With the foul weather causing a number of area teams to miss all or part of their appointed jamboree action last Friday night, the opening week of the regular season becomes even more like a tune-up for district play than in the past.
Nearly all of the District 1-5A and District 1-4A teams start league play with the fourth game of the season, giving coaches little time to make adjustments for the most critical part of the campaign.
To make matters more interesting, thanks to September having five Friday nights, half of the 2016 prep football season will be played in one of the hottest months of the year.
A lot will be determined in the District 1-5A race during the Sept. 23 matchup between Parkway and Evangel – Bossier City versus Shreveport, public versus private, offensive prowess versus defensive prowess – this one has a lot wrapped into one.
Byrd, Airline and Haughton each have enough talent to pull off an upset along the way, but look for the Eagles to edge the Panthers for the district title this fall.
One of the most evenly distributed 4A districts in the state was ruled by Benton last season when the Tigers navigated their way through some minefields. It could happen again, but Minden seems to have all the elements to rule District 1-4A in 2016 with Benton and North DeSoto not far behind. The surprise will be if any team goes undefeated through their schedule.
Even though Devin White, perhaps the best football player in the state last season, is now playing at LSU, none of the District 1-3A teams are likely to knock the Knights out of the top spot. The most likely candidates to do so are Green Oaks, resurgent under Curtis Evans, and Loyola with Stephen Jeter back in control.
The Calvary Cavaliers are down a bit this year by their standards, but they still should have little trouble commanding the top of the District 1-2A race. Red River and North Caddo will joust for the runner-up spot with possible contesting from Jonesboro-Hodge.
Likewise in District 1-1A, Haynesville appears to be an impassable object standing in the way of those who’d like to usurp the throne. Cedar Creek, Grambling, Arcadia and D’Arbonne Woods will be in the running, as will Plain Dealing if the Lions’ brain trust can get some help for Keldrick Carper.
Making preseason predictions without seeing teams is a risky venture, but here’s our best guess at how the local district races will turn out.