Teurlings Catholic football coach Sonny Charpentier said the thought process concerning his school’s decision to play up a division in the select state playoffs didn’t require a lot of discussion.
With the uncertainty over the number of schools from Class 4A playing in Division II, Charpentier said the fact that crosstown rival St. Thomas More opted to move into Division I for the postseason simply made sense for the Rebels, who are a Class 4A team.
“It didn’t matter to me,” said Charpentier, who’s now in his 17th season. “We had the mindset to play up, and so did STM. We’ve never been afraid of competition. If we had our druthers, we’d all be together. But that’s not the case, so we decided to play up.”
District 5-4A champion Teurlings Catholic (8-1) will carry an eight-game winning streak into the first round of the Division I select playoffs when the No. 7 Rebels entertain No. 10 Holy Cross (5-5) in Friday’s opening round.
“We’re excited about everything,” Charpentier said. “This is all new to us playing these guys. It’s a fresh feeling. We told our guys after the game Friday to enjoy the regular season until Monday morning.”
Teurlings learned its opponent Sunday when the LHSAA unveiled its pairings. Teams in the select division are scheduled to play four state championship games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, Dec. 5.
St. Thomas More (9-1) finished second to Teurlings in the district but, with a higher strength of schedule, earned a No. 3 seed and a first-round bye.
Notre Dame of Crowley (8-2) completed a perfect run through District 6-3A and received a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye.
Catholic-New Iberia (10-0) continued adding to a special-season-in-the-making with a No. 1 seed in Division III that included an opening-round bye.
The Panthers wrapped up the school’s first undefeated regular season since 1966 and capped a 5-0 mark in District 5-2A play with a 42-0 victory over Delcambre.
“More important than the 10-0 record is a No. 1 seed,” coach Brent Indest said. “I know we a got a little help with the Parkway forfeits, but I’m not apologizing to anybody for going 10-0 with the schedule we faced. We need to take full advantage of being No. 1.”
Catholic locked down the division’s top seed by virtue of its 16.58 strength of schedule rating compared to No. 2 Calvary Baptist’s 16.30 — a figure that could have been enhanced had it not been for the forfeit of five games by Parkway.
The result not only enabled CHNI to stand No. 1 but also placed the Panthers on the opposite side of the bracket from Calvary Baptist, the reigning state champion, and No. 3 Riverside Academy (10-0).
“It’s no secret that most people would like to be opposite Calvary and Riverside,” Indest said. “Anybody that’s seen our schedule knows we didn’t duck anyone. We earned everything we got. Some of the teams we defeated are going to make a run at their state titles. We’ve played a lot of strong football teams.”
No. 8 Opelousas Catholic (9-1) gets another opportunity to face District 6-2A foe and No. 13 Westminster Christian (1-9) after handling the Crusaders 49-7 last week.
Reigning Division IV state champion Vermilion Catholic (9-1) is one of four teams from District 8-1A, with the top-seeded Screaming Eagles hosting No. 16 Houma Christian (6-4).
“I’m proud of the kids,” coach Russell Kuhns said. “We lost the first game of the year (42-14 to CHNI), and then we really responded — and that’s a credit to the kids and the hard work they put in.”
With a 16-team bracket, VC will get a sterner first test than in previous years under the 32-team format. Houma Christian, which started 0-2, won a share of District 9-1A and finished the season Friday with a 32-29 win over Country Day.
“It will definitely be tougher ... but that’s fine,” Kuhns said. “I welcome competition, and we’ll have our guys ready. And if we win that game, it will only get harder.”