The high school football regular season ended last Friday, and only one Vernon Parish team will move into the state playoffs. Leesville clinched the district 3-4A title and a home playoff game with a 53-32 road win at Rayne. Avoyelles ended Pickering’s winless season 54-6, while Rosepine took a pounding from Oakdale in a 47-6 loss.
Leesville turned to its dynamic duo of Xavier Ford and Isaiah Farley to overpower Rayne on the road 53-32 last Friday. Ford went over 300 yards rushing for the second week in a row, racking up 316 yards to go with five TDs. Ford has rushed for over 600 yards and 11 TDs in the past two games. Farley caught eight of the nine passes thrown his way Friday night for 129 yards and two scores. He also had an interception in a stint as a defensive back. Quarterback Corbitt Robbins had 134 yards passing and 67 yards rushing as he continued his recent steady play.
Leesville led 20-14 at halftime and scored three times in the third quarter to pull away. The teams traded a pair of scores in the fourth quarter. The Wampus Cats’ swarming defense had multiple tackles for loss and picked off a pass. Senior linebacker Matt Hazel had seven solo tackles and six assists, while strong safety Evan Combs had five solo tackles and five assists.
Leesville finishes the season 7-3 (5-0 district 3-4A) to earn their fifth district championship in the last eight years. They host the St. Martinville Tigers, 3-7 (2-2 district 5-3A) at Wampus Cat Stadium Friday night, November 10, at 7 p.m. in the first round of Division II non-select state playoffs.
Following two straight trips to the state quarterfinals, Rosepine finished off a year of turmoil with a 47-6 loss at Oakdale. This was a year of transition for the Eagles as Head Coach Brad Ducote stepped down, turning the job over to offensive coordinator Troy Gardner. Gardner resigned before the season started and Ducote was thrust back into the head coaching job. The Eagles struggled on offense all season and finished (3-7 1-3 district 4-2A). In the loss at Oakdale, Rosepine had no answer for QB Deekota Johnson, who ran for five TDs of 73-53-55-16-66 yards while tossing one scoring pass to C.J. Waller. Oakdale finishes the regular season 7-3 (2-2 district 4-2A) and will host East Beauregard in a first-round playoff game Friday night at 7 p.m.
Rosepine has not named a new head coach, and it is unclear as of press time if Ducote would return.
The Pickering Red Devils ended their season with a 54-6 loss on the road at Avoyelles. No details of the game were available. Pickering’s losing streak now extends beyond two seasons. They close the 2023 campaign 0-10 (0-4 district 4-2A). In his first year, Coach John Doughtery struggled to find players to put in uniform. They were undermanned in every game they played. Here’s hoping for better times in 2024.
LEESVILLE PLAYOFF PREVIEW
Leesville’s first round playoff opponent, the St. Martinville Tigers, play in District 5-3A. They are a AAA team playing up in class in Division II non select. The 3-7 record (2-2 in district) is not a true measure of this team’s speed and ability. They have played tough teams all year, losing to Cecilia, #2 in Division III select, St. Charles Catholic, # 1 in Division III select; Notre Dame of Crowley, #9 in Division III select; and Breaux Bridge (#19), Kaplan (#23) and Abbeville (#13) from Division II non select.
The Tigers scored 67 points in their regular season finale against Crowley last week as senior RB Steven Blanco had 19 carries for 355 yards and 6 TD’s. Senior QB Kaden Zenon had eight carries for 151 yards and one TD. Zenon also threw for a score. The Tigers average 32 points per game on offense and allow 36.8 points per game defensively.
Leesville has the highest strength of schedule of any winning team in Division II non-select schools. The Wampus Cats have eight of their ten opponents in the first round of the playoffs. Leesville All State RB Xavier Ford has over 600 yards rushing and 11-TDs in his last two games! He has over 4500 yards rushing in his two years as a starter. Leesville had a 2-3 start to the season but finished with five straight wins to earn the #7 ranking in Division II Non-Select schools. The Cats averaged 34.7 points per game on offense and allowed an average of 23.8 points per game defensively. During district play Leesville averaged 47.8 points per game while allowing only 20.8 points.
These two teams met in the 1985 state quarterfinals at Leesville with the Tigers taking a narrow 14-6 win. The teams met again at St. Martinville in 2018. Leesville rallied from 10 points down with under two minutes to play to steal a 53-49 win in a game they still talk about in St. Martinville and Leesville.
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