A disappointing conclusion to the regular season didn’t overshadow Ascension Episcopal’s entire body of work.
The 9-1 Blue Gators, who lost a chance at the outright District 7-1A championship in a 46-22 defeat at Central Catholic-Morgan City on Friday, received the No. 1 seed in the Division IV select playoffs when pairings were released Sunday.
“I was pleased for the kids to get a No. 1 seed,” coach Michael Desormeaux said. “If nothing else, it’s a good feeling going in knowing that you earned that spot.”
Ascension Episcopal, which advanced to last year’s second round, hosts No. 16 St. Frederick (6-4) of Monroe in first-round action Friday.
“Only 16 teams are in, so there aren’t a whole lot of gimmes,” Desormeaux said. “You’ve got to work for them all. You’re essentially in the second round right away. We’re proud and excited to have it. We’re going to have to play well to get through the first round.”
District 7-1A was well represented with No. 2 Vermilion Catholic (8-2), No. 3 Central Catholic (9-1) and No. 8 Highland Baptist (7-3) garnering first-round home games.
The Screaming Eagles will host No. 15 Covenant Christian (6-4), Central Catholic entertains No. 14 Grambling (6-4), and Cedar Creek (6-4) visits Highland Baptist (7-3).
“I think it says we’ve got some real good players in the district and coaches that do a good job of preparing their kids well,” Desormeaux said. “It’s exciting when teams from your district are getting in and are seeded well. It’s good for everybody.”
The Acadiana area placed 10 teams in the select brackets, with Division II featuring No. 2 St. Thomas More (8-2) receiving a bye and No. 6 Teurlings Catholic (7-3) hosting No. 11 St. Michael the Archangel (3-7).
District 5-2A champion Notre Dame of Crowley (10-0) is part of a rugged Division III bracket. The Pioneers were seeded third, and league foe Opelousas Catholic (7-3) was No. 12.
The division features two-time defending state champion Calvary Baptist (8-2) and Ouachita Christian (9-1), which moved up in classification after winning last year’s Division IV state crown.
Notre Dame’s one of three undefeated teams in the bracket along with No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas (10-0) and No. 4 Madison Prep (10-0).
“There’s a lot of quality in the bracket this year,” Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook said. “You look at our record, and we’re third. That shows you the strength in this division.”
Cook said he was aware of the tough terrain that awaits Notre Dame, which dropped in classification to Class 2A this season.
The Pios, who received an opening-round bye a year ago, had to win only one game to reach the Division II semifinals, falling at eventual state champion University High.
“That wasn’t much fun, having to deal with a bye,” Cook said. “(Last year) we got to the semifinals by playing one game. This time around, you have to play three games and would have gone through some serious competition. It’s going to fun.”