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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hoop talk

You've got to love the way some of the Class B and C schools play basketball around here.

Pleasant Hill rang up 104 points in a win on Tuesday night.

One hundred point games are common in the lower classes. Those schools like to push the ball up court and play a faster-paced game than some of the bigger schools that play more half-court games.

No matter what your prefernce, you have to be impressed by teams that score 100 points in 32 minutes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Put up or shut up time

We've been running stories all week on the chances of area teams of reaching the state high school football playoffs.

Since this is Week 10, it's put up or shut up time for teams that are either on the bubble or are trying to secure a home game.

Most of the area teams already know their first-round fates. But there will be some interesting games for outright district titles this week, topped by Calvary-Evangel and Parkway-Benton.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

From the Observation Deck at Lumberjacks Stadium...

Though he may not have the height of a top-flight quarterback recruit, Jake Booty of Calvary measures up in almost every other way.

Take Friday night in Springhill, for example.

Booty, about 5-foot-10 and some change, pulled the Cavaliers from the brink of disaster against surprisingly spunky Springhill last night. Staring down a 10-point deficit late in the second quarter, Booty turned this key district match into his own little highlight reel.

After a starting off 1-for-5 with an interception, Booty completed 11 consecutive passes for 148 yards and four touchdowns to snatch back the lead and push Calvary's advantage to 40-24 early in the third quarter.

Booty also controlled the game with his feet, rushing for a team-leading 65 yards and a touchdown and deftly avoiding the Lumberjacks' furious pass rush. His 25-yard touchdown run - out of an empty backfield in the shotgun set - with 4:16 left in the first half started the avalanche of points.

Over 8:31 spanning the second and third quarters, Calvary scored 26 unanswered points and went from trailing 17-14 to leading by 16 points, essentially putting the game out of reach for the hit-or-miss passing attack of the ground-bound 'Jacks.

It really happened that quickly. And there was essentially nothing Springhill could do about it - except get ready for the ensuing kickoff.

I'll leave my predictions for next week's game against Evangel for some other time, but I will say Jake Booty is far and away the most efficient offensive player I've seen this year. And if some top colleges can't overlook his height, then they ought to review the film from last night's game at Springhill.

They'd probably like what they see.

Other observations, looking at today's sports section of The Times:

- I'll refer you to my blog from last week when it comes to Ouachita's Montrell "Choo-Choo" Conner. Against Huntington, Conner made like Earl Campbell and rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in a 34-12 rout of the Raiders.
Now finally healthy after being nicked up all season, Conner looms as a huge force heading into the playoffs. In pretty much a handful of games, Choo-Choo has cracked the 1,000-yard barrier with one more game to go in the regular season.

- Also, the Huntington Raiders are confirming what I believed about them from the very start: they're a bit overrated. Good team, but not as good as they'd have you believe.

- It's tough to believe, in one year, Minden could go from undefeated district champs from getting rolled by 22 at Parkway and possibly missing the playoffs. I know losing quarterback T.Q. Mims was huge but who could have known the Crimson Tide would be such a mess.

- Is Captain Shreve really going to go with Travis Anderson as quarterback for the rest of the season? I'm all for putting the ball in the hands of your best athlete, but really, sophomore James Scroggins has a lot of potential and essentially benching him can't do much for his confidence.

- Byrd's Brittain White is a really, really tough-as-nails fullback. He's making it easy for the Yellow Jackets to forget about Justan Gibson, who, oh by the way, just graduated a year ago.

- Better catch Green Oaks runner Lemarien Parson, the area's leading rusher heading into last week, while you can. Next week will probably be the final game of his career.

- Good to see Ringgold get off the snide; good to see Loyola recover from last week's heartbreaking loss to Springhill; and good to see Homer did the same after falling just short of an upset of Evangel.

- Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Last year's 5A state champ Acadiana lost its second-straight last night, 37-7 to Sulphur. Wow. That is not a good way to go into the postseason.

- Finally, St. James knocked off John Curtis, Class 2A's top-ranked team and defending champ. With Calvary at No. 2, that means the other 11 voters in the LSWA poll will probably join me in putting the Cavs at No. 1 on their weekly ballot. Know what that means? Calvary and Evangel could meet next week as the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in Class 2A. As if the game couldn't get any bigger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Breaking Down The Ballot, Week 8

Let's get right into this. There's not much time to spare. This weekend's games start in about 27 hours.

Class 5A
1. West Monroe 2. Destrehan 3. Catholic-BR 4. St. Thomas More 5. Hahnville 6. Rummel 7. Sulphur 8. Acadiana 9. Carencro 10. Byrd.
Comments: With Acadiana's inexplicable loss last Friday to 4-4 Comeaux, West Monroe rightfully ascended to the top spot in 5A. Truth be told, West Monroe was probably the best team all along but I had to see the defending champs go down first before I could annointed the Rebels. So, again borrowing from Denny Green, I'm crowning their A. ... Byrd replaces Huntington at No. 10 after winning their showdown on a last-minute field goal last Saturday. Still, I'm not so sure Huntington wouldn't handily win a rematch.

Class 4A
1. Bastrop 2. Shaw 3. Teurlings Catholic 4. Franklinton 5. Eunice 6. Neville 7. Parkway 8. Benton 9. Northside 10. Zachary.
Comments: I really couldn't penalize Neville for losing to Bastrop last week. It seems only fair to keep them at No. 6. ... We'll settle once and for all which is the best 4A team in the area, Benton or Parkway. In this week's official poll, Benton is No. 6 and Parkway is unranked. To me, Parkway has to be ranked higher because its actually in first place in District 1-4A. Then again, when it comes time to make my pick next week, I'll probably go with the Tigers. Yeah, I know, I'm flip-flopping.

Class 3A
1. Notre Dame 2. Parkview Baptist 3. Redemptorist 4. Lutcher 5. Westlake 6. Rayville 7. Marksville 8. Cecilia 9. Bunkie 10. Jennings.
Comments: I just can't put BTW in the Top 10 after allowing 61 points to 4-4 Richwood. Sorry. That loss still lingers in my mind.

Class 2A
1. Calvary Baptist 2. John Curtis 3. Evangel 4. St. James 5. Donaldsonville 6. St. John-Plaquemine 7. Oakdale 8. Springhill 9. Westminster Christian 10. Clinton.
Comments: One week away from resolving all this hubbub about Calvary and Evangel. From what I hear, it's supposed to be a pretty big game in these parts. Who knew? ... Springhill and Homer should be really embittered against the LHSAA for foisting those private-school powers upon them for the next two years. And goodness knows how Lakeside and North Caddo feel.

Class 1A
1. Cedar Creek 2. Hamilton 3. Kentwood 4. South Plaquemines 5. Ouachita Christian 6. Delhi Charter 7. Haynesville 8. Catholic-PC 9. Oak Grove 10. St. Edmund.
Comments: Cedar Creek gets its stiffest test of the season in No. 5 Ouachita Christian on Friday. We'll see if the Cougars really have the stuff of district champs. ... Haynesville really shouldn't be overlooked. The Golden Tornado has recovered nicely from that 0-3 start. Next week, they'll take on Plain Dealing for the District 1-1A championship.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Game of the Year fast approaching

The Evangel-Calvary game is still more than a week away, but let's not kid ourselves. It's the Game of the Year as far as Shreveport-Bossier City is concerned. Calvary officials are expecting a huge crowd for their stadium.

As of this week's state rankings, Calvary is No. 2 and Evangel is No.3 in Class 2A. It's likely that the loser of this game will likely be placed in the same playoff bracket as No. 1 John Curtis. Meaning the loser will have to get through John Curtis and then likely get a rematch in the state title.

Calvary added to the rising rivalry last Friday. During the Evangel-Homer game, the Cavaliers (who had an off-week) sat on the Pelicans' side of the field cheering for the home team.

And, it looks like the Cavaliers are drawing more support this season. One coach I talked to this season said he thinks this is Calvary's year to beat the mighty Eagles. If that's the case, I wonder if the Eagles will see a migration of student-athletes eastward toward Calvary.

Coaches may think the Cavs have what it takes, but Calvary doesn't have as many skill players as Evangel does. The Eagles have a ton of athletes all over the field on offense and defense. We'll see how good of a coach Doug Pederson is in two weeks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh those polls

The high school football polls are out and Byrd is in.

The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 9 in the Class 5A poll. Good for them. This is a team that is getting about as close to maximum performance from its players and coaches as any in the area.

Byrd's losses are to Shreve and West Monroe. But the Yellow Jackets got a big win over Huntington on Saturday.

No, Byrd likely won't get to the Dome. But there is something to be said for getting the most out of what you've got.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who's invaded Parkway?

Parkway High School and football success are far from synonymous, but you have to give Jim Gatlin and his staff all the credit in the world for what the Panthers have produced so far.

The first eight weeks of the 2007 prep football season have been magical for Gatlin's Panthers, who are 7-1 overall and 5-0 in district play.

For more on the Panthers and their success, pick up a copy of Monday's Times.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ouachita's Conner is a sight to behold

Not to make too much of one game or anything but, whoa, Ouachita running back Montrell Conner is easily the best runner I've seen this season in north Louisiana.

Conner rolled up 255 yards and three touchdowns in Ouachita's 42-21 dismantling of Captain Shreve tonight, a performance that should put him on all the radar of most college scouts and the list of all recruiting services for next season. He's a junior.

At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Conner is built a little bit like Darren McFadden. He glides effortlessly through traffic, a running style that is somewhat similar to Shaun Alexander. Conner is no jitterbug or burner, he simply knows how to get down the field without much wasted motion.

On almost every carry, Conner broke a tackle and managed to fall forward for extra yards. That's a skill that can't be taught to most running backs - it's something that simply comes natural to the best of the breed.

You know, much has been made of all the injuries Captain Shreve has suffered this year. And, of course, that played a big role in Friday night's result. But I can't imagine the Gators could have done much more to corral Conner in this one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Talkin' hoops

Yes, basketball season has already started for the lower class schools.

In case you were wondering, Zwolle is already off to a 2-0 start.

But Zwolle, a two-time defending state champion, likely won't be flirting with 40-0 this season.

The Hawks have only two starters -- Joevoskie Mitchell and Eric Cutright -- back. But they do have an impressive freshman group.

I talked to Zwolle coach Bradley McLaren today and he still thinks his team can be a state contender in February. But he also admits this is a young team developing an identity.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Looking ahead to Friday night

It doesn't seem like a great schedule of games on Friday, but there are a few that catch my eye.

Captain Shreve and Ouachita is an interesting game in 5A. I'll be curious to see how Shreve comes out after finally beating Byrd last week. Will there be a letdown for the Gators?

Loyola is traveling to Springhill and Homer is coming to Evangel in a couple of 1-2A games that should be competitive for a little while.

It'll also be interesting to see what, if anything,Ruston can do with West Monroe.

And on Saturday, the Byrd-Huntington game is one worthy of watching as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Breaking Down The Ballot, Week 7

After a week absence (I was on a little vacay), here's the latest edition of the posting where I unveil all my biases and contempt for area schools by not ranking them high enough in the previous week's LSWA Top 10 ballot.

Seriously, these rankings are nothing personal but wholly subjective. I remind you that, maybe, I've seen 5 of the 50 teams I've ranked here.

On with the show ...

Class 5A
1. Acadiana 2. West Monroe 3. Destrehan 4. Catholic-BR 5. St. Thomas More 6. Hahnville 7. Barbe 8. Rummel 9. Huntington 10. Carencro.
Comments: I'm seriously rethinking my ranking of West Monroe, which currently has them behind Acadiana. The Rebs' closest game this season was a 32-point victory over Ouachita. West Monroe is so good, a better test might be playing in the Southland Conference. ... Huntington deserves to finally crack into the Top 10. I still don't believe the Raiders are one of 5A's 10 best teams but their resume says they are. We'll learn a lot more about Huntington after Saturday's game against Byrd. If the Raiders win that game, another bump might be in order.

Class 4A
1. Bastrop 2. Shaw 3. Teurlings Catholic 4. Franklinton 5. Eunice 6. Neville 7. Vandebilt 8. Parkway 9. Benton 10. Breaux Bridge.
Comments: Wow. Having seen Bastrop up close and personal, I've got to say its the best team I've covered in almost two years here in Louisiana. The Rams have quite a set of receivers and all Randall Mackey has to do is get the ball down the field to them. Borrowing from Denny Green, I'm about ready to crown their A. ... Parkway still isn't getting a lot of props around the state, having failed to break into the official Top 10 poll this week. Being undefeated in district play is enough to put the Panthers over one-loss Benton, at least to me.

Class 3A
1. Notre Dame 2. Parkview Baptist 3. Redemptorist 4. Lutcher 5. Westlake 6. Rayville 7. Marksville 8. Cecilia 9. Bunkie 10. Jennings.
Comments: BTW pretty much played itself off my ballot after allowing 61 points to Richwood last week. Good to know the Lions can throw the ball if need be, though.

Class 2A
1. Calvary Baptist 2. John Curtis 3. Evangel 4. St. James 5. Donaldsonville 6. St. John-Plaquemine 7. Oakdale 8. Westminster Christian 9. Clinton 10. Ferriday.
Comments: The temptation is to bury Evangel for its lopsided loss at Bastrop. But I can't believe the Eagles are any worse than the third-best team in Class 2A. Evangel can still overwhelm people at the point of attack and Cerderrick Tyson is quite the hoss ... still, for now, Calvary is my No. 1 team. ... I just can't help but wonder how unlucky Springhill and Homer are for having been thrust into the same district as Calvary and Evangel. Really, those two could compete for a state title this year. As of now, they're just competing for third place in 1-2A.

Class 1A
1. Cedar Creek 2. Hamilton 3. Kentwood 4. South Plaquemines 5. Ouachita Christian 6. Oberlin 7. Delhi Charter 8. Catholic-PC 9. Oak Grove 10. St. Edmund.
Comments: Hopefully, Cedar Creek can handle being No. 1 better than LSU did.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Basketball time?

Yes,the first hint of a cool breeze and it's basketball season.

High school basketball for the lower classes without football cranks up on Tuesday night, a good month before the football-playing schools get started.

If you like basketball, then you'll find a good game in Sabine Parish this week. State champion Zwolle cranks up this week.

If you don't like your sports overlapping, then wait a month for basketball to take center stage.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The exodus continues

We interupt football season for this bit of basketball news.

Greg Monroe, the nation's top basketball recruit from Helen Cox High School outside of the New Orleans area, has committed to Georgetown.

Monroe, a 6-foot-10 power forward/center, was on the LSU visit list for last weekend's football game with Florida.

But let's face it, Georgetown was in the Final Four last year. LSU was in it the previous year. But basketball is big at Georgetown and football is big at LSU.

Still, it's not good for the state when it is exporting basketball stars, whether it's D.J. Augustin at Texas or soon to be Greg Monroe at Georgetown.

All that is left for Monroe is to finish out his senior season here in the state.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Taking a beating

I haven't looked to see how my picks have done this week, but I can't believe they've done very good.

I thought UCP was good enough to win against Plain Dealing. Wrong.

I thought Homer had enough skill players to take out Springhill. Wrong.

Like a lot of people on the staff, I thought Byrd was better than Shreve. Wrong.

It's been a rough week and the scores haven't all rolled in yet.

Shreve makes it a rivalry

Now, according to Tommy Tuberville, Byrd and Captain Shreve is a rivalry.

Remember, it was Tuberville, Auburn's coach, who spouted off about Alabama not being a worthy "rival" for Auburn when the Tigers had taken 3 of 4 from the Tide.

That nugget aside, Shreve broke through in a big way Thursday night, spoiling Byrd's homecoming and looking like a worthy playoff team.

Given their recent Class 5A history, many were unsure how the Gators would fare on the gridiron when the LHSAA moved them back up to the state's largest classification.

At 5-1, it seems Shreve has answered those questions affirmatively.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Home of the hurt QB

What is going on in Natchitoches when it comes to quarterbacks?

Natchitoches Central lost its starting quarterback to injury before the season began.

St. Mary's loses Michael Lott to a broken leg.

And Northwestern State had three quarterbacks hurt in Saturday's loss at Nicholls.

The Lott injury is a tough one for St.Mary's. The Tigers were pointing to this season after taking some lumps as a young team. And now this.

They'll have to regroup and try to finish strong.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Interesting matchup

It's not the biggest game on the schedule this week, but it may be one of the more interesting ones.

Red River takes a 5-1 record to Mansfield to face a 3-3 Wolverines team.

Red River has one of the area's best running back in Cadelro Lewis. Mansfield has a run defense that has concerned coach Donald Mayweather all year.

Whoever gets the best of that matchup -- Lewis vs. the Mansfield defense -- will likely be the winner of this one.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Busy Thursday

The Thursday night schedule is a busy one this week.

Byrd and Shreve have a 5A showdown on Thursday night.

And in Bossier Parish, because of fall break, there is nearly a full schedule of football games as well.

What it means for you the fan is a lot less games to choose from on Friday, but more options on Thursday.

It's an unusual week.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tough spot for Les, Louisiana and the Tigers

For those of you who care about recruiting and the rankings that go along with it, check out this list of the nation's Top 100 prep players on SI.com.

What looks weird to you? Go ahead, look through the whole list. I'll wait for you ...

Did you see what I saw? There's not a player from Louisiana listed until No. 94 - Rayville receiver Chris Tolliver. Also, no one on the list has made a verbal commitment to LSU, though a few are considering the Tigers among their top choices.

That makes for interesting speculation.

With LSU coach and Michigan ex Les Miles all but assumed to be the top candidate for the Michigan job - assuming Lloyd Carr is run out of Ann Arbor at season's end as expected - you have to think rankings like these matter.

What motivation does Miles have to stick around in Baton Rouge and do a yeoman's job of recruiting for LSU - a school that depends heavily on nabbing most of its top in-state recruits? One recruiting class can make all the difference in the SEC and with Nick Saban now at Alabama, things are not going to get any easier down here.

Of course, reports that Miles is looking longingly toward Ann Arbor can't help in his recruiting efforts at LSU. What top recruit could feel all that confident that Miles will be in Baton Rouge next fall?

This is just a little something to remember when Michigan officially cuts ties to Carr and Miles is issuing "no comments" during the week of the SEC title game.

Some numbers don't lie. And SI.com's numbers say Louisiana is having a down year in producing top prep talent. Don't think Miles hasn't noticed.

From the Observation Deck at Leonard Barnes...

Well, my first Soul Bowl experience was definitely something to remember.

Though the bands were a little more entertaining than the football teams, it's not everyday that you can watch the city's top two rushers - BTW's Jessie Sheppard and Green Oaks' Lemarien Parson - go at it on the same field.

In fact, the game was definitely a test of wills - who was committed to pounding away between the tackles until someone cried "uncle." Sheppard got the win and outrushed Parson by 46 yards (173 t0 127) though he needed 10 more carries (33 to 23) to do it.

In the end, the Lions simply overwhelmed Green Oaks on both lines and Sheppard was the beneficiary. This was not a matter of one team outscheming the other. BTW coach Demise Loyd said as much after the game: "It's funny ... it's almost like we were all in the same team meetings."

Either way, BTW has won six straight in the Soul Bowl. With Sheppard returning as a senior next year and Parson graduating this spring, you'd have to think the Lions are probably the favorite to win seven in a row.

- Haughton continues to confound me. The Bucs hold Parkway's Torian Lindsey to 39 yards and no touchdowns and still lose? I just can't figure them out. And true to my word, if anyone at Parkway has a helmet and jersey to spare, I'll wear it for this week's edition of PrepsBeat Pregame . Better get it to me quick, though. We shoot on Tuesday.

- Since Evangel fans think I don't show them any love, congrats on the 31-0 victory over North Caddo. It's not quite enough to convince me to move the Eagles ahead of Calvary in the 2A poll but, hey, I'm open to the possibility over the coming weeks.

- Who saw Southwood winning in a rout against Airline? Yeah, I thought so. Congrats on the Cowboys finally getting a "W."

- Oh yeah, I had to mention Huntington's big victory over previously undefeated Captain Shreve. That was huge. Looks like the Raiders will be playoff-bound, barring some late-season collapse. And, to me, it's enough to move them into my Top 10 ballot for 5A.

- Down South note: Not that the Mannings need any more love in Louisiana, but Isidore Newman High retired the No. 18 jersey worn by brothers Cooper, Peyton and Eli last night. Newman honored the occasion by routing Southern Lab 38-6.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My weak 6 picks

Six weeks into the high school football season, it's still pretty difficult to pick winners.

I went 15 of 21 Friday night, a dismal 71 percent -- and 4 percent less that I said I needed to continue.

I missed three big ones -- Parkway's victory over Haughton, Huntington's win over Shreve and Southwood's breakthrough against Airline.

But North DeSoto's victory over North Vermilion and St. Mary's loss to Northwood-Lena hurt me, too. Although much congratulations should go to Jerry Byrd and his North DeSoto team for rebounding from their poor performance against Haynesville in Week 5.

Since I'm a man of my word, I will not be picking games for the rest of the regular season. But I vow to return for the playoffs, hopefully armed with better knowledge.

Big reward waits Haughton

So far, Haughton is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the district with a big game against Parkway tonight. As if a district championship wasn't enough incentive, head coach Rodney Guin has a deal with his players.

If Haughton can go unbeaten in district play, Guin promised them a steak dinner. He might want to check with Outback to see how many they can sit at one setting, if the Bucs get past Parkway.

Their schedule isn't a cakewalk through the final four weeks of the season with Fair Park, Woodlawn, Northwood and Bossier, but I bet the Bucs will start stocking up on A1 with a win over the Panthers.

Giant record afoot tonight

Believe it or not, Green Oaks running back Lemarien Parson is almost certainly going to do something no other Giant has done in 37 seasons of football at the MLK-based school: crack the 1,000-yard barrier in a season.

With 955 yards rushing in five games, Parson is poised to break the mark tonight against rival BTW in the Soul Bowl. Then again, nothing is a given against a Demise Loyd-coached defense.

I don't pretend to be some northwest Louisiana football historian, but with all the great athletes that have passed through that school, it seems unbelievable that 2007 would be the year of Green Oaks' first 1,000-yard rusher.

That's gotta be some sort of a record.

Oh wait. It is.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My week 6 picks

Here I go again. If I don't get 75 percent right, I'm retiring until the playoffs.

Fair Park over Northwood
St. Frederick over Grambling
Byrd over Natchitoches Central
Airline over Southwood
Captain Shreve over Huntington
Ouachita over Ruston
Benton over Bossier
Haughton over Parkway
Minden over Woodlawn
BTW over Green Oaks
Springhill over Caldwell Parish
North Vermilion over North DeSoto
Mansfield over Winnfield
Calvary over Loyola
Evangel over North Caddo
Homer over Lakeside
Menard over Many
Red River over Lakeview
Cedar Creek over Arcadia
Plain Dealing over Sarepta
St. Mary's over Northwood-Lena

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Looking ahead to Thursday

We've got a handful of games scheduled for Thursday.

The Northwood-Fair Park game looks like the most interesting one of the bunch. Byrd should be a heavy favorite over Natchitoches Central and Grambling has some rebuilding to do after losing to UCP last week.

Fair Park and Northwood appear to be fairly evenly matched. It's been a rather quiet season for Fair Park's Morris Claiborne. Maybe that will change in district.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Breaking Down the Ballot, Week 5

Here's the second edition of "Breaking Down the Ballot," where I attempt to give a little insight into the order of the rankings I submit early Saturday morning to the LSWA.

Again, this is no exact science. And, unlike Division I college football, ultimately these rankings don't mean a thing because the teams actually get to prove who's the best on the field.

Class 5A 1. Acadiana 2. West Monroe 3. Destrehan 4. St. Thomas More 5. Sulphur 6. Catholic-BR 7. Barbe 8. Hahnville 9 . Dutchtown 10. Captain Shreve.
Comments: Captain Shreve moved up a spot to No. 9 in the official rankings, no thanks to me. The Gators may well be good - they're certainly better than most folks could have imagined. But that win over Ruston sure seems hollow now that the Bearcats have lost three straight and appeared destined for a losing season. In fact, I suspect Byrd might be the best 5A team in the area. Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Class 4A 1. Bastrop 2. Shaw 3. Teurlings 4. Franklinton 5. Eunice 6. Northside 7. Neville 8. Breaux Bridge 9. Vandebilt Catholic 10. Haughton.
Comments: Haughton owns a pair of impressive victories in consecutive weeks, one over Benton and another over defending district champ Minden. That's good enough to get them in the poll, at least for me. Apparently, not many other voters agreed with me. ... Meanwhile, Benton stayed in this week's Top 10 ahead of Haughton despite losing - at home - to Haughton last week. I'm doing my part to honor the Bucs. We'll see if they can crack the poll next week.

Class 3A 1. Notre Dame 2. Parkview Baptist 3. Redemptorist 4. Lutcher 5. Westlake 6. Rayville 7. Jennings 8. Independence 9. Marksville 10. Bunkie.
Comments: Not much to say here, though I could make a good case for the inclusion of BTW if not for that puzzling loss to Red River earlier this season.

Class 2A 1. Calvary 2. Evangel 3. John Curtis 4. St. James 5. Donaldsonville 6. Springfield 7. St. John Plaquemine 8. Oakdale 9. Westminster 10. Homer.
Comments: Though I explain this more thoroughly in today's Caddo midseason report , I truly believe the Cavs could be the best team in 2A. As of today, at least, they are to me. I also think Homer and Springhill belong in the Top 10 but given the gap between them and our local private school powers, one is enough in the rankings.

Class 1A 1. Kentwood 2. Cedar Creek 3. Oberlin 4. Oak Grove 5. Hamilton Christian 6. South Plaquemines 7. Desire Street 8. Ouachita Christian 9. St. Edmund 10. Acadiana Prep.
Comments: Not much to say here but Cedar Creek could easily run the table in the regular season. Ouachita Christian might provide a test on Oct. 26, but the Cougars seemed poised to go 10-0. If that happens, I'm prepared to make them No. 1 in the final ballot of the year. ... And, really, what's going on with Desire Street? Has anyone figured out why they canceled their scheduled game against Calvary next weekend?