An early look at the 2017 parish football schedules

Kyle Riviere
In 2017, Ralph Williams (No. 20) and East Ascension will host archrival St. Amant in their season finale on Nov. 3. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

It may only be June, but it’s never too early to get excited about football.

Just this past week, the excitement level increased as parish teams took part in the Airo Louisiana 7v7 Championship Tournament and the official 2017 high-school football schedules were finalized.

There are some interesting matchups for all six Ascension teams.

The Ascension Catholic Bulldogs are looking to build on a successful 2016 season that saw them improve to 6-4 under second-year head coach Drey Trosclair and reach the state quarterfinals.

The Bulldogs figure to have another strong team as they return all-district stars like Jamar Barber, Dillion Davis, Bubba Gautreau and Jai Williams.

Their non-district schedule will look drastically different.

Last year’s non-league tilt featured four teams that made the playoffs—including upper-classification squads in Dunham and Kaplan.

This season, their first three opponents in Mentorship Academy, Sophie B. Wright and KIPP Renaissance only won a combined three games last year.

They will have tough non-district tests in 3A Thomas Jefferson and a Covenant Christian squad that went 8-2 during the regular season.

Also something new, the Bulldogs will not play parish rival Ascension Christian this year.

Speaking of the Lions, they will head into the season without starting quarterback Peyton Bahlinger and many other top players that led them to their best season in school history last year at 8-2.

Like the past two seasons, Ascension Christian will not participate in District 6-1A play. As of now, they have eight games scheduled.

Some of the new teams on the radar include Ben Franklin, Fisher and Ville Platte.

Donaldsonville will head into their second season under head coach Brian Richardson with high hopes as they return many of their starters from last year, including: quarterback Jaylin Williams, running back Jemon Pleasant, receivers Ladarius Jackson and James Gipson and linebacker Tahj Brown.

They will begin the season like they have in the past, with games against Assumption and White Castle, and they’ll play a familiar face in Port Allen on Sept. 15.

Though, the Tigers will play in a new district this year. In District 10-3A, they’ll face the likes of St. James, St. Charles, Haynes Academy and De La Salle.

“What we like the most about the move is how convenient it will now be for us travel wise,” Richardson said. “We won’t have to make those long trips to the Baton Rouge area anymore. We’re excited about having St. James in the district. It’s a great rivalry for us. A lot of our guys are friends with the guys from there.”

Dutchtown will head into its first season under former Livonia coach Guy Mistretta following the resignation of 15-year head coach Benny Saia.

The Griffins have opened the season against Lutcher for years, but this season, they’ll start off with a road game against Walker. Though, they will visit the Bulldogs on Sept. 29.

Two new additions to the non-district tilt will be matchups against both Covington and Sci Academy.

Also, for the past four seasons, Dutchtown has closed with a parish clash against St. Amant. This year, they’ll play the Gators on Oct. 13. Their finale will be a road game against McKinley on Nov. 3.

East Ascension played an absolutely brutal non-district schedule in head coach Darnell Lee’s first year, and not much will change in 2017.

Though they won’t play Scotlandville and Zachary this year, they’ll still meet Thibodaux and St. Charles.

In addition to those heavyweights, they’ll open on the road at Lutcher, followed by a home game against Parkview Baptist and they’ll visit Cecilia on Sept. 22.

The Spartans’ annual clash with archrival St. Amant will be their season finale on Nov. 3.

The Gators head into 2017 fresh off of one of their best years in school history as they finished 9-1 and reached the state quarterfinals.

Though, they must replace some of their best players—including two-year starting quarterback Hayden Mallory and do-it-all star Briggs Bourgeois.

Lutcher is the only non-district opponent on this year’s schedule that the Gators played last season.

New additions include Lake Area New Tech, Helen Cox, West Jefferson and St. James.

They’ll open District 5-5A play at home against Catholic on Oct. 6.