John Curtis, Karr, U-High, Notre Dame, Oak Grove top CCS preseason state football rankings
Louisiana continues to award championship trophies to an absurd number of nine schools in a state where there are just 211 football playing schools. Hopefully, that will change in January and the expectation is that it will.
With McKinley ineligible a year ago, the LHSAA’s Division I had just 12 teams in the playoffs with seven of them from the same district, a true injustice to those schools and players.
How many “true” state champions are crowned annually? That continues to be up for debate.
Last year, Zachary, Karr, Eunice, Amite, Kentwood, John Curtis Christian, University Lab, Notre Dame and Lafayette Christian took home titles.
At least two of those will not repeat this year as defending Division IV champion Lafayette Christian has moved up from Division IV to Division III to compete with the likes of Notre Dame, Catholic of New Iberia and Newman while always tough St. Charles Catholic is now there as well.
Eunice has moved up from Class 3A to 4A to compete with heavyweights Karr, Warren Easton and Neville, among others.
Other notable moves include Evangel Christian moving from Division I to Division II, leaving the imposing division where John Curtis Christian and Catholic of Baton Rouge reside and joining a division with St. Thomas More, among others.
Traditional power Lutcher moves down from 4A to 3A, where the Bulldogs have always enjoyed success. The same is true of McDonogh 35, usually quite good but not last year. The move to 3A will benefit the Roneagles.
Country Day, which made a big run a year ago, drops down from Division III to Division IV to compete with Southern Lab, Ascension Catholic, Ouachita Christian and Vermilion Catholic, among others. The same is true of Calvary Baptist, which will be a threat in Division IV.
The end result is that four of the nine defending champions occupy top spots in our CrescentCitySports.com preseason Top 10 rankings for 2019.
In 5A, John Curtis Christian looks like the best team in any classification with most of its starters returning. The Patriots have no weakness, including a superb coaching staff. Catholic of Baton Rouge has been to the Dome three times and four years and has beaten Zachary three straight years. The Broncos have won consecutive state titles and have Keilon Brown. West Monroe came so close a year ago and an excellent roster has the Rebels poised to possibly win their first state title since 2011. Archbishop Rummel has perhaps the fastest and most experienced defense in Louisiana.
In 4A, how do you pick against Karr? Despite the fact that the Cougars lost 15 starters, they are still extremely talented and well coached. Warren Easton was a step away last year and the Eagles return more of their key players. Evangel Christian can score with anyone and has a terrific quarterback in Blake Shapin. The same is true of St. Thomas More and Caleb Holstein. Neville is good again and a definite threat.
In 3A, University Lab lost its coach and several key players from back-to-back championship teams but the Cubs are still very good. St. James has its best team since reaching the title game in 2015.
Sterlington scored 47 points and lost in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last season. De La Salle is better than a year ago and the Cavaliers were in the Dome two years ago. St. Martinville is coming off of a very good season and will be very good again.
In 2A, Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame. It is very, very difficult to pick against the Pios and Lewis Cook and winning another state championship. Amite is loaded again and poised for a repeat title. Many may have its best team ever and will challenge Amite for state honors. Catholic of New Iberia proves itself every year and this year should be no exception. Lafayette Christian will threaten Notre Dame and Catholic.
In 1A, Oak Grove made it to the title game last year and whipped West St. John on a bad field to get there. Country Day has a brilliant dual-threat quarterback in Justin Ibieta. West St. John may be better than both and will play Country Day in district play. Southern Lab is still very talented despite graduating some key players. Haynesville, as always, will be a threat to win it all.
With that, here are our preseason rankings from CrescentCitySports.com for 2019:
1) John Curtis Christian
2) Catholic (BR)
4) West Monroe
5) Archbishop Rummel
7) John Ehret
8) East Ascension
Others to watch: Ruston, Terrebonne, Hahnville, Brother Martin, East St. John, Slidell, Holy Cross, St. Augustine, Byrd, Ouachita Parish, Captain Shreve, Haughton, Jesuit, St. Paul’s, Walker
2) Warren Easton
3) Evangel Christian
4) St. Thomas More
9) Helen Cox
Others to watch: Plaquemine, Northwood, Leesville, Belle Chasse, Carver, Breaux Bridge, Livonia, North DeSoto, Assumption, Westgate, Carencro, Tioga, Teurlings Catholic, Pearl River, Franklinton
1) University Lab
2) St. James
4) De La Salle
5) St. Martinville
8) Union Parish
9) Lake Charles College Prep
Others to watch: Madison Prep, Parkview Baptist, Church Point, Jena, McDonogh 35, E.D. White Catholic, North Webster, Wossman, Archbishop Hannan, Crowley, Northwest, St. Louis Catholic, Baker, Jewel Sumner, Jennings
1) Notre Dame
4) Catholic (NI)
5) Lafayette Christian
6) St. Charles Catholic
Others to watch: Kinder, St. Helena, Ferriday, Ascension Episcopal, Rayville, Episcopal, Franklin, East Feliciana, Vidalia, Rosepine, Pine, Red River, St. Thomas Aquinas, Lake Arthur, Capitol
1) Oak Grove
2) Country Day
3) West St. John
4) Southern Lab
6) Ascension Catholic
7) Ouachita Christian
8) Calvary Baptist
10) Vermilion Catholic
Others to watch: Oberlin, Basile, St. Edmund, St. Frederick, Delhi, Central Catholic, Sacred Heart, Covenant Christian, Cedar Creek, East Iberville, Sicily Island, Homer, Gueydan, Slaughter Community Charter, Montgomery
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association,…