The road back to the Superdome starts tonight for the 2011 Patterson Lumberjacks.
Patterson (9-0, District 9-3A champs), the Class 3A state runners-up last season, will host Brusly (6-4 of District 7-3A).
PHS, despite being ranked second in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A Poll, was seeded 15th in LHSAA football playoff pairings released Sunday. Brusly is seeded 18th in the 32-team field.
The ’Jacks are led by two-time all-state candidate Justice Jones at quarterback. Jones, a senior, had another outstanding season, completing 102-of-147 passes for 1,615 yards and 25 touchdowns against just one interception.
The PHS offense averages 51.6 points per game and scored over 60 points on three occasions.
Jones’ top receivers include Jaydrick Declouet, a University of Houston commitment, who leads the team with 41 catches for 658 yards and 14 TDs. He averages 16 yards per catch. The other starter on the outside is junior Earl Andrews who has caught 15 balls for 266 yards and three scores.
Versatile standout Trevon Stewart also had 23 catches out of the backfield for 424 yards and seven touchdowns for an average of 17.7 yards per catch.
“We have to get the ball to our playmakers in space,” longtime Patterson coach Tommy Minton said. “They play a 4-3 scheme and they like to bring pressure so that leaves openings for big plays, but we have to protect our quarterback to get that done.”
Stewart, also a University of Houston commitment, has excelled running with the football, carrying 51 times for 811 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averages 15.9 yards per carry this season. Stewart also had three special team’s touchdowns during the regular season.
“We are always going to run the football,” Minton said. “We want to be as balanced as possible and Trevon has had some big runs for us this season.”
Senior running back Mark Jones battled an ankle injury earlier this season but seems to have his burst back, finishing with 295 yards on 37 carries with three scores.
Patterson rested a couple offensive linemen last week but Minton says the unit is good to go today.
Brusly’s defense is led by two standout linebackers, Branden Alexander and Loyd Clopton. Alexander (5-10, 230, junior) has led the team in tackles for the last two seasons while Clopton (5-11, 200, senior) has size and power.
Alexander also doubles as the Panther’s fullback on offense.
“He’s a big kid that plays big,” Minton said. “He’s a threat on both sides of the ball.”
Defensive ends Logan Romero (6-0, 195) and Jared Allen (6-3, 215) are both really good athletes.
Defensive backs Damario Jackson (5-10, 165), Taylor Prejean (5-11, 165) and Terrance West (6-0, 170), all juniors, are also decent cover guys.
The Panthers’ defense surrenders about 23 points per game this season.
Brusly returned 10 of 11 starters on its Wing-T offense, led by dual-threat quarterback Jay Christophe (6-4, 185). The junior has carried 144 times for 828 yards and 13 touchdowns while he completed 54-of-137 passes for 812 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“The quarterback is special and everything runs through him,” Minton said. “He’s a run threat first, but he can throw the ball pretty well on boot-legs and sprint-outs. He can cause a lot of trouble for us.”
The top running backs are Alexander and Sharrod Patterson (6-0, 190). Patterson’s power and speed has led to over 700 yards of total offense.
But Minton feels Alexander is the Panthers’ second-best weapon at fullback.
“He’s a big, tough kid that plays with good intensity; he works hard on both sides of the ball.”
Patterson’s defense has been downright scary this season. The ’Jacks’ defense allows just 5.8 points per game while holding three teams scoreless.
Middle linebacker Tremaine Lightfoot is the team’s leading tackler for the second year in a row. He is joined by outside linebacker Lorenzo Phillips, one of the top college recruits in the country. Phillips has over 50 tackles with double-digit sacks and tackles for loss.
The ’Jacks’ safeties, Laron Todd and Stewart, are also very talented. They are tied for the team lead with three interceptions each, while cornerback Kiyan Jones also has a pick and a couple of fumble recoveries.
K. Jones won a state champion last year playing for Acadiana High School in Lafayette before transferring back home to Patterson this summer. Sophomore Kendell Hunter has held up well at the other corner this season and will likely share time with Declouet.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at the Sugardome.