Five football games to get excited about in 2017

Kyle Riviere
Donaldsonville will play St. James in a crucial District 10-3A matchup on Oct. 6. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The excitement continues to build as the high-school football season draws near.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the offseason is looking at the upcoming schedules for the teams in the parish and circling key matchups that have the look of instant classics.

Here are five parish high-school football games this upcoming season that should be quite interesting:

Dutchtown at Central (Sept. 8)

In Guy Mistretta’s second game as head coach of Dutchtown, the Griffins will hit the road for a heated non-district clash with Central. After the August flood swept through their community, Central made their fans proud with a 6-4 regular season and a trip to the second round of the playoffs. In that run, they beat Dutchtown in a 13-10 thriller that came with controversy. Central running back Xavier Lewis appeared to be stripped of the football by Dutchtown’s Adam Sparks before crossing the end zone for the eventual game-winning touchdown, but the referee ruled it a score. The game came down to the final play—a 31-yard field goal attempt by freshman kicker Cohen Parent to tie the contest, but it went wide left. The Griffins will be looking to reverse the heartache this season.

East Ascension vs. Parkview Baptist (Sept. 8)

East Ascension played the toughest non-district schedule of anyone in the parish last year, and that trend will continue in 2017. In Darnell Lee’s second season as head coach, the Spartans will play their home opener in week two against perennial power Parkview Baptist. The Eagles are coming off of a 2016 season that saw them finish as state runners-up in Division II. East Ascension is hoping for a better start to this year than they had in 2016, when they fell into an 0-6 hole. They went on to win their final three regular season games and their first-round playoff game against No. 6 Ruston on the road.

St. Amant vs. Lutcher (Sept. 22)

Lutcher has only lost three games during their back-to-back Class 3A state title runs. Two of those losses have come against St. Amant. These two teams have played three straight instant classics. The Gators won those games by a combined score of 88-82. Last season’s clash turned out to be a back-and-forth shootout that St. Amant was able to come from behind and win late, 36-34. Things will be a little different this year. Lutcher has lost quarterback Jontre Kirklin (LSU signee) and star wideout Al’Dontre Davis (TCU signee). St. Amant also lost their quarterback in Hayden Mallory, along with most of their receiving corps and many defensive stalwarts. Fortunately for the Gators, this year’s clash will be in the friendly confines of The Pit.

Donaldsonville vs. St. James (Oct. 6)

With Donaldsonville High and St. James High located so close together, the two teams know a lot about each other. In fact, Tiger head coach Brian Richardson said that many of the players from each team are friends. Finally, in 2017, the two schools will be able to meet on the field in a crucial regular season game. In the offseason, Donaldsonville swapped districts, bolting District 6-3A to join District 10-3A. In the new league, they will now be rivals with St. James—something they’ve wanted all along. The two teams played each other in their jamboree game last year. After a tight first half, the Wildcats pulled away to win, 28-12. This time around, district superiority will be on the line at Floyd Boutte Stadium.

East Ascension at St. Amant (Nov. 3)

Any time archrivals East Ascension and St. Amant meet for their annual clash, it’s must-see. Throw out the records. Throw out the scores from previous games. The teams’ last three meetings have been blowouts. The Gators won, 57-34, in 2014 and 54-6 last season. East Ascension won, 31-10, in 2015. It doesn't matter. The teams will meet at The Pit in the final regular season game to earn bragging rights for the year. The Spartans certainly have the edge in motivation after the blowout they endured last season. It would also be Lee’s first ever win against the Gators.