St. Mary’s savors No. 1 power points ranking as DeQuincy visits tonight

Success against a strong schedule has the St. Mary’s Tigers No. 1 in the state’s LHSAA Division IV power points rankings.

Coach Aaron York and the TIgers take pride in that, but are more interested in making another step forward tonight at Turpin Stadium against DeQuincy.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. as the Tigers wrap up an ambitious first-half schedule preparing them not only for the five-game District 1-3A slate, but even more so, the state Division IV playoffs.

St. Mary’s is 3-1, losing a competitive 43-23 opening outing at home against Abbeville, then streamrolling 3A Buckeye (38-6), rallying past rival Menard (2A) on the road (31-17) and outflanking 2A Oakdale (30-19) in another road game last Friday night. That Class 3A Abbeville team, by the way, is 4-0 and sixth in its state power rankings.

The Tigers have piled up a 16.13 power rating that is a full point ahead of second-place Southern Lab in the select schools rankings. The 16.13 rating also tops any of the non-select Class A schools, who are led by a 15.50 posted by Slaughter Community Charter, so it’s fair to say St. Mary’s is the best small school football team in the state in the LHSAA’s power polls.

“We’ve run a pretty tough gauntlet for a school our size, and it’s really showing us who we are and that we can play with bigger schools,” said York. “It’s going to help us down the road. I know our kids are wondering why we’re playing all up, but every Friday we’ve got to play our best, or we’ll get beat. That will benefit us going through the rest of the season and especially when we’re in the playoffs.

After a pair of opening losses (34-15 at Westlake, 28-21 at home to Erath), DeQuincy has won its last two games, 21-14 at South Beauregard and 35-0 at home over Lake Arthur. The Panthers are 16th in the LHSAA’s Class 2A power rankings.

“We’re gonna have to play physical. DeQuincy is going to be one of the better teams we’ve seen to this point,” said York. “If we can contain their running game, play physical up front and get our receivers out on the edge and get the ball out quick, we can pick up the W.

“I don’t want it to be easy, and it won’t be. We’ve got to play our best game, and if we do, I feel good about our chances,” he said.

Tonight’s game is St. Mary’s “Pink Out Game” spotlighting local efforts to support the fight against breast cancer. Next Friday will be homecoming for St. Mary’s with the Tigers playing on their campus field against Northwood-Lena, in a game that has been relocated from NSU and moved off its original Thursday playing date.

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