Louisiana Playoff Notes

Shaquille Smith

Senior quarterback Shaquille Smith orchestrates the option offense for Class 2A fourth-seeded Springfield. The Bulldogs play host to Cinderella No. 21 Many on Friday in a quarterfinal matchup...

NO. 21 MANY (8-4) AT NO. 4 SPRINGFIELD (10-1) -- Springfield's sole setback was to 5A playoff squad Live Oak. The Bulldogs have a young, powerful force up front in OL/DL Tank Carter. Springfield QB Shaquille Smith could surpass the 1,000-yard rushing plateau vs. Many. Smith currently sits at 918 yards with 17 TDs. He ran for 100-plus yards in four straight regular season games, including 141 yards in a district meeting with Northlake Christian. Smith gained 98 yards on the ground in a second-round rematch with Northlake.

Many head coach Jess Curtis was a senior starter on the Tigers' only team to reach the state finals (1988). Curtis says his offense embarked on a 98-yard drive to finish off third-seeded Winnfield in the second round. Jubilant Many fans "kept tackling me," Curtis laughed today...Many's strength is its offensive line, anchored by Garrett Thomas and Ivy Jackson.

NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP RUMMEL (11-0) AT NO. 9 OUACHITA PARISH (10-2) -- Rummel has run the gauntlet in Class 5A with relative ease. No team has come within 11 points of the Raiders. Last week, a scrappy Dutchtown bunch played Rummel as close as anyone. Rummel prevailed, 21-10, with the "usual suspects" (QB Damian Williams, RB Keith Fulton) accounting for all three touchdowns.

Ouachita, meanwhile, beat the Ruston Bearcats for the second time. The Lions have largely been balanced on offense with QB Diquan Wilson's running and passing. Wilson, who exploded for nearly 250 yards on the ground last week, has two viable deep threats in wide receivers Taijuan Thomas (Stanford commit) and blue-chip junior Cameron Sims.

NO. 8 VANDEBILT CATHOLIC (11-1) AT NO. 1 NEVILLE (12-0) -- QB Elijah McGuire propelled Vandebilt to a comeback 20-15 win over No. 9 Franklin Parish. McGuire exited the game due to injury with his team trailing 15-14 but returned a couple of plays later and subsequently sparked the Terriers to victory with a six-yard keeper.

Neville, last year's 4A state champ, eliminated Breaux Bridge on the road for the second straight year. The Tigers have won every game by a minimum of 20 points. Ouachita, mentioned earlier, played Neville closer than anyone (23-3 final).

Four-star LSU commit John Diarse (pictured below) rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns vs. Breaux Bridge. Diarse completed 4-of-8 passes for 111 yards and a fourth TD, while five-star junior DB Laurence Jones ran for a 23-yard score.

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