A year ago at this time, Carencro had already picked up its equipment and contemplated rebounding from a 3-7 season that included three losses by a touchdown or less.
Fast forward to the events of the weekend, in which Carencro celebrated a share of the District 3-5A championship and received a No. 8 seed in the Class 5A nonselect playoffs complete with a first-round home game against No. 25 Covington.
“We had opportunities to be in games with a lot of the teams last year,” Carencro second-year coach Rip Eveland said. “We lost three games I felt we shouldn’t have lost. We had a lot of guys coming back who were juniors and sophomores last year. The youngest guys were on defense. We’ve had some young guys who have done a good job for us and played well in big games and helped us win.”
Carencro was among the big winners in the Acadiana area Sunday when the LHSAA released its pairings with the eventual destination being the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Dec. 12-13.
The Bears, who defeated co-champion Barbe 35-21, closed out the regular season with four straight victories. Three of their contests were decided by a touchdown or less, culminating with a 21-17 victory over Lafayette.
“It was nice to share in that after the game,” Eveland said. “We were more emotional after the Acadiana game (a 24-17 win). I think the kids were happy they won.”
Reigning Class 5A state champion Acadiana (6-4) won three of its past four games and received a No. 15 seed where the Wreckin’ Rams will host No. 18 St. Amant (6-4) at Bill Dotson Stadium.
“We’re happy we were able to kind of finish strong,” Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said. “We’ve struggled off and on with some things offensively, but right now we have a positive outlook, and hopefully our best football’s ahead of us.”
Davidson said that his program has scrimmaged St. Amant over the past 30 years but has never faced the Gators in the regular season or playoffs.
“It’s always been a pretty good measuring stick for both teams, and that’s why the scrimmage has continued for as long as it has,” Davidson said. “We all feel we get a lot out of it, and it’s a good measuring stick.”
District 5-3A runner-up Church Point is the area’s highest seeded team with the Bears (9-1) drawing a No. 2 seed and will host No. 31 Brusly (3-7).
Class 4A featured the biggest contingent with five teams making the field and three of those getting home games.
No. 13 Crowley (8-2) entertains reigning state champion No. 20 East Jefferson (6-4), No. 14 Rayne (8-2) hosts No. 19 Leesville (6-4) and No. 15 Breaux Bridge (6-3) welcomes No. 18 West Ouachita (7-3).
No. 26 Northside (4-6) travels to No. 7 North DeSoto, while Cecilia (4-6), the area’s lowest seeded team at No. 27, visits No. 6 Landry-Walker (7-2) Thursday at Berhman Stadium in Algiers.
“It’s nice to be back in the playoffs again,” said Cecilia coach Terry Martin, whose team missed the playoffs the past two years. “We hit a dry spell the last couple of years. Some of the juniors that are playing actually played as freshmen. Now they’re getting a little older and I’m happy for them to be in.”
Cecilia helped its playoff cause with two wins over Westgate and Northside in its last three District 5-4A games before losing a nondistrict game to South Terrebonne 49-20.
“We’ve lost so many close games the last couple of years,” Martin said. “We knew if we won a couple here and there, we’d have a chance to get in. We know we’ve played some teams that are comparable to (Landry-Walker). If we go and play well, we feel we have a shot.”