Sam Houston is a win away from its highest playoff seed since joining Class 5A in 2011.

The latest LHSAA unofficial Class 5A rankings have the Broncos at No. 7 at 13.15 points, but Slidell (13.09), Walker (13.01) and Thibodaux (12.96) are close behind them. Sam Houston was the No. 14 seed last year.

It is also a big rivalry week for the Broncos (7-2, 5-1), who will host Sulphur (1-8, 0-6) today at 7 p.m.

Sam Houston head coach Chad Paulk knows his team needs to take advantage of its quick-strike offense that has outscored opponents 272-197 in the first half.

“We need to start fast and we need to win the turnover battle,” Paulk said. “We need to play tough, hard-nosed football like we were doing Week 5 and Week 6 before we had kind of a lull. 

“We just need to put a full game together and I think our kids are ready to do that. Our kids are excited about hosting a playoff game with the potential victory. There is a lot at stake for us over here too. It is the last regular season home game for our seniors.”

Sulphur leads the overall series with Sam Houston 15-3 but the two teams have split the last four games. Sam Houston beat the Tors 28-19 last season.

The Tors will face a tough task of containing the Broncos’ big-play receiver tandem of Tavyen Grice and Luke Yuhasz, plus quarterback Kyle Bartley, who has thrown for 3,038 yards and 35 touchdowns. Grice leads the area with 109 catches for 1,429 yards and 10 touchdowns while Yuhasz has caught 49 passes for 844 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Sam Houston senior receiver Tavyen Grice has been on fire lately with three consecutive games of 300-plus all-purpose yards. He leads the district with 109 catches for 1,415 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“Sam Houston is good,” Sulphur co-interim head coach Jean Paul Duhon said. “The receivers are good. 

“We are going to try to keep them in front of us. They like to throw it up and catch. The offensive line does a good job of keeping the defense off of him (Bartley). If he does scramble, they get open and make some great catches. From last year to this year, they (Sam Houston) have improved tremendously.”

Sulphur is coming off a 40-7 loss to New Iberia after a string of four consecutive losses by three or fewer points.

“Sulphur has been in some close games and they have been in games,” Paulk said. “New Iberia was a tough opponent for them last week. 

“I think that Sulphur is a lot better than a lot of people give them credit for. They have good players on both sides of the football.”