Fast, fun facts on LHSAA football playoffs

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Collin Guggenheim

Printable Playoff Brackets (*.pdf)

As the prep football state playoffs get underway this Thursday and Friday, a quick study reveals that there are not as many terrible teams making the playoffs this season, as compared to last season. There are not as many first-round rematches as we saw a year ago and the majority of defending champions are not expected to repeat.

Here are some fast, fun facts on the LHSAA football playoffs:

**Logansport is seeking to become the first back-to-back unbeaten state champion in Louisiana since Destrehan accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.

**No team from Central Louisiana has won a state title since Pineville captured the Class 2A championship in 1960, although as my friend Lamar Gafford of The Town Talk points out, Many won in 2014, Winnfield won in 1982, St. Mary’s won in 1977 and Natchitoches won in 1969. Of course, Many, St. Mary’s and Natchitoches are all in Natchitoches, a full hour northwest from Alexandria while Winnfield is an hour north of Alexandria. Could the drought will continue for a 57th year?

**The best shots belong to Jena, the third-seed in 3A and Leesville, the sixth-seed in 4A. The Wampus Cats, led by Cecil “The Diesel” Collins, went to the 4A title game in 1995, losing 39-7 to Salmen.

**The Giants are 10-0 and have a real shot to win it all.

**Alexandria is the 25th-seed in 5A. Holy Savior Menard is 11th out of 13 seeds in Division III. DeRidder is the 19th-seed in 4A but a good distance from Alexandria. Tioga is the 18th-seed in 4A. Marksville is a 29th-seed while Caldwell Parish is a 13th-seed in 3A but both are outlying areas. Rosepine is the seventh-seed in 2A while Oakdale is the 31st-seed. Oberlin is a good distance from Alexandria but is 11th in 1A.

**The worst record to make the playoffs this seasons include 4-6 (5-A), 3-7 (4-A), 2-8 (3-A), 2-8 (2-A), 1-9 (1-A), 0-10 (DI), 3-7 (D-II), 2-8 (D-III) and 3-7 (D-IV). Archbishop Shaw (0-10) is the only winless team in the playoffs this season while Northwood-Lena, North Central and Ringgold are all 1-9 and in the playoffs in Class 1A.

**There are six district rematch games in the opening round of the playoffs.

**In 1A, District 1-1A rivals Jonesboro-Hodge, the ninth-seed, and Plain Dealing, the 25th-seed, square off. The Tigers won the regular season matchup 32-13 on Oct. 6.

**In 2A, District 2-2A rivals Rayville, the ninth-seed, and Delhi Charter, the 24th-seed, meet again. The Hornets beat Delhi Charter 50-28 on Oct. 13.

**Also in 2A, District 8-2A rivals and 21st-seed Port Allen and 12th-seeded Northeast square off. The Pelicans won 42-34 on Sept. 29.

**In 4A, District 9-4A rivals Lakeshore, the second-seed and Pearl River, the 31st-seed hook up for the second time in three weeks. The Titans beat the Rebels 47-20 on Oct. 27.

**In 5A, District 3-5A rivals Acadiana, the third-seed, and Comeaux, the 30th-seed meet for a second time. The Wreckin’ Rams won 49-13 on Oct. 6.

**In Division I, St. Augustine hosts Catholic League rival Jesuit in the opening round of the Division I playoffs as well. The Purple Knights beat the Blue Jays 37-24 on Sept. 22. St. Augustine defeated Jesuit 54-38 in the Division I quarterfinals in 2013. Jesuit beat St. Augustine 42-14 in the first round in 2014 en route to winning the Division I state championship. The Purple Knights defeated the Blue Jays 13-7 in the 1978 Class 4A state championship game before over 44,000 fans in the Superdome.

**In Division III, Country Day and Episcopal are not district rivals but face a rematch. The Cajuns beat the Knights 31-23 on Sept. 15 in Metairie.

**In Division I, Rummel travels to Byrd for the first time since 2011. The Yellow Jackets eliminated the Raiders 35-24 in the 5A quarterfinals that season. Rummel beat Byrd 21-20 in overtime in the quarterfinals in 2002 at Lee Hedges Stadium. In 2013, the Raiders downed the Yellow Jackets 23-22 for the first ever Division I state title following the split of select and non-select schools.

**Kenny Sears gets to experience going against his alma mater, Holy Cross, when his St. Paul’s Wolves host the Tigers Friday night.

**The odds of a 32nd-seed defeating a top-seed are very slim but not out of the realm of possibility. In 2002, E.D. White Catholic was the top-seed in 3A and lost 20-19 to West St. Mary. In 2011, St. Paul’s was the top-seed and lost to Central 35-28. West St. Mary and Central both proceeded to lose in the next round.

**Only 30 percent of top-seeds have won state titles (32-of-106) while 56 percent of top-seeds (59-of-106) have reached the state championship game.

**Of last year’s defending state champions, Karr (4A), Sterlington (3A) and Evangel (DI) are top-seeds this season. Lutcher (24th) is the lowest seed for a defending champion. The Bulldogs won the 3A title a year ago but are in 4A this season. Landry-Walker (14th) is very dangerous despite its seed in 5A.

**Sterlington is the defending 2A state champion but the Panthers are in 3A this season and earned the top-seed. Defending 1A state champ Logansport is the fifth-seed.

**In Division II, St. Thomas More is the fourth-seed while in Division III, Riverside is seeded fifth and both are threats. In Division IV, Southern Lab won the title on the field last season but was stripped of its title and is ineligible this year. Ascension Episcopal was awarded the title later and the Blue Gators have moved up to Division III and are the seventh-seed.

**Super powers Evangel Christian and John Curtis Christian, the oft-cited reasons for the split in prep football by critics, are seeded to square off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Dec. 9. Since the two giants were enjoined in the same classification beginning in 2007, they have met every season with the exception of 2015 in the playoffs, including four times in state championship games. The Patriots have won six of the nine meetings.

**In 2007, Curtis won 29-10 in the semifinals. In 2008, The Patriots won 35-21 in the 2A title game. The Eagles won 18-13 in the 2009 Class 2A title game. Evangel won 28-14 in the 2010 Class 2A championship game. Curtis blasted Evangel 38-6 in the 2011 Class 2A semifinals. The Patriots whipped the Eagles 35-13 in the 2A title game in 2012. Curtis hammered Evangel 40-6 in the 2013 Division II semifinals. Curtis won 13-7 in the Division I quarterfinals in 2014. Evangel eliminated John Curtis 27-6 in the Division I semifinals a year ago.

**Curtis and Evangel have combined to win 40 state titles on the field, though the Patriots were stripped of their 2013 state championship in a controversial ruling that the Curtis is still fighting.

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