Then there were two.
St. Mary’s and Pickering are two of the remaining 60 teams surviving to play post-Thanksgiving football as both teams have big road tests this week.
The Tigers head to Lafayette to face Division IV No. 1 seed Ascension Episcopal, while the Red Devils are going to Rayville as both teams aim to stay on the hunt for one of the nine LHSAA football titles.
“It seems like the community and all of the kids are excited,” Pickering coach Johnny Cryer said. “It’s been a long time for Pickering High School. It seems like there’s a lot of people headed to Rayville Friday. We’ve had a good week of practice and the kids are excited.”
St. Mary’s (12-0) is playing on the day after Thanksgiving for the third season in a row, while making the quarterfinals for the second straight season. However, they have a tall task by facing a Gators team that shared the District 7-1A title with Central Catholic and Vermilion Catholic.
Ascension Episcopal is averaging 40.75 points per game this season with UL Lafayette commit Jake Arceneaux under center.
“We know that they’re supposed to have this prolific offense,” Doty said after his Tigers defeated Hamilton Christian, 48-7, last week.
Pickering (9-3) is in the Class 2A quarterfinals for the first time since 1996 when it made the semifinals, but is locked into a battle with a Hornets squad that has won eight of its last nine, including wins against Sterlington and Mangham.
“Their quarterback (Kahmod Naylor) is the best I’ve seen in years,” Red Devils coach Johnny Cryer said. “He can run and throw well, he’s the Michael Vick of high school football. He was a first-team All-State player last year in Class 3A. They have all of their offensive linemen back from last year and they have several threats.”
Class 2A still has seven of the eight top seeds in play, but West St. John’s upset of No. 1 Many has opened the door for not only Pickering and Rayville, but for other favorites such as Kinder and Welsh.
“The winner of this game will play at home in the semifinals,” Cryer said. “That there is really enough to play for, because that’s very important to have that one game before the Dome at home. I’m sure Rayville wants it just like we do, so it should be a war.”
Both games will begin at 7 p.m. Friday.