Our coverage of the Louisiana High School football playoffs concludes this Friday with a Class 3A semifinal matchup between the 10th seeded Jennings Bulldogs and the 6thseeded West Feliciana Saints. A packed house is expected in St. Francisville as both schools are fired up for an opportunity to play in the 3A title game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints have never played in a state championship game in football, but this is their fourth straight semifinal appearance. The last two years they’ve lost to Lutcher and in 2014 they fell to Livonia.
This year’s Saints squad is loaded with athleticism and speed. West Feliciana is the two-time defending state champion in boys track and several of those speedsters play football, including TCU commitment Derius Davis.
Davis is one of the state’s top 400-meter runners and on the football field this season he has 13 touchdowns on offense and two interceptions on defense, including a pick six.
Louisiana Tech commitment Davon Harris has 917 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. They call him “Smoke,” because he kicks up dirt behind him. He’s only 5-foot-6, 170 pounds, but leads the team in receptions with 21 for 452 yards and 7 touchdowns.
West Feliciana’s offense is led by quarterback Derek Turner, who has thrown for 1,259 yards and 17 touchdowns. Turner has also rushed for 720 yards and 13 touchdowns. On defense, Turner has 4 interceptions, as he’s received 20 offers from colleges who want to play him at defensive back.
On defense, sophomore Riyan Cotton has 95 tackles to lead the Saints defense. He also has 26 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks. ULM commitment Zakk McKeehan has 20 tackles for a loss.
West Feliciana has given up 32 points in the last five games and this unit improved when senior linebacker AJ Whitaker returned from offseason shoulder surgery in Week 7.
Speaking of defense that’s why Jennings is in the semifinals for the first time since 2013. The Bulldogs are allowing 13 points a game and in the postseason they’ve allowed 19 total points in three games. And they’ve yet to allow over 200 yards of offense in a playoff game this season.
Two years ago, Jennings played West Feliciana in a first round playoff game and the Saints easily won 62-38. Most of the starters on this current Jennings squad were just sophomores, they’ve since matured.
Four of the five starters in the secondary are seniors, including Davian Madden, who was an honorable All-State player last season. Junior linebacker Jacob Young has been playing since he was a freshman and senior defensive end Gavin McZeal has been a three-year starter as well.
Jennings also starts a big freshman on the defensive line. Keenan Landry has already received an offer LSU.
On offense, the Bulldogs are not as explosive as they’ve been the last three years when they had All-State running back Travis Etienne, who is now scoring touchdowns for top ranked Clemson.
Jennings grinds it out on offense that has a good athlete at quarterback in Kole Myers, who has thrown for over 1,000 yards and is also one of the team leaders in rushing touchdowns.
Tyrik Sonnier and Darrian Achane compliment each other well in the Jennings backfield. Madden and Bryce Anthony are the team’s leading receivers.
The key for Jennings is to control the clock with its split back veer and keep West Feliciana’s explosive offense off the field.
Both teams have veteran coaches. Robb Odum has been the head coach at West Feliciana for 13 years and Rusty Phelps has led Jennings for 23 seasons. The Bulldogs are seeking the school’s third state championship in football and the first since 1992.
So, join us for an exciting playoff football as one of these teams will achieve their dream of playing for a state title. Coverage begins at 6:30 with the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance Companies Countdown to GameTime. Kick-off is at 7 PM.
West Feliciana takes on Jennings on Cox/YurView at 6:30pm CST on Friday, December 1st and will also be streaming live on Yurview.com.