“Takin’ Care of Business” is a 1970s rock anthem Baby Boomers know well.
It’s also a motto high school football coaches swear by as their teams look to lock down a playoff berth by winning that last regular-season game.
“This is the third straight year where it’s been fairly simple for us,” Live Oak coach Tut Musemeche said. “You win and you get in. That’s not a position Live Oak has been in much over the years. It just reinforces the importance of winning that Week 10 game.
“We’ve got a senior group who has been through this, so they know what needs to happen. Making that happen is the tougher part.”
Live Oak (4-5, 2-3) is ranked No. 32 in the Class 5A power ratings released by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Thursday. If the playoffs started Thursday, the Eagles would get the final 5A playoff spot.
Instead, LOHS hosts Central (3-6, 1-4) for its season finale. The Eagles are one of several Baton Rouge 5A/4A teams on or near that playoff bubble as the regular season closes. All games start at 7 p.m.
The scenario for the frontrunners is simple. Catholic High (8-1, 4-0) has already wrapped up the District 5-5A title. The Bears face East Ascension (5-4, 2-2) at Olympia Stadium.
EAHS is part of the three-team Ascension Parish jumble for second place. Dutchtown (4-5, 2-2) hosts St. Amant (5-4, 2-2) in an all-Ascension matchup.
However, in this case, second place is not the main issue. It’s how far a win can move a team up in the power ratings. EAHS is 15th, while St. Amant and Dutchtown are at 21st and 23rd.
“It’s a case where we need to go out and take care of business for ourselves,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “In the end, whether or not you execute and do the things you need to do … that’s on you. We’ve played well, but we’ve also had times where we’ve been our own worst enemy.”
Ninth-ranked Zachary (8-1, 5-0) can clinch its first outright district title in 4-5A with a win at Broadmoor (3-6, 2-3). The Broncos, who tied for the 4-5A title with Central in 2010, are currently fourth in the power ratings that were reworked to reflect five forfeits by Bossier City’s Parkway High.
Denham Springs (5-4, 4-1) travels to nearby Livingston Parish rival Walker (0-9, 0-5) looking to clinch a winning season and perhaps move up from No. 20 in the power ratings.
Plaquemine (8-1, 3-0) can clinch its second straight District 6-4A title. The Green Devils host Tara (3-6, 1-2), a team that also has something to prove. The Trojans are 37th in the 4A power ratings and could be on the outside looking in when the LHSAA’s announces its playoff pairings with a live pairings show at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Fox Sports New Orleans.
“We are going to approach this one the same way we have all the others,” Tara coach Cooter Mansur said. “We’ll go out looking to do everything we can to win. Obviously, Plaquemine is a big challenge for us. We need to be able to limit or eliminate our mistakes.
“(The Trojans) know where we are in terms of making the playoffs. We’ve laid it out for them the last two or three weeks. The only thing we can control in this is what we do in the game we play.”
Low impact forfeits
Parkway, last year’s 5A runner-up, lost its Wednesday appeal of sanctions issued last week by the LHSAA. The school was cited for using a player the LHSAA ruled ineligible following an investigation.
Zachary figured to be the one local team that could be impacted by the Parkway forfeits. The Broncos lost to Shreveport’s C.E. Byrd to open the season and Byrd is rated No. 2. Byrd already beat Parkway earlier this year in district game and garners points for each opponet’s win under the power ratings system. Neither team saw their ratings drop significantly.