After impressive victories against their first two Class 4A playoff opponents, the Westgate Tigers travel to Monroe on Friday with the goal of upsetting another higher-ranked seed.
The 10th-seeded Tigers (9-3), fresh off a 27-6 win at seventh-seeded Assumption, have the second-seeded Neville Tigers (9-2) up next.
“It’s another road trip,” said Westgate head coach Ryan Antoine, whose team will travel for the eighth time this season. “We’ve tried to take road trips like going to Denham Springs, to Houma to play Vandebilt Catholic, and to Baton Rouge to play Tara.
“We haven’t went up north recently although we played at Captain Shreve and Woodlawn in Shreveport a couple of times. We haven’t been in the quarterfinals in a while, so we’ll have to be prepared for a tough environment where it will be tough to win as an underdog.”
Neville reached the quarterfinals for the 11th straight year with a 33-14 win at DeRidder last week.
The two teams have a common opponent in St. Thomas More. Westgate beat STM 24-21 in district play. Earlier in the season, Neville lost to the Cougars 35-6.
Neville’s quarterback is Andrew Brister, son of former NFL quarterback Bubby Brister.
The Tigers have two solid tailbacks in Max Hunter (15 carries, 128 yards vs. DeRidder) and A.J. Allen, who had a 28-yard touchdown run last week.
Sophomore offensive tackle Will Campbell already holds a scholarship offer from LSU, while receiver Jordan Mansfield was a starter last year for Bastrop, which knocked Westgate out in the second round.
“They’re Neville. They’re sound, they’re good,” Antoine said. “They’re huge and know how to win. Coach (Mickey) McCarty is one of the top coaches in the state. They’re the type of team that will take advantage of any mishaps.
“They bring size to the table which is something we have struggled with. They have a size advantage over our guys, but I love the way our defense is playing. It’s good that we’ve made it this far, but we don’t want to hang our hats on reaching the quarterfinals. To go to the Dome, you have to go through a team like Neville, to beat that giant.”
Antoine praised sophomore defensive back Damarion Davis for his efforts last week.
“He had a big interception on the 1-yard line when it was still a 13-6 ballgame,” the WHS coach said. “He’s a 5-foot-5 corner. When you’re that size, people are definitely going to test you, and that’s a true testament to how he’s playing.”