Tonight’s anticipated contest between District 5-4A rivals St. Thomas More and Westgate High School lost some of its luster last week when STM’s highly-recruited quarterback Walker Howard went down with a broken leg and will be out of action for a number of weeks.
But don’t tell WHS coach Ryan Antoine that his Tigers have an advantage in the contest.
“I don’t think that give us an advantage,” Antoine said. “Those guys are always well-coached and have a good quarterback ready to go.
“That’s why they call them Quarterback High. They always have a great one in the wings. That’s why we need to be well-prepared Friday because they are going to be motivated.”
It’s still the game of the week in many circles tonight as Westgate (4-1) plays host to the Cougars (2-3) in the district opener for both teams.
Westgate, ranked third in the Class 4A poll by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, enters the contest on a four-game win streak after losing its season opener to Lafayette Christian Academy. The Cougars, No. 7 in 4A, enter the game off of a loss to Ruston in which Walker suffered a broken leg. Prior to that, STM was on a two-game win streak after opening the season with a pair of losses to Madison Prep, ranked second in Class 3A, and Alexandria, ranked fifth in 5A. Both of those teams remain unbeaten at 5-0.
Antoine is not concerned that for the third straight week, the Tigers have to get up for a quality opponent after beating rival St. Martinville and then going to Lake Charles to take on Lake Charles College Prep.
“We’’re just going to play,” Antoine said. “We’re not going to make it too high or too low, we’re just going to play football on Friday night.”
Heading into the second half of the season, the Westgate coach likes where his team is at as the Tigers head into the heart of district play.
“We don’t want to be peaking too early but we want to get better each week,” Antoine.said. “We’re working out, staying healthy, The staff is taking care of the players that are banged up a little so they can be ready to go Friday night..”
The WHS coach also said that the team is a little upset that they aren’t 5-0 right now.
“We’re teed off about it, actually,” Antoine said. “A couple of plays here and there against LCA (Lafayette Christian) is all that’s separating us from being undefeated.”
Antoine also singled out several players who are having good seasons up to this point. including Jordan Doucet, Edwin Pierre, Steven Antoine, Henry Binion, Zyion Madison, Tayshaun Fusilier and De’Myrion Johnson,
Finally, the game is big enough but tonight’s contest will be televised on YurView across the state.
Antoine said he feels his team is ready for the bright lights.
“It’s what you want as a player,” he said. “You’re playing a top opponent, at home, on TV and all the bells and whistles that go along with it but at the end of the day you can’t worry about all that stuff. Just go play football, go have fun and worry about the rest of the stuff later.”