Each year, the NFL has a series of games in which its teams wear throwback jerseys from a different era.
High school football doesn’t have games with old-style jerseys. However, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Prep Classic is in many ways a throwback event this year.
All 10 teams set to compete in the two-day football championships at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans have a history of playing for state titles.
Games begin Friday at 3 p.m. with Class 1A as top-seeded Ouachita Christian (14-0) takes on No. 6 West St. John (12-2). At 7 p.m., seventh-seeded Edna Karr (11-3) plays No. 1 Neville-Monroe (13-0) for the Class 4A title.
Saturday’s schedule starts at 11 a.m. with traditional power John Curtis (13-0), seeded No. 1, taking on No. 2 Winnfield (14-0) in the 2A final. At 3 p.m., No. 2 St. Charles Catholic (14-0) meets No. 4 Amite (12-1) in the 3A title game.
The two-day event ends with the Class 5A game at 7 p.m. that matches No. five West Monroe (12-2) meets No. 7 Carencro (13-1).
Each game has its own story within a story. Consider the Class 5A game to provide one notable example.
Carencro won a 5A title in 1992, beating Neville in what was the final game for a legendary Neville coach, the late Charlie Brown.
The last time the Bears were in the 5A title game was 1996. That year, they lost to West Monroe. Interestingly, WMHS was the 5A runner-up to another Lafayette area team, Acadiana, last season.
Also notable in a real throwback kind of way is the 2A final between Curtis and Winnfield.
Curtis is making its 17th straight appearance in a title game, and coach J.T. Curtis notched his 500th career win earlier this season. Curtis has won 23 state titles in 30 title-game appearances.
By bouncing Shreveport’s Evangel Christian in the semifinals, Curtis beat the team it had lost to in the last two title games.
Enter Winnfield, making its first finals appearance since the 1980s. Winnfield ended a string of three Curtis titles by beating the Patriots to win the Class 2A title in 1982. The Winnfield-Curtis game is lone game between the top two playoff seeds.
Then there’s the saga of the three former Southern University teammates who were part of a 1993 Jaguar team that won the Black National Championship.
Karr’s Jabbar Juluke, Amite’s Alden Foster and West St. John’s Robert Valdez all have their teams in the finals.
It is the first title game appearance for Valdez. Juluke coached Karr to a runner-up finish in 4A last year. Foster led St. Helena Central to a runner-up finish in 2A to West St. John in 2004.
Consider some other notable facts about the 1A game. Ouachita Christian was the 1A runner-up last season, losing to White Castle High. OCS meets a team from the Baton Rouge-river region for the second straight year in WSJ.
West St. John is in a title game for the first time since being as the 1A runner-up in 2007.
In Class 4A, Neville seeks its second title in three seasons. The 3A game between Amite and St. Charles offers some notable comparisons.
Amite is in a title game for the first time since winning the 3A title in 2004. St. Charles, coached by veteran coach Frank Monica, is also part of a Baton Rouge-river region district.
Monica coach St. Charles to runner-up finishes in 2A to then district rival Curtis in both 2005 and 2006. Monica, a long time Tulane assistant, won a 3A title at Lutcher in 1978, three years beore the start of the Prep Classic in New Orleans.