LAFAYETTE (KATC) — Four Acadiana teams will already play for state football titles next week, and three more could punch their tickets Friday, putting seven area teams in five state championship games.
St. Thomas More in Division II, Notre Dame and Catholic N.I. in Division III, and Lafayette Christian in Division IV will all play for a state title. The ladder three did the same a year ago. Friday, Welsh, Iota and Kaplan or Eunice could join them.
5 Welsh at 1 Many
Many will play in it’s third straight semifinal. A season ago Welsh beat the Tigers 28-18. The Grayhounds went on to win the school’s first championship. Those are hard facts. What is more grey is whether or not either team would return. Many obliterated teams most of the season, they’ve outscored opponents 631-102. Welsh’s season has had more bends and breaks, but the Grayhounds have allowed just 16 points in their last four games, playing their best football at the right time.
“We knew there would be a lot of challenges,” said Welsh head coach John Richardson. “But we expected to be here like Many. We knew it would be either this week or next week, and it’s this week. We’ll go over there and be ready for the challenge.”
4 Sterlington at 1 Iota
Iota is seeking it’s first trip to the Superdome since 2002. they face Sterlington, the 2016 champions. Not to over simplify things, but the Bulldogs strength this season has been their ability to win games. All of them. They aren’t always blowouts, Iota is 3-0 in one-score games including a pair of district wins over Church Point and Eunice.
“I guess they just understand the gravity of the moment when it does happen,” said Head coach Josh Andrus. “When it gets towards the end, it’s who is going to make the mistake, and we’ve capitalized on those mistakes… Everything they’ve been through this year comes down to hard work and heart so that has the most to do about end of the game situations and it coming out in our favor.
3 Kaplan at 2 Eunice
Kaplan and Eunice meet in a heavy weight all-Acadiana bout. The Pirates are in familiar territory having played in the state semifinals the past two seasons, both loses. Their ground and pound attack mirrors the mentality of their head coach, Stephen “Tank” Lotief. It’s a contrast of styles as Eunice flashes lots of speed. The two teams haven’t played a meaningful game against each other since 2010, but do scrimmage regularly and know plenty about each other.
“I know too much about Kaplan,” said Eunice head coach Paul Torsclair. “That’s the problem. Kaplan is the most physical team, maybe in the state of Louisiana. They’re not trying to trick anyone and if you get in their way they’ll run you over. That’s just the way they play football.”
“We are peaking at the right time. We started playing our best football in week 11, got better in week 12 and stayed strong last week. We’ll see,” said Lotief.