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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com
Posts from November 2013

Deke Bellavia: Prep Playoffs 3rd Round - Quarters for some, semis for others
Remember when I told you four weeks ago that this post season would be a very different one?  Well, this is where things get a little awkward.  This week some teams are playing quarter-final games while others are in the state semi-finals.  

There are five classes and four divisions in the LHSAA playoffs.  This week three of the four divisions all have semi-final match-ups.  

In Division I--the St. Augustine Purple Knights take on the Rummel Raiders, while the Byrd Yellow Jackets come to the Big Easy to battle the Holy Cross Tigers.  Down in Division II--John Curtis battles post season rival Evangel, and there's a rematch between defending 3A champs Parkview and the U-High Cubs.  And in Division III--#1 seed Episcopal Knights entertain #4 Archbishop Hannan, and Catholic New Iberia battles Calvary Baptist.  The winners of these semi-final games all have two weeks to get ready for the title games.

A coach once told me it's tougher to play Thanksgiving week because there is no school.  That same coach told me a lot of other teams wish they could play during the holiday break.

Other big match-ups:  the Covington Lions take on the Central Wildcats.  And, in Class 4A you could blindfold anyone and let them pick a game and they'd choose a great match-up.  We are a week away from a possible rematch between Edna Karr and Landry Walker.

The Cougars and Charging Bucs would face each other in the semi-finals next week, if Landry/Walker can get by Plaquemine...and if the Cougars get past the team that beat them in the 2010 Class 4A Finals--the Franklinton Demons.

The E.J. Warriors battle the Warren Easton Eagles and the powerful Neville Tigers entertain the DeRidder Dragons.  And I'll be back home Friday night for a big game in Amite.  It'll be a long day...early to rise (6am)...I've got to be on my way to LSU/ by 7am to get in place for our WWL Tiger Tailgate Show with  the Cajun Cannon that starts at 9.  Then, I'll watch the LSU/Arkansas ....host a brief "Purple & Gold Point After"...then it's off to R.W. Russell Memorial Stadium in Amite as the mighty Warriors entertain the North Webster Knights.  It's always good to be home.  And I'm proud to say I'm a Warrior.

Amite is trying to get back to the 3A Finals for the second time in three years.  My childhood friend, former teammate and Southern Jaguars star, Alden "Poochie" Foster is having another good season as head coach of the Amite Warriors.  

The Warriors lost the 3A Title game 9-8 to St. Charles in 2011, and last season the Warriors fell off by not making the playoffs for the first time in 30 years.  "Let's just say we had a lot of motivation this off season.  We lost six games in which we had a lead in the fourth quarter.  This season we have been able to win the close games," said Amite Coach Alden Foster.

The Warriors are led by their massive O-Line and sophomore running back Kenner Harrell.  Warriors offensive tackle Devon "Fat Baby" Johnson is one of the top offensive linemen in the state.  Johnson, affectionately known as "Fat Baby" has already received scholarship offers from several schools including Tulane, helped pave the way for Harrell's 187 yards rushing in the Warriors 28-6 win over West Feliciana last weekend.  

So folks, eat up, dress warm and enjoy a cold Friday night of great prep football action here in Louisiana!  

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Deke Bellavia: Turkey Week NFL Top 10 - Week #13
Three huge match-ups headline this week's NFL Top 10.  First place in the NFC and AFC are on the line, the battle of the Birds takes place between the Cardinals and Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love.  And no one has won more games in a row right now that those Cats from Carolina.  Here's my Turkey Week NFL Top 10!  So weather you shake ‘n bake or buy and fry, I wish everyone a good Thanksgiving!

1. Seattle Seahawks (9-1) – The Seabirds are set to host the Saints in the biggest game of the season thus far.  If Seattle wins this one, they can sit back and possibly chill for a few weeks before the second season begins. Last week Seattle had a bye / this week vs New Orleans.  

2. New Orleans Saints (9-2) – Man, the Saints are kind of in playoff mode already.  If this team wants to land one of the top two seeds in the NFC, they may have to win out.  Isn't that the same mindset in the playoffs?  Win out!  Last week New Orleans beat Atlanta 17-13 / this week @ Seattle.

3. Carolina Panthers (8-3) – They are feeling hot, hot, hot down in Charlotte.  The Cats from Carolina are for real.  They've won seven straight and now are in a heated battle with the Saints and Seahawks for all the marbles in the NFC.  The red hot Panthers could very easily be 9-1!  Last week Carolina beat Miami 20-16 / this week vs Tampa Bay.  

4. New England Patriots (8-3) – Man, in all of the great meetings between Peyton and Tom last Sunday's come from behind might have been the best.  For the pretty one, that is.  What a win!  Last week New England beat Denver 34-31 / this week @ Houston.    

5. Denver Broncos (9-2) – Did that really just happen?  How could the White Horses let the Patriots come back and win?  They didn't.  New England took that one, baby!  Oh well, can't cry over sour milk. The division title is on the line this week with a trip to Arrowhead.  Last week Denver lost to New England 34-31 / this week @ Kansas City.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) –The Chiefs found some offense.  Too bad they didn't play defense.  Better get it right or else! Last week KC lost San Diego 41-38 / this week vs Denver.  

7. Arizona Cardinals (7-4) – You know of all the 7-4 teams in the NFL only one won four straight games.  Guess who?  These Red Birds from the Desert are playing good football right now and they are one of four reasons why the NFC West is by far the best division in the NFL right now.  Last week Arizona beat Indianapolis 40-11 / this week @ Philadelphia.  

8. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – The Cats from C Town once had a comfortable lead in the rather inconsistent AFC North.  Now the suddenly once left for dead boys from the Steel City are alive.  Look out!  A tough road trip this week as the Bolts are ready and waiting. Last week Cinci had a bye / this week @ San Diego.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) – Yes, I could have another team here, but the one thing that intrigues me about the Birds from the City of Brotherly Love is that they have the best road record in the NFL (5-1).  Damn, they also have one of the worst at home (1-4).  Even it out and the Eagles could take the NFC East.  A monster match-up this weekend as the red hot Birds from the West are in town.  Last week Phili had a bye/ this week vs Arizona.

10. Detroit Lions (6-5) – Yes, I could go with the 49ers here, but the Lions have the better QB and a far greater WR.  And, they're in a much weaker division.  So there you have it.  My rationale about why Detroit rounds out my top ten.  Hail to the team that made the NFL relevant on Turkey Day!  Last week Detroit had a bye / this week vs Green Bay.    

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Deke Bellavia: CFB Top 10 - Week #13
A lot of Iron is on the line this week on the plains, can “Hail to the Victors” (Michigan) knock off the Poisonous Nuts from Columbus (Ohio State)?  The Tigers (Clemson) and Cocks (South Carolina) battle it out in the Palmetto State (South Carolina).  And, the sunshine is bright on two Florida teams and I’m not talking about the Gators or Canes, instead the Noles (Florida State) and Knights (Central Florida).  Man oh man, its rivalry week.  Let’s get it on!  Here’s my TOP 10 for the 13th week of college football.

1.      Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0) – It’s the Iron Bowl.  A lot of hype is forthcoming.  Will the game live up to expectation?  Don’t think Alabama can’t go over there and hand those Tigers their lunch.  They sure can.  And the real bettors will put money on Roll Tide!  Last week Bama beat Chattanooga 49-0/ this week @ that other team in our state!

2.      Florida State Seminoles  - (11-0) – They scored 80 on I-Dah-Ho!  The Noles will score at least half that much against the toothless Gators.  Last week Florida State beat Idaho 80-14 / this week @ Florida.

3   Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) – Time is running out for these Buckeyes.  All I hear is how the Buckeyes are going to get left out of the BCS Title game.  Who thinks they are a lock to beat those Spartans from East Lansing?  I don’t!  Last week Ohio State beat Indiana 42-14 / this week @ Michigan.

4.     Auburn Tigers (10-1) – Great season or great program?  Can you tell the difference?  You will see the difference this week and into next season.  The good thing about a game like this--the Tigers can do what they’ve been doing all season long--prove the world wrong!  Last week Auburn was off / this week versus that other team in the state we hate but want to be like.

5.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1) – The Pokes can land in a nice BCS Bowl and finish with a possible top 5 ranking.  Mike Gundy has done well, since all those preseason SI reports on how bad things are in Stillwater.  Last week Oklahoma State beat Baylor 49-10 / next vs Oklahoma on Dec 7th.  

6.  Clemson Tigers (9-1) –  The Tigers manhandled the Citadel and now will look to beat the team they love to hate…that happens to be from the same state.  Last week Clemson beat the Citadel 52-6 / this week @ South Carolina.

7.    Missouri Tigers (10-1) – The Tigers jumped a huge hurdle last week with a big road win over the Rebels.  Now the Tigers can advance to the SEC Title game with a win over Texas A&M.  Last week Missouri beat Ole Miss 24-10 / this week vs Texas A&M.

8.  South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2) – South Cack-A-Lacka scored 70 on Coastal Carolina.  Now the Cocks can improve their ranking with a win over the Tigers from Clemson.  Man these teams hate each other.  Last week South Carolina beat Coastal Carolina 70-12 / this week vs Clemson.

9.  Michigan State Spartans (10-1) – The most overlooked team in all of college football can really prove their worth with a win over Ohio State. For the last 12 weeks all we’ve heard is how Ohio State is going to get left out of the National Title game.  That’s a slap in the face to a team that is good on defense as anyone (with 12.1 points per game allowed).  I’ve got to be honest…I’m for the Spartans this week.  And my favorite all time MSU players are the late great Bubba Smith and Percy Snow.  Google it!  Don’t fall asleep against a good Minnesota team this week.  Last week Michigan State beat Northwestern 30-6 / this week vs Minnesota.

10.  Baylor Bears (9-1) – Did the real Bears stand up last week?  Or, shall I say sit down?  And Baylor’s supposedly unstoppable offense was shut down when they lost to Oklahoma State 49-17 / this week @ TCU.
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Deke: Prep Playoffs Week #2 - Welcome to the Party!

The LHSAA’S unique, new playoff format got off to a good start last week.  Heck, our game of the week (Haughton @ Ponchatoula) went into overtime with the Green Wave victorious in a high scoring affair, coming away with a 56-55 win.

Although last week was the first week of the playoffs, this week we welcome teams fortunate enough to have the week off.  Yes, there were several.  Truth is, far more than several… 21 teams enjoyed an extra week of rest. Now, this week, we’ll see if the additional week of rest or preparation helps them win or if that week off disrupted momentum and hurt their chances.  

If you’re looking for a Cinderella team that’s still alive, there are several.  Down in Class 3A, the biggest upset took place when 25th seeded Donaldsonville beat #8 South Beauregard 32-21.  The Tigers were the lowest seed team in all of the playoffs to advance to the regional round of the playoffs.

Up in Class 5A the #21 John Ehret stunned Mandeville 21-14.  The Patriots knocked off the Skippers, who were hoping to get back to the semi-finals for a third straight season.  

Now, we focus on our game of the week.  It’s always a treat to visit the schools in the River parishes, and this Friday night the All-State Sugar Bowl Prep Football Round-up will come to you live from Hahnville High School.  
Give it up for the Tigers of Hahnville! Hahnville is the #24 seed, and last week this team had to travel all the way up to North Louisiana to take on Ouachita.  The Tigers won convincingly 42-25.  And, now, Hahnville High takes on last year’s state runner-up, Barbe.  Can’t wait to witness this elite prep action live!  

The Barbe Bucs have a high-scoring offense that features a record-breaking receiver. Trey Quinn will go down as one of the best prep football players in the history of high school football.  Last week in their 42-16 win over South Lafourche, Quinn hauled in 197 yards receiving.  Quinn broke Dorial Green-Beckham’s national record of 6,356 career receiving yards and set the new record to 6,376.  Quinn also set the state record for career receiving yards with 5,881 receiving yards, and was named to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All American Bowl.  Quinn has a verbal commitment to play for the LSU Tigers.  

Hahnville’s strength this season has been their defense.  I think it’s safe to say the Tigers defense will have their hands full this Friday night.  

Other games to keep an eye on:  #2 Parkway @ #15 East St. John and #14 Covington is at #3 East Ascension. Down in Class 4A, #5 Warren Easton hosts #12 Belle Chase in a rematch from earlier this season.
The Eagles took care of Belle Chase 52-24 in a District 9-4A game.  This time around the prize is much greater as the winner moves on to a possible showdown with the undefeated East Jefferson Warriors.  Division II has a rematch of last season’s Class 3A Title game.  #3 Notre Dame will look to avenge last year’s title game loss to Parkview Baptist.  The Eagles won Class 3A last season and they are the #6 seed.  

I’m really looking forward to the biggest game in Division I this weekend.  #3 Catholic High of Baton Rouge plays host to #6 Holy Cross.  Both teams had a bye last week.  The winner of this game will face the winner of the Shaw versus Byrd game.  

Folks, what started in August now comes down to just four more weeks.  Get out and enjoy some great prep football…what a party!

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Deke Bellavia: Look out LSU - Here's Johnny
Not since Tim Tebow and the powerful Florida Gators came to town has a team with a big time player roared through Tiger stadium.  Yes, folks in the Capital City will get their first and perhaps only look in person at one of the all-time greats in the history of college football...Johnny Manziel, "Johnny Football!"

The 9th ranked Texas A&M Aggies are still very much alive for a BCS Bowl bid with their final two games against ranked teams.  A&M battles LSU on the road this week, then the Aggies wrap up the regular season against the Missouri Tigers. 

Both LSU and Texas A&Mare coming off bye weeks.  A&M beat Mississippi State 51-41 two weeks ago; LSU was beaten soundly in the 38-17 loss handed to them by the #1 ranked Crimson Tide.  Both teams, however, are clearly fired up for this game.

The Tigers and Aggies have played 51 times.  The Bayou Bengals hold a 28-20-1 edge.  The Tigers won the last two meetings including last season's 24-19 win over Texas A&M in College Station.That 19 point output by the Aggies offense was the second lowest total points scored in a game under QB Johnny Manziel.  (The Aggies lost 20-17 last season to Florida.)  The rivalry between these two schools is one of the best in all of college football.

Texas A&Mfootball IS JohnnyManziel.  Last year's Heisman trophy winner put up even better numbers this season.  In week two "Johnny Football" ran through Alabama's defense... reducing the Crimson Tide to just average.  Johnny Football gashed the Tide for over 550 yards of total offense. 

And to those who preached thatManziel is just a college athlete and his play may not do well on the professional level, well Johnny upped his passing game this season.So far"Mr. Football" has passed for 3,313 yards with 31 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.  Manzielalso rushed for 611 yards and eight more scores giving him a total 39 TDs. 

If LSU has a shot at beating A&M, they need to...at the very least...get the Tigers offense a couple more possessions than A&M.

Yes,Johnny is a little cocky...somewhat arrogant at times...but he's good.  "Damn good, I say," said Bobby Hebert.  "Manziel is one of those special players who just has the ability to score anytime he has the football.  It's going to be hard for LSU to slow him down," observed the Cajun Cannon.

Texas A&M scores on average 49 points per game.  In their two losses the Aggies scored 42 and 41 points...a 49-42 loss to Alabama followed by a 44-41 loss to Auburn.  The A&M offense is one of the most efficient and best offensive units in the country.

Texas A&M averages 379 passing yards per game to go along with 198 rushing yards.   That's nearly 600 yards...(577) yards every game.  And the Aggies have produced with such strong utput against the very best opponents.

The most exciting home game of the season presents the biggest challenge for an LSU defense, that hasn't done well for most of the season.  And, when the Tigers' D has faced a top tier QB, they've faired far worse.

This QB, Johnny Football, is the best of the best.  Saturday should be downright fun.  Who has the most fun is yet to be determined.  But, I'd bet win or lose...Johnny will have his numbers.  Will those numbers put his Aggies over the top against the Tigers?  Tune in Saturday to find out. 

Our coverage on WWL (870am and 105.3fm) starts at 10am.  Join Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia for the "Fleur de Lanes Tiger Tailgating Show" live from LSU's campus in front the ticket office on North Stadium Drive.  Pre-game with Jim Hawthorne at 12:30...kick-off 2:30pm ...then after the game—"The Purple & Gold Point After" with the Big Chief live from Bayou Burger, 503 Bourbon Street in the world famous French Quarter ...on TIGERradio WWL!

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