Looking for something to do Friday night? With eight second-round state playoff games being played within a one-hour radius, high school football fans have plenty of action to choose from.
This week's games within easy driving distance include Baton Rouge Central at West Monroe, Westgate at Neville, Kaplan at Richwood, East Feliciana at Oak Grove, Delhi at Mangham, Catholic-Pointe Coupee at Cedar Creek, Sacred Heart at Ouachita Christian and Highland Baptist at St. Frederick.
Four area schools face long road trips as Ruston is at Destrehan, Franklin Parish visits Plaquemine, Union Parish travels to Brusly, Caldwell Parish goes to North Webster and Sterlington ventures to St. James.
A brief look at Friday night's matchups:
No. 11 Baton Rouge Central (10-1) at No. 6 West Monroe (9-2) — West Monroe gets a second straight home game after surviving a scare last week. Dustin Mitchell's 31-yard pass to tight end Will Hoogland with 42 seconds remaining enabled the Rebels to get past Denham Springs 20-17. It was the Rebels' eighth straight victory after a 1-2 start.
Central has also won straight, including a 34-13 first-round triumph over Comeaux.
No. 13 Ruston (8-3) at No. 4 Destrehan (10-1) — Ruston has had a solid season under first-year head coach Brad Laird, but the Bearcats figure to face a tough challenge against Destrehan.
Destrehan is undefeated on the field with its only loss coming via forfeit to South Lafourche. The Wildcats' closest game was a 24-point victory (38-14) over District 7-5A rival East St. John in Week 10.
Destrehan blanked Terrebonne 44-0 last week, while Ruston handled Natchitoches Central 35-7.
No. 16 Westgate (6-4) at No. 1 Neville (10-0) — Dropping down from Class 5A this season, the Westgate Tigers defeated Eunice 23-7 last week in their first-ever Class 4A playoff game. This week, the New Iberia school gets a real taste of 4A football against the perennial power Neville Tigers.
Westgate's first challenge is finding a way to contain the versatile Kavonte Turpin. Accounting for Neville's first three touchdowns last week, Turpin scored on a 16-yard run, hauled in a 17-yard pass from Andre Fuller II and tacked on an electrifying 89-yard run while staking the Tigers to a 21-0 lead en route to a 50-7 victory over South Terrebonne.
Linebacker Ashari Goins, the reigning District 2-4A Defensive Player of the Year, is the Tigers' defensive ring master.
No. 11 Franklin Parish (7-3) at No. 6 Plaquemine (9-2) — After being denied in the second round the past two seasons, the Patriots seek to advance to the quarterfinal round at the expense of the Green Devils.
Marcus Bingham and Brandon Hillman rushed for 101 yards apiece last Friday as the Patriots beat District 2-4A rival Wossman for the second straight week, 52-26. Franklin Parish edged the Wildcats 41-38 in the regular season finale.
Demarcus Banks intercepted his ninth and 10th passes of the season to lead the Patriots defensively in the first round victory.
Julius Maracalin rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown as Plaquemine upended Washington-Marion 28-12 last week for its first postseason victory in nine years.
No. 3 Union Parish (10-1) at No. 19 Brusly (6-5) — Since bowing to Haynesville 37-14 in Week 2, the Farmers have won nine straight, including a lopsided 54-3 opening round verdict over Ville Platte.
Quarterback Jamarius Williams is an efficient 44-of-77 for 947 yards, 18 touchdowns and only on interception through the air, while rushing for 1,122 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Sophomore Desmond Turner leads the Farmers' punishing ground game with 1,295 stripes and nine scores.
Brusly was awarded a second round home game after pulling off a 14-6 road victory over Jewel Sumner.
No. 11 Kaplan (8-3) at No. 6 Richwood (8-3) — Rebounding from an 0-2 start under first-year head coach Robert Arvie, Richwood has won eight of its last nine. Last week's 33-0 shutout of Bogalusa was the Rams' first postseason win since 2010.
Richwood's only loss since the rocky start was a 33-24 decision to District 2-3A rival Union Parish. With a victory Friday night, the Rams could set up a quarterfinal rematch with the Farmers.
Like Union Parish, Kaplan operates from the Wing-T. Tyson Broussard rushed for 206 yards on 22 carries in the Pirates' 46-6 first-round demolition of Mansfield.
No. 2 Caldwell Parish (10-1) at No. 18 North Webster (8-3) — Recovering from a 26-20 Week 10 upset at the hands of Jena, Caldwell disposed of Miller McCoy 46-27 last week.
This week, coach Bo Barton's Spartans head to Springhill to tangle with North Webster, a 38-20 first-round winner over Iowa.
No. 9 East Feliciana (6-4) at No. 8 Oak Grove (7-4) — A 2012 Class 3A semifinalist, the Eagles are led by running back/defensive end Kameron McKnight and wide receiver Danny Johnson.
Rated as a three-star recruit by rivals.com, the 6-2, 220-pound McKnight has scholarship offers from Notre Dame and Tennessee, among others. Johnson garnered All-State accolades last season.
East Feliciana spanked St. Helena Central 34-14 in the first round, while the Tigers romped to a 47-8 decision over District 2-2A counterpart Ferriday.
Oak Grove's four losses came to teams still involved in the playoffs — Union Parish, Franklin Parish, Mangham and Winnfield.
The Tigers have been playing well of late behind a young, but massive, offensive line of Chase Russell, Mickey Broadway, Joshua Mote, Joe Desselle and Lance Hartely.
No. 6 Sterlington (8-3) at No. 22 St. James (5-6) — Coming off of its first home playoff victory since 2006, the Panthers make the long trip to Vacherie for what could be the final game played in historic Wildcat Stadium.
Tailback Jaylon Wade rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries as the Panthers pummeled Sophie B. Wright 42-6 in the first round.
Wade (1,390 yards, 13 touchdowns) and fullback Austin Haman (973 yards, 16 TDs) form a formidable backfield tandem, while linebacker and ULM commitment Cody McGuire (17 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) spearheads the Panthers' defense.
Freshman quarterback Lowell Narcisse and senior wide receiver D'Kwan Sandolph leads the Wildcats, who throttled No. 11 seed Lake Arthur 47-23 in the first round.
No. 18 Delhi (2-9) and No. 2 Mangham (8-2) — Delhi's reward for upsetting Merryville 29-20 in the first round is a second-round rematch with the Dragons.
Mangham, which drew a first-round bye, won the first matchup with the Bears in convincing fashion, 42-6 in Week 6.
Led by running back Kemme Weeks and tight end Trae Moffitt, the Dragons have won six straight since dropping a 39-37 decision to Sterlington in Week 4.
No. 20 Catholic-Pointe Coupee (6-5) at No. 4 Cedar Creek (7-3) — After receiving a first-round bye, the Cougars draw a second-round home game with the Hornets from New Roads.
Catholic is traveling for the second straight week after upsetting Hanson Memorial 28-13 in Week 11.
After being shutout 33-0 by District 1-2A champ and No. 1 seed Haynesville, the Cougars won the final three regular season games by an aggregate margin of 143-32.
No. 15 Sacred Heart (6-4) at No. 2 Ouachita Christian (8-2) — Pursuing a milestone victory, the Eagles entertain the Trojans from Ville Platte.
OCS enters the game with an all-time record of 299-139 as well as a school record 25-game home winning streak.
Sacred Heart was a 35-0 winner over Lafayette Christian last week, while the Eagles drew a first-round bye.
Senior quarterback Quin Graves has won 18 of 20 career starts for the Eagles. This season, he has thrown for 1,314 yards with 16 TDs and seven picks.
Senior linebacker Cade Harper is OCS' career leader with 254 unassisted tackles and 62 tackles for loss. His 2013 season totals include a team-high 112 tackles and 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
No. 11 Highland Baptist (7-3) at No. 6 St. Frederick (7-4) — First-year head coach Jeff Tannehill's Warriors posted their second straight shutout last week in a 38-0 first-round rout of False River. It was St. Frederick’s fourth shutout of the campaign.
From a defensive standpoint, St. Fred's mission this week is quite clear against the run-oriented Bears from New Iberia. Highland has attempted only 75 passes all season while relying on the legs of wingback Gary Roberts (110 carries, 761 yards, 12 touchdowns) and halfbacks Dylan Blair (64-657-12) and Zach Gibbons (125-582-5).
A former member of the Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association, Highland is in its first season of playoff eligibility as a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.