CENTRAL, La. (WAFB) - The Central Private School Red Hawks are making the jump from the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) this season.
2018 was the last season they knocked heads with MAIS rivals, like Silliman. For the first 29 years of Sportsline Friday Nite, plus a couple more decades, the Red Hawks have been playing in the much smaller association against much smaller teams, but Kaleb Fontenot and his teammates are stepping up with the big boys this fall.
As we saw in 7-on-7 in summer of 2018 and more recently, the new 1A rebels are going up against 5A powers like Dutchtown and Walker and Zachary to see how they measure up to the size and athletic ability of their new football neighborhood. In his second year at the helm, former LSU quarterback Robbie Mahfouz is trying to get his guys ready for the challenge.
“I used to go to Central. I came from Central to Central Private, so switching to the MAIS was kind of a bigger change for me, but going back to the LHSAA, like I say, I think it’s going to be fun. A little more competition, the speed is faster, bigger kids, stronger, makes it more fun," said Fontenot, a senior, and QB/RB for the Rebels.
“Southern Lab and Notre Dame, they are going to be tough opponents. I think we can make some noise," said senior, Peyton Varnado, lineman.
“What we bring is a lot more than what people expect I think," said senior, Mason Dailey, LB/FB.
When asked if facing bigger, tougher teams is motivation for the team, Coach Mahfouz had this to say:
“It should be. I mean, we have a good schedule. We picked up, when Church Academy dropped, we picked up Notre of Crowley, and the next week we play Southern Lab, so we need to be ready to play some football.”
The first game the Red Hawks have to be ready for is 1A Covenant Christian in their LHSAA debut. East Iberville is their first district game.
In Week 8, they’ll face Notre Dame High in Crowley. That game is at home. The following week, it’s perennial 1A power, Southern Lab at A.W. Mumford Stadium.