Neville (5-3, 2-0) at Bastrop (5-3, 2-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Under the power ratings system, the district championship has been rendered meaningless. As far as Bastrop head coach Adrian Burnette is concerned that theory doesn't hold water.
Bastrop will try to unseat the eight-time defending District 2-4A champion Neville Tigers on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ram Stadium. Senior night festivities will be held prior to opening kickoff.
Neville (5-3, 2-0) brings an eight-game winning streak over the Rams (5-3, 2-0) into the regular season finale. And, yes, the district title is on the line.
"We are right where we want to be," Burnette said. "(The district championship) may not seem to mean anything outside of these walls, but in this building it means everything. When you go down the list of our goals, one of the first goals is to beat Neville and win the district championship, which all-in-all is the same phrase."
As for the power ratings, the game is huge for both teams. Neville is currently listed No. 12, while Bastrop is No. 15 — just one spot below the cutoff for hosting a first-round playoff game.
Neville struggled out of the gate, getting off to an uncharacteristic 2-3 start. The Tigers lost to Ruston (19-10) and Vicksburg Warren Central (17-7) in Weeks 1 and 2, followed by consecutive wins over Ouachita (23-14) and Carroll (53-7) and a loss to West Monroe (27-7). Since then, the Tigers have reeled off three straight over Franklinton (27-22), West Ouachita (43-14) and Franklin Parish (51-14).
Coach Mickey McCarty's Tigers have played for the state championship five times in the past six years, winning it all in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Burnette is buying into the idea that Neville is having a down season — not.
"I'm sick and tired of hearing Neville is down," Burnette said. "They have a program and they are never down. They may have years where they are not as high-powered as other years, but Neville is never going to be down."
Burnette says the Rams are preparing for the Tigers as if their record were 8-0.
"We are going in with the attitude that we are playing Neville," Burnette said. "They have 26 seniors this year. We have to be in a situation where we have a good group at the right time, which gives us an opportunity, but at no point do you say Neville is down. It's going to be a battle Thursday night."
It's a battle the Rams are intent on winning according to Burnette.
"You go into every year feeling like this is going to be the year," Burnette said. "The Dallas Cowboys go into every year thinking they are going to win the Super Bowl. It's no different with this team. We're going into it with that same attitude."
Senior Payton Batteford and junior Jordan Thomas have both taken snaps for the Tigers.
Riley Demaine leads the rushing attack with Joe Bouie and Nick Guice as the primary receivers.
End Anthony Freeman and strong safeties Luke Cagle and Zorian Littleberry are among the Tigers' key defenders.
Bastrop is led offensively by quarterback Quaterious Hawkins and wide receiver SirQuan Hawkins.
Defenders to watch for the Rams include tackle Quandarious Rhodes and free safety Lawrence Moore Jr.
POWs: Players of the Week from Friday night's 38-23 homecoming win over West Ouachita were wide receiver Calvert Johnson and strong safety Phillip Jackson.
PLAYOFF BRACKETS will be released Sunday by the LHSAA.