CHURCH POINT — Life district 5-3A is a like bathing in a lava pit. It's hard not get burned and in 2018 there was no district in Louisiana more competitive.
Coming off the district title in 2017, Church Point dropped three games to Iota, Northwest and Crowley. Inter-district play was the only thing slowing any team down. Iota, Eunice, Northwest, Church Point and Crowley all ranked inside the top-15 in 3A heading into the post season, there combined 10 loses all came against district 5-3A teams.
But the district looks different this season. Eunice moves to 4A, while Crowley joined district 6. Still, it's about as tough as they come in 3A.
"It's a tough district and you have to be ready to play week-in-week-out," said head coach John Arceneaux.
The Bears enter 2019 as a 3A contender, hungry after last season's disappointing end. In the second round of the playoffs, Sterling, a 5-3A killer, knocked of the Bears 56-57 in overtime. That same team beat Iota two weeks later in the 3A semifinals before Eunice topped them in the state championship.
The Bears return start running back Rodney Dupuis, but will lean heavily on a generally young roster. Many of the new faces have limited game experience, but still saw last season's run end and are dertimmined to not let that happen twice.
"Last year we were childish," said tight end and linebacker Dax Moore. "We didn't take anything seriously and when we got to the playoffs people wanted to quit. There was no drive. We have a lot of drive this year I find."
"I think the strength of our team this year is the character," said Arceneaux. "It's a group of kids who enjoy playing for each other. They're high character kids. They willing to put it on the line for the guy next to them and that's hug in high school football.