Parish football teams all set for week one matchups

Kyle Riviere
Mason Zeringue and Ascension Catholic will host Mentorship Academy in their season opener on Saturday night. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The scrimmages are all done. So are the jamborees.

The preparations have been made. Now, it’s time to get down the business.

After almost a 10-month hiatus, the wait is finally over. It’s time for some high-school football, and this week, it counts.

Ascension’s high-school teams will officially begin their seasons this week as they get set for their week-one matchups.

Ascension Catholic had a terrific turnaround year in 2016, as they improved from 4-6 to 6-4 and returned to the postseason for the first time in two years.

The Bulldogs won a first-round home playoff game, before losing to eventual state champion Southern Lab in the quarterfinals.

They’ll begin their 2017 season with a home Saturday night matchup against Mentorship Academy.

Mentorship is a team that struggled mightily last year. They went just 1-9, with the one victory coming in the way of a forfeit against Belaire.

Mentorship is moving up to Class 3A this season.

Ascension Christian is coming into 2017 with a lot of confidence and momentum after experiencing their most successful season in school history last year.

The Lions set a new record for most wins in a season with eight, but they did lose many of their top stars from that team—including quarterback Peyton Bahlinger, who accounted for 3,132 total yards and 43 touchdowns in 2016.

A young but hungry Ascension Christian squad will get their first game action of the season on Friday night when they host Springfield.

Springfield is a team from Class 2A, but they are coming off of a very tough year. In 2016, they finished just 1-9.

Donaldsonville has their sights set on a special season as they head into the year with most of their starters back, following a return to the playoffs for the first time in since 2015.

The Tigers will be transitioning from District 6-3A to District 10-3A. This will allow them to play teams closer to them in proximity, but the challenges of their old district will remain.

Their new league opponents will be powers that include St. James, De La Salle and St. Charles.

District play will begin on Oct. 6, but for now, they’ll open the regular season with their annual clash against rival Assumption at home on Friday night.

In the past five years, the Tigers lead the series, 3-2. Those three victories have come by a total of 7 points.

Last season, Donaldsonville narrowly edged out the Mustangs of Class 4A, 30-27. Assumption went 6-4 last year and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Dutchtown will officially begin their first season under a head coach not named Benny Saia on Friday night.

Saia was the program’s first head coach and led the Griffins for 15 years, before deciding to step down this past spring.

In his place, two-time state champion Guy Mistretta steps in, preparing to turn things around for Dutchtown after a 3-7 campaign in 2016 that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

The Griffins will take their first step in their journey toward resurgence this Friday night as they visit Walker.

The Wildcats had a resurgent season of their own last season as they went from 5-5 to 7-3, with their three losses coming by a total of 15 points.

East Ascension lost some heavy hitters like Baylor signee Justin Harris and Oklahoma signee Adrian Ealy from last year’s squad, but they will return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.

Head coach Darnell Lee would like to see them get off to a better start this season, after starting 2016 in an 0-6 hole. They went on to win their final three regular season games and upset sixth-seeded Ruston in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, like last season, they’ll face another brutal non-district schedule.

They have a tough test right out of the gates as they open the season this Friday night on the road against two-time defending Class 3A state champion Lutcher. The Bulldogs have moved up to 4A this season.

One area of relief for East Ascension will be Lutcher being without starting quarterback Jontre Kirklin (LSU signee) and heralded wideout A’Dontre Davis (TCU signee).

St. Amant had the best season of anyone in the parish last year as they went 9-1, finished as runner-up in District 5-5A and reached the state quarterfinals.

They will have a lot to replace in 2017—including two-year starting quarterback Hayden Mallory and do-it-all star Briggs Bourgeois.

Still, head coach David Oliver is happy with the talent and experience they bring back—especially on the defensive front seven.

The Gators will open the season with a home matchup on Friday night against Lake Area New Tech, a team that finished just 4-6 in 2016.