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|Parish teams face last test to get to the dome|
As December's chill settles on the Pelican state, three Ouachita Parish teams are still forging ahead, with just one stop to go before the "Big Dance" in New Orleans.
The West Monroe Rebels will host the Mandeville Skippers at home Friday night, while the OCS Eagles and the Tigers of Neville High take to the road in their quests for state championships.
The West Monroe Rebels will have the only parish home game when they entertain the Skippers from Mandeville. Mandeville dispensed of West Monroe's district rival Ruston, 26-0, last week. Meanwhile, the Rebels traveled to Lake Charles to trump the Barbe Buccaneers, 21-12.
Mandeville runs the spread offense with a four-headed attack led by seniors and veteran starters, including quarterback Matt Bergeron (6'0", 166 lbs.), Kansas State commitment senior running back Charles Jones (5'11", 186 lbs.) and running back Daniel DeMelo (5-10, 173).
Bergeron has completed 193 of 337 passes for 2,776 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Unlike most spreads, Mandeville finds a way to run the ball with their star Jones. Jones has 263 carries for 1,623 yards with 18 touchdowns.
West Monroe didn't escape Barbe without injury. Jay Hogan and Jacob Tyson were injured in the game and will be game time decisions as to whether or not they will play against Mandeville.
Shows sees three areas that West Monroe must be successful with in order to move on to their fourth straight trip to the Superdome.
"We must execute better offensively," Shows said. "We cannot have any turnovers on offense and our defense cannot give up the big play."
Mandeville is coached by Guy Lecompte who has compiled a 49-21 record in the six seasons with the school. After last season's 6-5 campaign, Lecompte wanted to shore up his defense.
With that task in mind, Mandeville landed former Northlake Christian head coach Rowland Skinner as their defensive coordinator. Skinner has implemented a 3-3 stack defense that Mandeville refers to as "the Rogues."
The definition of "rogues" is thieves without being forgiven. That mentality is exactly the way the Skippers' defense approaches each ballgame. The defense is averaging 17.5 points allowed throughout their 13 games while West Monroe is allowing just 14 points a game.
Skinner's "Rogue Defensive Scheme" features two senior linebackers in Sam McGivern (6'0", 220 lbs.) and Brenden Dugas (5-8, 160 lbs.) and two junior linebackers in Preston Winget (6-2, 208 lbs.) and Vince Lombardo (6-1, 221 lbs.).
Senior safety Timmy Broussard (6'0", 192 lbs.) leads the talented secondary which includes Jerry Peterson (6'0", 202 lbs.), Jack Ingalls (5'9", 163 lbs.), Matt Nungesser (6'1", 177 lbs.), and Todd Primo (5'9", 148 lbs.).
Neville at Breaux Bridge
Neville and Breaux Bridge are no strangers when it comes to meeting in
In the past ten years, three times these two Tigers teams have clawed their way towards each other.
Friday night, the number one ranked Neville Tigers will travel down to Cajun country, where they will take on the number 4 seeded Breaux Bridge (12-1) in a "Battle of the Tigers."
On the line: advancement to the Class 4A championship.
The previous matchups between the Tigers of Neville and the Tigers of Breaux Bridge have produced some of the most storied games in recent years.
The first came in 2003, when Neville hosted Breaux Bridge in the opening round of the playoffs. In that game, Neville sent their southern kinfolk home for early basketball practice to the tune of a 32-21 drumming.
The memorable Hurricane Season of 2005 produced the second matchup.
In that game, the stakes were much higher. Breaux Bridge traveled again to to Bill Ruple Stadium, but this time in the semifinals.
Neville would not repeat their previous performance. The southern Tigers shutdown Neville's offense and delivered their own thumping, with a final score 16-0, on their way to state championship game in Shreveport.
Then came 2008.
Only a single point separated these two Tiger squads in a Regional showdown at Neville. Unfortunately, it was the Neville Tigers who came up short on that end of the scoreboard.
But out of adversity comes triumph, and the 2009 Neville Tigers fell back on that game as inspiration on their way to the Class 4A State Championship.
The stage is set for the next chapter in the saga of the Battle of the Tigers!
OCS at Mangham
When the Class 1A brackets were released on November 6th, everyone circled a potential showdown between the two undefeated ball clubs from Northeast Louisiana - Ouachita Christian Eagles and Mangham Dragons.
Both teams earned their way to the showdown of un-beatens, utilizing explosive offense and stingy defense. OCS enters the contest averaging almost 50 points scored a game while limiting their opponents to a mire 10 points a game.
Mangham is just as effective with the Dragons averaging 42 points on offense a game while only surrendering just under 15 points per contest.
Something has to give when these two titans meet with a trip to New Orleans on the line.