Co-Host of WWL's "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia," Weekdays 4-8PM
Big Chief's Prep Preview: It's crunch time
by Deke Bellavia,posted Oct 19 2012 8:21AM
Week 8 of the prep football season is here, and for some teams it is time to shape up or they will be out of the playoffs. Remember the top 32 teams of each class make the playoffs. Seeds 1-16 host a playoff game, and seeds 17-32 go on the road in round #1.
One thing that comes to mind, and kind of gets under my skin, is how little the Louisiana Sports Writers are. Can you believe that going into the 8th week of the season that the 4A undefeated O.P. Walker Chargers are not ranked in the Class 4A top ten poll?
This is a classic example of writers voting along with other writers and it clearly shows that these writers are not doing the readers any justice. Sports writers are suppose to read, research and report. This is obviously not being done.
I don't want to hear, 'Oh it's just high school' or the always used 'I'm busy with other stuff.' I'll steal a line from Sean Payton here and say, 'Just do your job.' How can a yearly 4A playoff power that has a perfect record not be ranked? And to validate my point even more, the Chargers from the Westbank are currently #2 in the 4A power ratings.
Enough of me squawking on my soap box, let's get down to business. The game I will be at Friday night has the #4 ranked Loranger Wolves taking on rival Independence. These two teams reside in district 8-3A. Loranger has their best team in school history, while the Tigers are 5-2 with losses only to East Jefferson and West Feliciana.
Loranger Coach Sam Messina and Independence Coach Keith Carona were both longtime assistant coaches under legendary Independence Coach Charles Baglio Jr. Messina was Coach Bags' defensive coordinator, while Carona was the Tigers' offensive coordinator.
The Tigers went to the 3A Finals in 1997 and 1998... losing to Evangel both seasons. When Baglio retired back after the 2000 season, both Carona and Messina were the top two choices to replace Coach Bags.
Carona got the job and has been in charge since. Messina stayed at Indy for a while before landing the Loranger job. Both of these coaches know the game, and both hate like hell to lose! The winner of this game will have the inside track to win district 8-3A with the loser probably coming in second place.
Loranger is led by a salty defense and LSU commitment Jeryl Brazil. A former Independence player, Miguel Toefield, is the Wolves top offensive player. He transferred to Loranger after playing three years in Independence.
The Tigers are led on offense by their powerful RB Shannon Cage. Cage will make the oldest of old school football fans smile as he is a big physical runner like Ironhead, Mike Alstott and even the great Larry Csonka.
There are many story lines, and enough drama, here to make this game my game of the week. Up front things are all business-like and gentlemanly, but behind closed doors these two teams don't like each other. Oh man this is gonna be good!
Here are the rest of the game we will cover on the PFRU: