friday is in doubt. If he can’t go, the Tigers are in trouble. They’re going to need all their horses against the Crusaders, who are firing on all cylinders. Jared West and Bruce Jordan-Swilling might be the best one-two running back punch in the state, and they’ll do some serious damage again this week. Brother Martin over Holy Cross
Score Predictor: Brother Martin 34, Holy Cross 20
Jesuit at Shaw (Saturday, 2 p.m.)
Both teams were involved in 56-14 games in Week 6. The difference is that Jesuit was on the right side of 56-14 against Holy Cross, while the Eagles got crushed by Rummel. This game will be closer, but Trey LaForge has a lot of weapons to throw to, and the Blue Jay defense has enough talent and toughness to take on Shaw running back Trey Ragas. Jesuit over Shaw
Score Predictor: Jesuit 42, Shaw 25
Rummel at St. Augustine (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.)
Two teams with strong quarterbacks clash at Gormley this Saturday. Chase Fourcade of Rummel accounted for six touchdowns—three passing, three rushing—in the first half against Shaw, and the Purple Knights’ Justice McCoy threw for 365 and two scores in Aug’s loss to Brother Martin. But it’s the Raiders’ suffocating defense that gives Rummel the edge. Rummel over St. Augustine
Score Predictor: Rummel 33, St. Augustine 19
Last week: 9-1
Season: 45-15 (.750)
Score Predictor last week: 8-2
Score Predictor season: 41-9 (.820)