We all know football is a strangely fickle game.
Sometimes it hits you in the face with the kind of blow a heavyweight boxer delivers. And you never saw it coming.
Yet there are other times when it offers up a game that’s the kind of gift you’ll talk about and remember for years to come.
Friday’s select-schools portion of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic gave Baton Rouge fans a dose of both.
Those who arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome an hour or so after the first kickoff at 10 a.m. were greeted by something few expected — Ouachita Christian running away with a surprisingly easy 52-6 victory over Southern Lab in the Division IV title game.
OCS winning was certainly not a shock. The Eagles were seeded sixth, and Southern Lab was fifth on the playoff bracket. Monroe-based Ouachita Christian has a tradition that includes a Class 1A state title in 2012.
But 52-6? Really?
Southern Lab beat OCS 21-20 in the Division II quarterfinals last year. Think Rocky and Bullwinkle rolling down the side of the mountain, and the snowball that covers them gets bigger and bigger.
Things snowballed on the young Kittens. It was one of those days when everything Ouachita Christian did was right. Few things SLHS tried worked.
At that point I was concerned about what might happen in the All-Baton Rouge area game between top-seeded University High and No. 7 Parkview Baptist. As soon as PBS went for an onside kick, recovered it and scored to start the game, I knew we had something.
I couldn’t fully digest just how special the Division II title game between the District 7-3A rivals was until I was driving home a few hours later.
Both sides were convinced they didn’t play their best in U-High’s 46-32 win over PBS. You know what, they’re right. I’m sure each team has executed better. But that’s part of what made it so great.
This was the fourth time the Eagles and Cubs have played over the past two years. Those first three games seemed to be a bit clinical at times. The teams did what they do.
The raw emotion that was displayed by both on Friday night wasn’t on always on display.
They got after each other in a good way this time. They got physical and made plays. They made mistakes and did things no one expected.
If I’d asked you before the game which team would pass for four touchdowns your answer would have been U-High. But it was Parkview. The Eagles also completed a trick play — a double pass no less — for a 56-yard touchdown.
The Cubs’ Will Keller blocked three punts. One was recovered for a TD and another led to a safety. Take away the those points and who knows what happens. U-High also had an uncharacteristic five turnovers. I know the coaches hated it, but I think the fact both were pushed out of their “comfort zone” helped make the game great. So did the magnificent play of U-High running back Nick Brossette.
What a way for the workhorse back to finish his high school career. The LSU commitment set composite Prep Classic records for most carries with 37 and yards with 272 for University.
Brossette finished his five-year career with 8,706 yards, bettering the four-year mark of 8,603 yards set by current LSU running back Kenny Hilliard at Patterson High. I’ll leave arguing the merit of four-year totals vs. five-year totals to someone else.
Two days before the game, Brossette talked about wanting to “finish strong.” Mission accomplished.
Houston Robert’s effort for Parkview included 219 receiving/rushing yards with four touchdowns and was just as impressive. The Rice commitment came up big in his final game.
Each team got to take home a trophy that will go in a trophy case. Everyone, fans included, got some memories that should last forever.
Bullish on Bonine?
Some are already reporting that the LHSAA has got the man for its executive director job. Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Director Eddie Bonine is that man.
The week ended without a hiring announcement. President Vic Bonnaffee confirmed that the LHSAA is negotiating with a candidate chosen during an executive committee meeting early last week.
If Bonine is the man, here are some facts worth nothing. The NIAA had 109 schools this fall and those schools compete in 16 sports in four divisions.