The 2012 District 7-5A football championship may not actually be decided Friday when South Lafourche visits New Iberia Senior High at Lloyd G. Porter Memorial Stadium, but the winner will have a huge leg up on claiming the league crown with only three weeks remaining in the regular season following this week’s game.
NISH (5-1, 3-0) and South Lafourche (5-0, 2-0) are the only two teams without a loss in the district three weeks into the league slate and the only two with above-.500 overall records. For the loser of Friday’s game to come back to win the 7-5A championship, it would have to win out and hope for a couple of losses by the winner.
New Iberia, ranked eighth in Class 5A, has a bye in district the following week, facing Pineville on Thursday, Oct. 18, before finishing up with games at Terrebonne (3-3, 2-1) and Central Lafourche (2-3, 1-1). The Tarpons finish the regular season with three district games, at Central Lafourche, at home against H.L. Bourgeois (2-4, 0-3) and at Thibodaux (2-3, 1-1).
“We’ve got a big one this week,” said NISH coach Rick Hutson. “They’re very good.”
The teams are similar in that they are about 60-40 pass-to-run ratio, Hutson said. South Lafourche QB Colby Callais, who sat out last week’s game with an injury and staph infection, has passed for 438 yards and rushed for 301 and has accounted for 13 touchdowns on the season. Dominic Fillinich has 202 passing yards in a backup role. Running back Jake Williams has 605 yards and six TDs on 84 attempts and running back Treavon Evans leads the Tarpons with 16 catches for 297 yards and three TDs.
“Their quarterback’s good,” said Hutson, who expects Callais to return this week. “They’re very big up front. They have very good receivers and skill players.”
New Iberia counters with senior QB Jason Jones, who has completed 85 of 132 pass attempts for 1,398 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior receiver Andrew Ricks has 29 catches for 548 yards and three TDs.
Two other receivers are around 200 yards — Nick Edwards with 13 catches for 206 yards and a TD and Scotty Nicholas with eight catches for 197 yards and a touchdown — and three others are over 100 receiving yards — fullback Josh Richie (8-147, 3 TDs), Antonio Jack (11-135, 1 TD) and Bryson Bourque (10-109, 1 TD). Running back Tyler Archon leads the Jackets with 274 yards and four TDs on 55 carries.
The teams also have had similar success on offense and defense.
Through the first six weeks (South Lafourche’s opener with Destrehan was canceled because of Hurricane Isaac), the Yellow Jackets have outscored opponents 257-101, a 26-point winning margin on average (42.8-16.8). The Tarpons have outscored opponents 208-97, averaging plus-22 (41.6-19.4) a game.
In district, both teams have stepped it up defensively, with SLHS allowing only 7 points per game while scoring 30.5 through two outings. NISH is allowing 8.7 points a game to district opponents and scoring 44 a game in league play.
“They’re very similar to us,” said Hutson.
The Tarpons also have a very enthusiastic fan base. South Lafourche filled the visitors’ stands when it came to Lloyd G. Porter Stadium in 2011 to face Westgate. The Tarpons had only two district losses in 2011 — 28-18 to Westgate and 36-12 to NISH in back-to-back weeks.
“They tell us they’re going to bring buses of people,” said Hutson.
New Iberia’s game against South Lafourche tops a list of contests featuring Teche Area teams in Week 7 of the prep football season. Also on tap in District 7-5A, Westgate (0-6 overall, 0-3 district) travels to Matthews to face Central Lafourche.
In District 5-4A, St. Martinville (4-2, 0-1) looks to bounce back from its league-opening loss to sixth-ranked Breaux Bridge with a game at Cecilia (1-5, 0-1). District 9-3A games on tap featuring area squads see Franklin (3-3, 0-2) playing host to Kaplan and Erath (4-2, 2-0) playing host to North Vermilion.
District 6-2A games this week include West St. Mary (0-6, 0-1) playing host to Class 5A Comeaux (1-4) in a non-district game on Thursday, with fifth-ranked Loreauville (6-0, 1-0) traveling to Delcambre (2-4, 1-0) and No. 7 Catholic High (3-3) opening its league slate at Jeanerette (0-6, 0-1) on Friday.
District 8-A’s Hanson (2-4) plays 9-3A’s Berwick (0-5) in a non-district game Thursday in Berwick.