PATTERSON — The already emotionally charged Patterson-Franklin game has even bigger repercussions this season.
“It’s always a rivalry game, but this season the team who wins its final two ball games will make the playoffs,” Patterson head coach Tommy Minton said. “Every game is big for us right now.”
According to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s latest unofficial polls released Tuesday, Franklin is ranked 37th and Patterson, 40th. Thirty-two teams will make the Class 3A playoff field.
Patterson (5-3, 2-2 District 9-3A) had an easy time last week as the Lumberjacks beat Jeanerette, 72-0, for homecoming.
Patterson outgained Jeanerette 431 to 31 yards and outgained the Tigers 322 to 3 on the ground.
Quarterback Spencer Landry was the leading rusher with three carries for 76 yards and a touchdown while Mykel Jones had 73 yards on one carry and a score. Tristen Ausama had 49 yards on two carries and a score.
But the clear leader on offense in recent weeks has been senior quarterback Denzel Johnson. He was 5-of-7 passing for 109 yards and three touchdowns, and he carried twice for 13 yards and a touchdown against Jeanerette.
Two weeks ago, Johnson had a huge game, leading Patterson to a 56-28 victory against Abbeville. He accounted for 363 yards and four touchdowns. The senior passed for 229 yards and three touchdowns while he rushed for 134 yards and a score.
Johnson has completed 107-of-180 passes for 1,488 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is also the team’s leading rusher, carrying 38 times for 555 yards and nine touchdowns.
“I think we are hitting our peak offensively,” Minton said. “We have played well the last two weeks. We also cut down our penalties, and we need that to continue.”
Franklin (4-4, 1-3) beat Erath 18-15 Friday on the game’s final play to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
The Hornets scored the game-winning touchdown when Lashon Johnson caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Franklin quarterback Jarion Brown as time expired
Less than two minutes before, Erath had returned a kickoff 75-yards for a touchdown and a 15-13 advantage with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter.
Franklin used big plays and Erath penalties on its game-winning drive.
“We have to be more physical then Franklin on both sides of the ball,” Minton said. “They have an assortment of backs that run hard, and once they lull you to sleep with the run, they try to hit you with the long ball.”
The Hornets totaled 330 yards of offense in last week’s win on a fairly balanced attack in which they ran for 184 yards and threw for 146.
Brown completed 14 of 19 passes with three touchdowns.
As for this week’s matchup, Patterson also may get an offensive spark back. Running back Shelby Lavergne, feared out for the season, may return.
“We will see how he feels Friday,” Minton said. “But we may get him back for a few snaps.”
Lavergne has been explosive in the run and pass game this season.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Sugar Dome.
Vermilion Today contributed to this story.