Louisiana 4A Playoff Predictions Part I

Laurence Jones

Top-seeded Neville (9-0) and five-star defensive back Laurence Jones are going for a third state championship in four years. The road to the Superdome goes through Monroe, where Neville hosts No. 32 St. Louis Catholic of Lake Charles on Friday...

NO. 32 ST. LOUIS CATHOLIC (5-5) AT NO. 1 NEVILLE (9-0) Head coach Mickey McCarty and the Neville Tigers have owned 4A in recent years, winning two of the past three state titles. It all starts with four-star LSU commit John Diarse, a senior quarterback who will make the switch to either safety or wide receiver (or both) in college. A four-year starter, Diarse was dynamite as a freshman wideout in Neville's 2009 win over Franklinton in the championship game. He has thrown for 908 yards this fall with 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Diarse (pictured below) has added 796 yards on the ground and is coming off a season-high 160-yard rushing performance (on eight carries) with three touchdowns vs. Franklin Parish in week nine. Neville was open last week. The Tigers also feature five-star Laurence Jones, the nation's second-ranked junior safety. Three Neville receivers have combined for more than 700 yards receiving.

St. Louis lost three of its last five but closed out the regular season with a 26-7 win over Beau Chene. The Saints have shown the ability to play sound football, taking a 24-20 decision over 5A East Saint John in week two. Senior QB John Paul Crawford was hot at the beginning of the year but struggled down the stretch. Crawford (900-plus yards passing, six touchdowns, ten interceptions) threw all six of his touchdown passes during the first half of the season. He's been intercepted six times over the past five weeks...Neville, 36-3

NO. 17 BREAUX BRIDGE (7-3) AT NO. 16 PLAQUEMINE (6-4) Hakeem Deggs and Plaquemine rebounded from an 0-3 start to reel off six consecutive wins before a loss to undefeated Lutcher in week ten. The Green Devils downed St. Michael 37-36 in a thrill-a-minute week eight district encounter.

In that contest, Plaquemine clawed its way back from a 16-point halftime deficit to force overtime on a last-minute 22-yard field goal by Alexandros Koulpasis. Deggs and QB Rickey Aro did most of the damage for Plaquemine, according to Hunter Paniagua (formerly with the Advocate, now with FOXSportsNEXT.com). Deggs and Aro combined for over 400 yards of total offense. Plaquemine junior defensive end Davon Godchaux is ranked 18th nationally at his position.

Breaux Bridge reached the semifinals last year, although the Tigers are a much different team in 2012 after losing three players to LSU and one to the local Ragin' Cajuns. QB Lane Landry, who shared the starting job in 2011, is among the Lafayette area's leading passers with 1,108 yards and 11 touchdowns (four interceptions). Demarkus Daughdrill, a top senior sleeper, ran for a score last week vs. Northside and also picked off a pass.

RB Derrick Williams, with 101 yards last week, has approximately 800 on the year. Landry was 10-of-15 vs. Northside (45-12 win) for 152 yards, according to Henri C. Bienvenu of TecheToday.com. Randall Menard, who split snaps at QB with Landry last year, is a dangerous weapon at wide receiver...Plaquemine, 34-33

NO. 24 ASSUMPTION (6-4) AT NO. 9 FRANKLIN PARISH (8-2) Assumption lost two of its last three, but the Mustangs almost upset Vandebilt Catholic in week eight before succumbing, 44-42. Assumption held a two-touchdown lead over Vandebilt Catholic until the Terriers ultimately prevailed in triple overtime. Franklin Parish's defense will have its hands full attempting to contain Dejuawn Oliver (145 rushing yards, 165 receiving yards and five total touchdowns vs. Vandebilt, according to Teddy Renois of bayoupreps.com).

Franklin Parish beat perennial 4A power Bastrop last week, 23-20. The Patriots were without RBs Deon White and Marcus Bingham in a week nine loss to Neville. FPHS advanced to the second round of the 4A bracket last year and that should happen again...Franklin Parish, 20-16

NO. 25 HUNTINGTON (6-4) AT NO. 8 VANDEBILT CATHOLIC (9-1) Huntington, which was 2-8 in 2011, was victorious in three of its last four. The Raiders will face an elite talent this Friday in Vandebilt athlete Elijah McGuire (2,000-plus yards rushing). Huntington was able to handle Green Oaks and four-star LSU commit Tre'Davious White in week four, winning 26-15. Can the Raiders duplicate that feat on Friday in Houma? Vandebilt Catholic has scored at least 41 points in four straight, including a 64-point outburst last week vs. Ellender...Vandebilt, 35-19

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