3 Livingston parish teams headed to round playoffs

Similar ups and downs during 2017 left the Denham Springs, Walker and Live Oak football teams with similar records to finish the regular season.

Now the three are in similar positions as the Class 5A playoffs get underway: comfortably in the 32-team field, but having to hit the road for the first round.

Walker (6-4) is seeded 19th and will travel to the New Orleans area for a matchup with reigning 5A champion Landry-Walker, while Live Oak (5-5) got in as the No. 22 seed and will face No. 11 seed Sulphur. No. 23 seed Denham Springs (6-4) makes the trip south to play No. 10 seed Hahnville in another playoff opener.

Walker is making its second straight playoff appearance after punching its ticket last year for the first time since 2001. Live Oak is in for the third straight year but only the fourth time since joining the 5A ranks in 2009.

Denham Springs returns after missing the field last year.

Elsewhere, Albany was rewarded with the school's first home playoff game thanks to an 8-2 finish in the regular season. The Hornets are seeded 15th and will entertain No. 18 seed Crowley on Friday in Albany.

Albany reached the playoffs last year for only the fourth time in school history but was quickly ousted by Carroll in a first-round road game.

Springfield's playoff berth means that all five Livingston Parish teams are in the postseason this year.

The Bulldogs (2-8) wiggled into the 2A field as the No. 32 seed despite losing their final eight games of the regular season and will travel to meet No. 1 seed Welsh in the first round.

The trio of District 4-5A squads from Livingston were all hard to figure as the regular season played out.

Walker entered 4-5A play with a 4-1 mark capped by a signature win at Parkview Baptist in its final nondistrict contest, then suffered blowout losses to Zachary and Scotlandville to open league play. A shutout of Denham Springs and a rout of Central sandwiched a disappointing loss at Live Oak.

Live Oak started the season 2-0 before losing five straight, then won its final three games of the regular season to enter the playoffs with a .500 record.

Highs for Denham Springs included lopsided wins against Live Oak and Central. A blowout loss at Scotlandville in Week 10 was among the lows.

Some good news for Walker came Friday night when sophomore quarterback Ethan McMasters returned to action for the first time since suffering a collarbone injury in Week 3.

Springfield volleyball falls short of state

The Springfield volleyball team was in position to make its first appearance in the state tournament after finishing the regular season 27-4 and earning a first-round bye in the Division III playoffs. But the Bulldogs couldn't capitalize as they were knocked out by No. 12 seed Westlake in a 3-1 home loss.

Westlake moved on to the state tournament in Kenner, while Springfield saw its breakthrough season come to an abrupt end.

Elsewhere, Live Oak volleyball opened the Division II playoffs with a 3-1 win against Edna Karr before falling to St. Scholastica 3-0 in the second round.

Live Oak, Denham Springs shine at regional meet

The Live Oak boys and girls cross-country teams will compete in the Class 5A state meet Tuesday at Northwestern State in Natchitoches after recording strong showings at the 2-5A regional meet. The Denham Springs boys also punched their ticket to state.

In the girls standings, Live Oak finished third behind regional winner St. Joseph's and runner-up Mandeville.

The Live Oak boys finished fifth in the team standings, followed closely by Denham in sixth place.

The top eight teams as well as the top 25 individual finishers were awarded trips to the state meet.

In individual competition, Live Oak's girls were led by 10th-place Claudia Henry and 20th-place Rylie Angelle, while sixth-place Justin Peters and 16th-place Nic Broderick paced the Live Oak boys. Fifth-place Christian Mallett and 17th-place Christian Knox were the top finishers for the Denham boys.

Kaye-Loni Bowden of Walker placed 14th in the girls race to earn a berth in the state meet.

Scott Hotard covers sports for The Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate. He can be contacted at shotard44@gmail.com or livingston@theadvocate.com.