Pine hosting Pope John Paul II tonight

Published 8:05 am Friday, October 28, 2016

Pine can take another step closer to hosting a first-round playoff game this week, as the Raiders are at home to face Pope John Paul II in a District 7-2A match up.

“It’s good to get back into action after a week off,” Pine coach Bradley Seal said. “Our guys are ready to play. A win probably locks up a home playoff game.”

Pine had a bye last week after its 42-21 victory over Springfield on Oct. 14.

Seal said the bye helped.

“We had a couple of guys who were playing through a some injuries,” he said. “I feel like we needed the bye week.”

The Raiders, who have won two straight games, enter this week with a 5-2 overall record, and they are 2-2 in district play. They are No. 8 in the unofficial LHSAA Class 2A power ratings.

Against Springfield, Chris Gordon had a big day. Offensively, he caught three passes for 148 yards and all of the receptions were for touchdowns.

Seal said Gordon had arguably his best game against Springfield, both offensively and defensively.

Joey Seal completed three passes, which were to Gordon for the touchdowns.

Pine running back Jakyran Handy has had a solid season, rushing for 832 yards with 17 touchdowns and another receiving touchdown.

Coach Seal said that center D.J. Thomas, who also plays tackle on defense, played well defensively.

Pope John Paul II enters this week with a 2-6 overall record and 2-2 record in district play. Last week, the Jaguars lost to 7-1 St. Helena College & Career Academy, 20-0.

“It’s a big week,” Pope John Paul II first-year coach Brett Bonnaffons said. “For one, we’re playing a 5-2 team. It’s always tough. They’ve got a tough running back and they’ve got the Kelley kid (Brendon Kelley), who’s one of the best linemen in the state.

“But we’re no slouch, either. Our record doesn’t show how well we’ve played. We’ve played some real tough teams. We let some slip away because of turnovers, injuries and being inexperienced. We’re a good team, whose record doesn’t show it. Being a team that’s gone 1-19 over the last two years, I’m excited about the progress in the way we played.”

Quarterback David Doane has thrown for 1,304 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also run for 500 yards and eight scores.

Chris Brown had 412 yards in the first month before suffering a broken wrist in week five. He played defense the next three weeks until he got his cast off. He will be back at running back this week.

Running/linebacker Connor Maples begins with 200 yards rushing and has made 61 tackles.

Receiver Anthony Chappetta enters tonight’s game with 16 catches for 460 yards (28.7 yards per reception) and six touchdowns.

Bonnaffons said Chappetta is a speedster.

Wide receiver Tyler Blakeman averaged 18 yards a catch, but suffered a broken collarbone two weeks ago.

Defensively, Bonnaffons said he’s got two outstanding linebackers in Joshua Phillips and T.J. Hoff. The two have only played about a game and a half together because of injuries to both. Phillips returns tonight and Hoff has been back for a few weeks.

Phillips has 66 tackles in six games, with 21 of those tackles for a loss.

Bogalusa resident Joe Ezell starts for PJP. Bonnaffons praised Ezell’s play so far this season.

“He’s one of the most improved players from May until now,” Bonnaffons said. “He’s a solid right tackle. He just needs to continue to grow into his body. He’s 6-3, 260.”

Also playing for PJP from Bogalusa is freshman wide receiver/defensive back Seth Penny.

“He’s been working his tail off. He’s never played football before, so he’s still learning the game,” Bonnaffons said.