BATON ROUGE, La. -- The dream prospect matchups of the non-district schedules are over, and now Louisiana's top teams and top prospects are coming down the home stretch of their regular seasons.
That doesn't necessarily make for compelling blue chip vs. blue chip matchups, but what you have are a lot of top prospects playing big games for their teams this weekend. With LSU off, here are games LSU fans might want to check out around the state this weekend:
New Orleans/St. Augustine (6-2) at Metairie/East Jefferson (6-1): When you think of high school football, you think of "Friday Night Lights." There haven't been many Friday nights this year for St. Augustine and RB Leonard Fournette in urban New Orleans, where a scarcity of stadiums has had the Purple Knights playing many Thursday and Saturday game. This week, the Friday lights will shine on Fournette, one of the top players in the 2014 class, when St. Augustine heads to suburban Metairie for a huge District 10-4A game.
New Orleans/Karr (7-0) vs. New Orleans/McDonogh 35 (4-4), Thursday: There isn't a more prospect-laden team in Louisiana than Karr, the New Orleans Westbank power ranked No. 2 in Class 4A. The Cougars feature Miami commit Standish Dobard at tight end and Texas A&M commit Noel Ellis at cornerback. It gets even better in 2014 with WR Speedy Noil and DT Gerald Willis. If the Cougars win this one, they'll set up a showdown with undefeated Westbank rival O.P. Walker for the district title next week.
New Orleans/Jesuit (7-0) vs. Metairie/Rummel (7-0), Saturday: The two unbeaten Catholic school powers will play for the District 9-5A championship in a game that lacks the big-name LSU recruits, but it does feature two of the state's top quarterbacks in Rummel's Damian Williams (who lists Kansas State among his offers) and Jesuit's Tanner Lee (Tulane commit).
Amite/Amite (1-5) at Loranger/Loranger (7-0): This game is a passing of the torch of sorts in football-crazy Tangipahoa Parish. Amite is the traditional power with four state champions under its belt and an appearance in last year's Class 3A championship game (a 9-8 loss to LaPlace/St. Charles Catholic). Nearby Loranger, on the other hand, is a Johnny-come-lately in terms of major football success. But with LSU commit Jeryl Brazil leading the way, Loranger is dominating District 8-3A and is turning into the local "football school" this season.
Walker/Waker (2-6) at Denham Springs/Denham Springs (4-4): A year ago, DSHS's Kaleb Blanchard and Walker's Carlton Perkins gave Livingston Parish in the Baton Rouge suburbs two of the state's best running backs. Blanchard, an Arkansas commit, has been solid, although his team has been underwhelming. After leading the state in rushing much of last year, Perkins has struggled this year with injuries and a bad team. Denham Springs, which also features LSU DL commit Tevin Lawson, needs this win for its postseason aspirations.
Iowa/Iowa (7-1) at Westlake/Westlake (5-2): Westlake 2014 TE Jacory Washington, an ESPN Watch List member, has a huge district game against a Parish rival. Both teams will fall behind traditional Class 3A power Crowley/Notre Dame in District 4-3A, but in Louisiana's power-ratings-based playoff seeding system, this will have huge implications for Washington and the Rams.
Ruston/Cedar Creek (6-2) at Monroe/Ouachita Christian (8-0): LSU OL commit K.J. Malone and his Cedar Creek teammates head to Monroe to take on the top-ranked team in Class 1A with the District 2-1A title on the line.
Monroe/Neville (8-0) at Winnsboro/Franklin Parish (7-1): With 2013 LSU commit John Diarse and 2014 star Laurence "Hootie" Jones leading the way, Neville has shot to No. 1 in Class 4A, one spot ahead of Karr. But the Tigers have to travel to upstart Franklin Parish, which has reeled off seven straight wins since losing a close game in its opener against Ouachita Christian.
Thibodaux/E.D. White (6-2) at Port Allen/Port Allen (5-2): Texas A&M commit Darian Claiborne is a linebacker prospect, but as a dual threat QB, he's hoping to lead Port Allen into better playoff position in District 5-3A.