Battle of Covington, Karr-McDonogh 35 matchup headline Week 6 in metro New Orleans prep football

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Johntae McDowell
St. Paul’s QB Johntae McDowell has missed time this season due to injury (Photo: Bill Arthurs).

A battle for city bragging rights and for a likely district title, a matchup of elite 4A schools accustomed to going deep into the playoffs and a pair of teams who traded quarterbacks are the featured matchups in the Greater New Orleans area for week six.

Here are my top 10 matchups involving local teams this weekend:

1) Covington at St. Paul’s—Friday night 7 p.m.

The battle of Covington carries added significance, perhaps the most significance in years with the District 6-5A championship perhaps on the line.

The Wolves (3-2, 2-0) won at Covington 31-14 a year ago and won 33-9 at home in 2015. The last win for the Lions in the series was in 2013 when Covington won 38-7 en route to a Class 5A semifinal appearance.

The big question for St. Paul’s is whether Johntae McDowell will return at quarterback after he missed last week’s 27-7 victory at Hammond. Junior Jack Mashburn took over for McDowell, moving from his wide receiver spot. Mashburn has done a good job, going 31-of-46 for 337 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He is a very valuable receiver with 16 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. Senior Grant Grosch leads with 17 catches for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Nick Stanton has 13 catches for 147 yards and a score.

McDowell is 57-of-101 for 690 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions. McDowell has also rushed 26 times for 114 yards and a score. Senior Corey Williamson is the top rusher with 69 carries for 359 yards and four touchdowns and has 11 catches for 126 yards.

The Lions (5-0, 2-0) are led by senior quarterback Joshua Alfaro and senior running back Devin Brumfield. Alfaro has completed 57-of-80 passes for 1,123 yards and 13 touchdowns and just one interception while rushing 49 times for 448 yards and three scores. Brumfield has rushed 95 times for 862 yards and nine touchdowns. KeJohn Batiste and Elgin Bell are the top receivers. Batiste has 24 receptions for 469 yards and six touchdowns while Bell has 20 catches for 470 yards and five scores.

St. Paul’s has dominated the district and the Lions of late, losing just once to the Lions in the last 15 years.

2) Karr vs. McDonogh 35—Thursday at 7 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium

This could easily be No. 1. Both teams have a legitimate shot to reach the Class 4A state championship game this season. The Cougars (4-1) have gotten solid quarterback play from Skylar Perry, who has completed 53-of-97 passes for 712 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Perry has rushed for a score as well.

Ronnie Jackson has rushed 75 times for 524 yards and 10 touchdowns. Khalfani Simmons has 15 catches for 149 yards while Anthony Spurlock and Michael Corner each have three touchdown receptions. The Roneagles (4-are led by junior quarterback LiJohn Howard, a pure passer and excellent runner. Lawrence Keys is a superb receiver while Jared Miles is solid as well. Eddie Tillman, III is a fine running back. Safety Joe Foucha is perhaps the best in the area, if not the state.

Karr has dominated the series of late. A year ago, Karr blasted McDonogh 35 56-12 in the regular season before rallying to a 26-14 win over the Roneagles in the Class 4A semifinals. Karr has won the last nine meetings. The last McDonogh 35 win in the series was 21-6 win in 2009.

3) Rummel vs. Holy Cross—7 p.m. Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium

Both teams are off to good starts. The Raiders are 4-0 and 1-0 in District 9-5A. Junior quarterback Chandler Fields has been brilliant for Rummel, completing 66-of-103 passes (64%) for 943 yards and 15 touchdowns with no interceptions. Florida commit Ja’Marr Chase has 18 catches for 341 yards and five touchdowns and he has returned a kickoff for a score. Senior Evan Francioni has 15 catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Keirell Jackson is the top runner with 48 carries for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Rummel has lost senior Dwan Trufant to a knee injury.

The Tigers are coming off a huge 31-17 win over Jesuit. The defensive front is quite good for Holy Cross. Mikey Ricks has been a star while running back Landen Bates is arguably the best in the Catholic League, rushing 78 times for 648 yards and seven touchdowns. Kym Wimberly and Tyler Kirkwood are top receivers. Senior quarterback Jaiden Moran has completed 18-of-41 for 201 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

The subplot is the fact that Fields left Holy Cross for Rummel and Moran, who originally left Holy Cross for Rummel, returned to Holy Cross after Fields moved to Rummel. Emotions will run high but with class programs and coaches, it should be all about the game.

4) Houma Christian at West St. John—Friday at 7 p.m.

This is the consummate battle between the emerging program and the traditional power. Houma Christian (5-0) is off to its best start ever. The Warriors are 5-0. Quarterback Damien Pennison has been very good. In last week’s 24-14 win over East Iberville, Pennison rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown and passed for a score.

The Warriors are the only unbeaten team in bayou country. Je’Corie Ward is an excellent receiver and Zach Trujillo is a fine running back. Sophomore D’Andre Gaudia has completed 33-of-62 passes for 776 yards and 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for the Rams. Senior Kylan Duhe is the top runner with 54 rushes for 423 yards and two touchdowns while junior Niko Davis has carried 46 times for 288 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Trenton Grow is the leading receiver with eight catches for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

It is the District 8-1A opener for both teams. The Rams (3-2) have lost close games to 4A power Plaquemine and 3A power St. James.

5) St. James at Donaldsonville—Friday at 7 p.m.

It is the 10-3A opener for both teams. St. James (4-1) suffered its first loss of the season last Friday night, falling to unbeaten St. Amant 41-27. The Tigers (5-0) have been very impressive, averaging 40.8 points per game.

Senior quarterback Jaylin Williams leads the offense, completing 19-of-28 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He has rushed for 107 yards and two scores. Senior Jemon Pleasant has 56 carries for 366 yards and six touchdowns while freshman Rae’land Johnson has 40 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Ladarius Jackson is the top receiver with 15 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Savon Landry has three interceptions for the Tigers. Kailin Johnson and Sean Preston are top receivers for St. James. Quarterback Demarcus Williams was hurt and did not play in the loss to St. Amant and wide receiver Shamar Smith took over at quarterback.

6) Newman at Country Day—4 p.m. Friday live at CrescentCitySports.com

This is a game Newman (5-0) has been waiting for. A year ago, the Cajuns shocked Newman 51-21 on a Saturday afternoon at Wenzel Field as Country Day pulled off several successful kicking game coups, including a pair of successful onside kicks. This one is again at Wenzel Field.

The Greenies have scored 34 or more points in their five wins. Junior Martin Butcher has completed 76 percent of his passes, playing brilliantly. He has stars at wide receiver in junior Murray Calhoun, along with seniors Storey Charbonnet and Dylon Hill. James Poche’ has been terrific at running back, providing balance for the Greenies.

Country Day (3-2) has lost to powers Amite and St. Charles Catholic. Sophomore Justin Ibieta and senior Clinton Nicholas have become an outstanding passing connection while junior Christian Becnel is a fine receiver as well. Junior Buckner Heebe is a top running back. Senior Price Petagna is a star on offense, defense and in the kicking game.

As always, Newman and Nelson Stewart must be prepared for trick plays from Country Day and Joe Chango.

7) Warren Easton at Belle Chasse—Friday at 7 p.m.

While the records are the same (4-1), the Eagles are a prohibitive favorite while the improving Cardinals will try to prove they belong as they square off in the District 9-4A opener for both teams. Warren Easton is coming off of a very tough loss to John Curtis.

Junior Lance Legendre continues to shine at quarterback, one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the state. Seniors Yo’Heinz Tyler and Sticks Jones are excellent receivers and senior Larry Barabino and sophomore Shaddie Clayton are solid running backs.

The Cardinals have won four straight games. Quarterback Jordan Mariana has completed 10-of-22 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions and he has rushed 70 times for 280 yards and seven touchdowns. Holden DeJean has rushed 60 times for 247 yards and a touchdown and Shawn Thompson has carried 30 times for 211 yards and three scores. Matt Barthelemy is the top receiver.

8) Franklinton at Salmen—Thursday at 7 p.m.

While the Demons are just 2-3 and have lost two straight games, they are always a formidable force in District 8-4A. Their losses have come at the hands of Tylertown, MS, Covington and St. Thomas More, three very good teams.

Senior quarterback Tahj Magee is a force for Franklinton. Magee has completed 59-of-113 passes for 785 yards and nine touchdowns with eight interceptions. Magee has rushed 74 times for 465 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Trequan Charles has 99 carries for 444 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Duke Bell is the top receiver with 20 catches for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Lamount Harris has 4.5 sacks.

Salmen has won three straight after a big 23-21 win over Loranger. Eddie Smith has come up big as a kicker and is a good defender for the Spartans while L.J. Leonard is impressive. The winner of this one will emerge as the primary challenger to unbeaten Lakeshore in district play.

9) East St. John at Destrehan—Friday at 7 p.m.

The battle of the Wildcats will go a long way toward determining a top-level team in District 7-5A.

Hahnville has already beaten Destrehan (3-2, 1-1) but East St. John (3-2, 2-0) is unbeaten in district play, coming off of wins over Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois. Dasmain Crosby has come up big as a runner and passer at quarterback for East St. John. Cameron Grant has proven to be an outstanding receiver for Crosby. Javon Antonio is another top receiver. D’Andrea Pittman and Jarius Monroe each returned fumbles for touchdowns in the win over H.L. Bourgeois.

Destrehan rebounded from its loss to Hahnville with a 24-0 victory over Thibodaux. Junior quarterback J.R. Blood is important to the offense while junior John Emery is the main cog for the ‘Cats at running back. Quinton Torbor is a fine receiver. Macon Clark had a 78-yard interception return for a score against Thibodaux.

Destrehan has won the last five meetings with the last East St. John coming in 2012 in a 35-34 thriller.

10) Riverside at South Plaquemines—Friday at 7 p.m.

Riverside is the best 1-3 team in Louisiana. The Rebels have lost to 5A power Barbe, Division I power Rummel and to Division II power De La Salle. Needless to say, the Rebels are better than their record. Jordan Loving continues to excel throwing the football to Kash Foley, Jeremiah Bigman and Garland Robertson and Jeremy Gibson is an outstanding running back.

South Plaquemines is coming off of a 26-14 loss to Bogalusa. Quarterback Isaac Williams leads the Hurricanes (3-2) while Dontavious Johnson is a quick running back. Elijah Bourgeois and Truce Williams are top receivers.

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