Week 3 had its marquee match-ups that helped shake up the bottom half of the rankings, but the top half remains firm.
For some teams, Week 4 is a step into district play, while others are continuing to work out the kinks before their district games begin in two weeks.
Nevertheless, here are this week’s rankings.
1. Pineville (3-0, LW: 1): It was wild and it came down to the final play, but the Rebels survived a tough test against Marksville to remain as the No. 1 team for the third straight week. Senior quarterback Clayton Wider, Jr. rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown, while junior running back Landon King scored the go-ahead touchdown and helped the Pineville defense corral Laqaaron “Qa” Mingo on the final play to seal the win. The Rebels take on Leesville next in what will be a battle of talented running backs.
2. Pickering (3-0, LW: 2): The Red Devils pitched a shutout on the road against Merryville to give coach Johnny Cryer his 100th victory and to stay at No. 2. Jermaine Milton ran for only 91 yards on 11 carries, but still managed to get in the end zone four times, while Patrick Hinson was in rhythm with his receivers throughout the game. The Red Devils step up in play this week and will travel to Class 4A’s DeRidder this week.
3. Menard (3-0, LW: 3): The Eagles survived Avoyelles, 35-28, to earn a clean sweep of its District 3-3A portion of its schedule. Menard’s offense continues to play well, as it has put up over 34 points in each game this season. Up next is a step into 2A play as the Eagles travel to General Trass looking for their first 4-0 start since 2012.
4. Winnfield (2-1, LW: 5): The Tigers matched their win total from last season after a 42-28 win over Caldwell Parish in Week 3. The win sets Winnfield nicely for the rugged District 3-3A, as it is one of the teams that can try to wrestle the crown from defending three-time defending champion Buckeye. The Tigers first test? A home match-up with Peabody and senior quarterback Sadrick “Wanya” Kirklin.
5. Natchitoches Central (2-1, LW: 6): The Chiefs lived in the backfield for their game against Captain Shreve, holding them to minus-38 rushing yards in a 30-7 victory. NCHS senior Austin Guy is once again the man at quarterback, while junior wide receiver Brandon Rachal caught five passes for 100 yards. The only negative is that the Chiefs fumbled the ball eight times, but will look to shore that up when they travel to West Ouachita Friday.
6. St. Mary’s (3-0, LW: 8): Steadily moving up in the Central Louisiana rankings, the Tigers are already No. 1 in the LSWA Class 1A poll after crushing Plain Dealing, 54-6, on the road. St. Mary’s took advantage of short drives on offense, while its defense and special teams were opportunistic with three touchdowns — two on defense and one on special teams. The Tigers will take on a tough task this when they face Loyola in Shreveport.
7. Jena (3-0, LW: 9): Behind Jaray Jenkins’ six receptions for 130 yards, Jena scored early and often against Block — winning 50-14 for its first 3-0 start since 2012. Jenkins found the end zone four times last week — twice on receptions, one on the run and another courtesy of an interception — to now give him seven touchdowns. The Giants drew a favorable start to 3-3A play as it will host Buckeye and Winnfield in the next two weeks.
8. Leesville (2-1, LW: NR): After a brief hiatus, the Wampus Cats return to the list after rolling up 525 rushing yards against Alexandria Senior High last week. Leading the way was Cory McCoy, who rushed for 293 yards — the fourth-best game total in the state this year — and four touchdowns, while quarterback Caden Wheeler scrambled for 209. Leesville heads to Pineville this week for a match-up of similar offensive philosophies.
9. ASH (2-1, LW: 4): While Leesville moves up, the Trojans head down in the poll despite hanging with Leesville throughout the game. ASH still managed to put up 39 points, as senior quarterback Matthew Beck passed for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-37 passing. Up next for the Trojans will be a banged up Tioga team that also can pass the ball around.
10. Bunkie (3-0, LW: NR): The Panthers make their debut on the list after rushing for 273 yards in a 41-21 win against Buckeye last week. Coach Freddie Hallman admired the way that his team fought through adversity as Bunkie scored 33 unanswered points to close the first half after trailing 14-0. Joseph Murray notched another 100-yard game, but Anthony Baronne and Jon’Ques Williams complimented him well as the Panthers have a chance to start 5-0 leading into the District 3-2A slate. Bunkie squares off with Northwood this week.
Gafford’s 11th: Peabody (1-2, LW: 10) and Marksville (1-2, LW: 7). I know that this might be the easy way out, but I don’t think there is much separation between the Warhorses and Tigers until they play each other Oct. 1 in Marksville. Both teams defeated Washington-Marion at home, while losing tough battles to Class 5A schools and Class 2A teams that run state titles. Until then, both teams will settle for trying to start 1-0 in 3-3A play when Peabody travels to Winnfield and Marksville heads to Moreauville to face Avoyelles.