Select schools have gotten better end of Louisiana high school football split
Another year of high school football in Louisiana is in the books, and the winners are … the select schools.
Yes, seven years and 11 months after the football playoff split was a yes vote from the majority of public school principals around the state, the evidence is clear.
Select schools (their term, not mine) are ahead and pulling away.
If you don’t believe that to be true, you are entitled to your opinion.
The evidence says otherwise.
In Class 2A, are there any schools that could defeat Lafayette Christian? Or St. Charles Catholic? Or Newman? Or Notre Dame?
Lafayette Christian’s best player, five star recruit and LSU signee Sage Ryan, was injured in a second round playoff victory over Episcopal. Without Ryan, the Knights dispatched top seeded Newman in the semifinals and then defeated a very good St. Charles Catholic team in the championship game.
On the second to last week of the regular season, eventual Division I champion Catholic defeated 5A titleist Acadiana, 27-21.
Division II champion St Thomas More, who won a thrilling championship game over De La Salle, defeated Catholic of Baton Rouge, 39-38, in the regular season. The Cougars also posted a Nov. 13 win over eventual state 4A champion Carencro, 37-22.
Vermilion Catholic reached the semifinals in Division IV. In four district games in the regular season, the Eagles rolled through opponents by a combined score of 217-41.
Watching the championship games, there are also non-select schools (their term, not mine) that posted sterling resumes.
Eventual 1A champion Oak Grove owned a regular season win over Division IV champion Ouachita Christian, and 4A finalist Edna Karr, who had their championship streak snapped at four, owned regular season wins at Catholic and over John Curtis.
However, the playoff football on the select side was far more compelling. In the eight select semifinals, six were decided by 14 or fewer. Three games were decided by two points or less.
Catholic Baton Rouge defeated Brother Martin by 18 points, and the outlier was De La Salle’s 42-2 win over E.D. White in the Division II semifinals.
In the non-select semifinals, four of the 10 contests were decided by six points or fewer.
In the two highest classes, 5A and 4A, the margins of victory in the semis were 23, 16, 42 and 22 points.
In Class 2A, eventual champion Many won their semifinal 83-36 over General Trass.
Oak Grove won its semifinal, 59-12, over Homer.
When the split was enacted, the hue and cry was for fairness and competitive balance. That has happened, but not the way Winnfield principal Jane Griffin and Many principal Norman Booker envisioned it.
Winning a select school championship is becoming increasingly difficult, even will smaller brackets.
Just ask Ryan Manale of De La Salle, Frank Monica of St Charles Catholic and Nelson Stewart of Isidore Newman School.
Each year these outstanding coaches produce quality squads.
In late December, they are asking, “What do I have to do to win it all?”
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…