The last couple of weeks haven’t featured the most glamorous matchups on the schedule, but this week certainly positions teams for monstrous upcoming match-ups.

If West Monroe gets through Ouachita unscathed, we’ll all begin hyping Ruston vs. West Monroe as the biggest game remaining. And if Carroll continues to stack wins in District 2-3A, the Bulldogs will set up a sneaky good game with Sterlington down the road.

But first thing’s first, those squads have to take care of business in Week 8…

1. W. Monroe at Ouachita

What I have thoroughly enjoyed about Ouachita so far this season is its ability to get into firefights with some of the best teams in the state.

Dutchtown came to town with future Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson, and the Lions were up for the challenge, fighting tooth and nail before suffering a respectable loss. One year after losing to Union at home, the Lions hit the road and beat a Union team that still figures to be a state championship contender within that classification.

And the Lions were a two-point conversion away from knocking off a talented Ruston team.

The point of all that is just to simply say this Ouachita team is earning the opposition’s respect regardless of the final outcome. And they’ll look to do the same against District 2-5A foe West Monroe. And if the Rebels had any semblance of an idea that this was going to be a cakewalk, you can forget it now.

The state took notice when Ouachita drug Ruston into two overtimes at home, and you can bet your bottom dollar the Rebs did too. Expect a sharp West Monroe team this Friday against a scrappy Lion squad.

2. W. Ouachita at Pineville

The West Ouachita Chiefs have struggled with key injuries and unfortunately lost six of their previous seven games this season. But the competition is gaining power points for the Chiefs right now, and West Ouachita currently sits at No. 36, according to GeauxPreps.com.

With 32 teams eligible to make the playoffs, the Chiefs are still in the hunt to make it. Could a win against Pineville put the Chiefs over the top and gift West Ouachita a postseason appearance?

3. Wossman at Carroll

The Baby Bayou Classic has some steam to it this year with Carroll’s current four-game win streak. And let’s not forget the Bulldogs could be in possession of a five-game win streak if not for a late touchdown pass made by the Lions in that 15-12 loss back in September.

Wossman has been up and down, but you know Carroll is going to see the best version of the Wildcats Friday night.

4. Sterlington at Richwood

Look, we’re pretty far removed from Sterlington and Richwood’s classic encounters back in 2017. The Panthers got the best of the Rams to stay undefeated in district in the regular season before the Rams topped the Panthers en route to making that trip down to New Orleans.

Now Sterlington is positioning itself to make that ol’ familiar trip down south as a legitimate state championship contender.

Richwood is currently rebuilding under Marcus Yanez, but the Rams still possess great athletes like Devin Hampton that must be accounted for.

5. St. Fred at River Oaks

The Warriors defense has allowed just 6.8 points per game this season, while River Oaks has scored a total of seven points in its previous three district contests. So that’s not exactly a great sign for the Mustangs.

It just so happens those last three opponents were Cedar Creek, Ouachita Christian and Oak Grove, so that might not be a fair gauge. 

Still, fans might look at that 53-point margin of defeat against those three and suggest St. Frederick deserves to be in the same conversation with those other three schools.

And I get that.

But for me, this goes back to before the season at a harmless luncheon banquet. Much to the chagrin of River Oaks head coach Robert Hannah, a Mustang football player was asked who River Oaks biggest rival was and that player named St. Frederick specifically.

The head coach hates it, but us media schmoes love it. Is this the beginning of a beautiful local rivalry? Perhaps.

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