What to know about Alexandria area in LHSAA football playoffs: Hot takes, top storylines

LaMar Gafford
Alexandria Town Talk

The first round of the Louisiana high school football playoffs begins this week with Tioga traveling to Shreveport to face Huntington on Thursday night before the rest of the area plays on Friday.

Here is a look at what to know for the LHSAA football playoffs for Alexandria area teams.

Hot takes

Many will win Class 2A

OK, this is not an extremely hot take, but the Tigers will hoist the Class 2A title when it is all said and done.

The running game is a strong one with senior running back London Williams rushing for 1,817 yards and 33 touchdowns, while Jeremiah James and Trent Williams also have 10 touchdowns each. However, Many’s defense is just as strong with Tackett Curtis and Tylen Singleton leading the secondary.

The Tigers will be possibly tested by Avoyelles in the semifinals and Amite in the final, but it will not be enough to deter them from a second straight title.

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Central Louisiana will have 5 teams playing on Thanksgiving weekend

Historically, Central Louisiana teams do not go far in the playoffs, but the trend was bucked last year as four teams reached to the quarterfinals with ASH and Many making trips to the Prep Classic in Natchitoches.

This year, there are five teams that can have a serving of football with their Thanksgiving dinner as the Trojans have a good shot of defeating Captain Shreve in the Class 5A regionals and Many should keep its tradition of playing on the holiday weekend alive.

Joining them will be Avoyelles, which gave Many a scare in Week 7 before losing 34-30, and District 5-2A champion Rosepine. LaSalle also has a chance to reach the Class 1A quarters if it defeats White Castle in the regionals after getting a first-round bye.  

Storylines to watch

Can ASH replicate the magical run from 2020?

Last season, Alexandria Senior High was the first Rapides Parish school to reach the title game since Bolton in 1974 and was a two-point conversion from being the first to win a title since Pineville in 1960. To get there it had to face a who’s who of contenders in Zachary, West Monroe and Acadiana in the final three rounds.

This year brings a similar path, but much earlier as it has to take on Captain Shreve in the regionals and a rematch with the Wreckin’ Rams at home in the quarterfinals, if it survives that.

The Trojans are seeded No. 15, but they are loaded with talent as Division I prospects Jarvis Newton, J’Mari Monette, TJ Johnson and Jermaine Minor highlight some of the key stars they have.

Rosepine’s path isn’t rosy

Rosepine lost just one game, but that loss has it on a tough path to get to the Superdome.

The Eagles open the playoffs against Kentwood, which made it to the 2A semifinals in 2019, and then have potential matchups with Red River in the regionals, Many in the quarterfinals and either Avoyelles or North Caddo in semifinals.

According to Eagles coach Brad Ducote, that Week 5 loss to Logansport dropped them from No. 4 to No. 8, but their experience might be enough to overcome the treacherous road.

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Collision course

Anything can happen in the playoffs, but there are potential matchups that you cannot help but to think about down the road.

Class 3A regionals: Jena (9-1) at Union Parish (7-3)

Class 5A regionals: ASH (7-3) at Captain Shreve (9-1)

Class 2A quarterfinals: Rosepine (9-1) at Many (9-1)

Class 2A quarterfinals: North Caddo (7-2) at Avoyelles (8-2)

Class 2A semifinals: Avoyelles (8-2) at Many (9-1)

Representing Central Louisiana

While seven teams from the area cleaned out their lockers for the final time this week, 18 from Cenla moved on to the second season.

Of the 10 parishes in our coverage area that have playoff teams, five have multiple participants.

Rapides Parish (4): ASH (5A), Tioga (4A), Northwood (1A), Menard (Div. III)

Avoyelles Parish (3): Marksville (3A), Avoyelles (2A), Bunkie (2A)

LaSalle Parish (2): Jena (3A), LaSalle (1A)

Natchitoches Parish (2): Natchitoches Central (5A), St. Mary’s (Div. IV)

Vernon Parish (2): Leesville (4A), Rosepine (2A)