With the way the last four weeks of the season had gone for North Vermilion, what was a little overtime to conclude the regular season.
The Patriots went into the meat of their District 6-3A schedule with a 1-5 record before starting a stretch Oct. 17 in which they won two of three games but still needed another victory to entertain any postseason hopes.
North Vermilion, with a power rating of 36th before Friday’s finale at Erath, may have catapulted themselves into the Class 3A nonselect playoffs with a 27-24 overtime win over the Bobcats.
“I’ve been looking at it and think we bumped up a few spots,” North Vermilion first-year coach Richard Prejean said. “I was kind of worried about getting in even with the win, but I think it’s pretty safe to say we’re in now. We just have to wait for the dust to settle and see where we have to go.”
North Vermilion (4-6) will have plenty of company of interested bystanders from the Acadiana area when Fox Sports New Orleans broadcasts the AllState Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Football Prep Pairings on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
With the top 32 teams qualifying for the Class 3A bracket, North Vermilion is optimistic about its chances of landing a berth after Dade Dieterich scored on his team’s first offensive play in the overtime and in the process may have knocked Erath, with No. 29 power rating going in, out of the playoffs.
The Patriots won the toss in overtime and elected to go on defense and held the Bobcats to a field goal.
“I just tried to focus on the here and now and get the kids to realize we had to win our way in,” Prejean said. “The theme all last week was that we controlled our destiny. If the seniors wanted to play another week, we were going to have to have a great week of practice, and it showed Friday. We executed pretty well on offense.”
District 5-3A runner-up, Church Point (9-1), appears to be in line for the highest seed among Acadiana nonselect schools with a No. 2 projection in the Class 3A bracket behind archrival Livonia.
The area will be well represented in the select bracket with Catholic High-New Iberia (10-0) expected to command the No. 1 seed in Division III and reigning state champion Vermilion Catholic (9-1) in Division IV.
St. Thomas More (9-1) finished as the District 5-4A runner-up to Teurlings Catholic (8-1), but the Cougars are projected to be the fourth seed in Division I and receive a first-round bye.
Two teams playing the painful waiting game in the nonselect brackets are No. 30 seed Northside and No. 35 Eunice in Class 4A.
The Vikings (4-6) concluded a tough stretch Friday with a 65-35 loss at Teurlings, resulting in their third straight loss and fourth in the past five games.
“It’s looking like we’re going to be in, but I’m not exactly sure where,” Northside coach Trev Faulk said. “It’s been a tough finish to the year. We’ve played some good football programs but going into this next part of the year would be a big deal for us.
“There’s an excitement of having the opportunity to play one more week. That would definitely get our kids’ minds where they need to be.”
Eunice (4-6) began the season 3-1 before enduring a five-game losing streak with three games decided by a touchdown or less.
The Bobcats finally snapped that stretch with a 47-7 win Friday over District 4-4A foe Beau Chene.
“We finally had our best game of the season; finally got a break after nine games,” Eunice coach Paul Trosclair said. “The best we could do would be 32, and that would be fine with us. We just want to get in.”
Eunice’s chances may have hit a snag Saturday when Bonnabel defeated Helen Cox 18-7, thus enhancing the chances of McDonogh 35 — a 2-7 team — of moving into the 32nd and final spot ahead of the Bobcats.
“I hope it’s not too late,” Trosclair said. “I feel right now we’re at our best. For us that would be a great opportunity. But it’s not in our hands anymore.
We needed Helen Cox to win, and that didn’t happen. We’ll have to wait and see.”