Making claims about a team or an athlete being the “best ever” isn’t usually something a sportswriter should do. But I’m going to make an exception when it comes to 2015.
I think it was one of the top high school sports years ever for the Baton Rouge area.
There’s no such thing as a perfect high school year. You’ve got far too many teams and sports to make that possible. There’s room to argue about past eras. No one knows what the future will bring.
My opinion is based in part on that big finish. Who can forget that Baton Rouge teams won four state titles in football last month? Not many folks, I’ll venture.
There’s plenty of school pride to go around these days thanks to football titles won by Zachary in Class 5A, Catholic High in Division I, Parkview Baptist in Division II and Southern Lab in Division IV.
Don’t forget about Silliman Institute’s MAIS title. Class 1A Kentwood plays in a Baton Rouge-area district and 3A Lutcher recently played in a BR league, adding to a championship web of sorts.
The LHSAA’s split football playoff format has plenty of critics. I’m one of them. Nine football championships is too many for a state with the number of football-playing schools Louisiana has.
Though it’s fine to disagree with the LHSAA system, one should never criticize the outcome. Nor should the schools apologize for the titles won.
For others around the state, it was easy to talk about what didn’t happen. New Orleans and Shreveport teams were shut out. The Monroe area won one title.
The fact that Baton Rouge teams won four of nine titles — more than any other area of the state — was most impressive. The impact of those wins can’t be understated.
Zachary and Catholic won the first state football titles in their respective school histories. And Zachary became the first East Baton Rouge Parish-based public school to win a state title since Tara in 1974.
Of course, 2015 was about more than football. Any talk about title streaks starts with Episcopal, which won its 20th straight boys cross country title. Catholic (Division I indoor track) and Brusly (Division III wrestling) also built on their title streaks. So did St. Joseph’s Academy and Catholic High in Division I swimming.
Dominance is about more than titles. Scotlandville has appeared in an unprecedented six straight 5A boys basketball title games and has won three titles. Madison Prep added a 1A title to the Class B title previously won. University High boys and girls swept 3A titles for the second straight season.
St. Michael swept boys and girls 4A titles in cross country. The U-High girls also claimed a notable Division III girls soccer title.
My intention here is not to mention every team that won a state title. The fact is, Baton Rouge has been successful in a wide range of sports for years.
Critics can point out there were no titles in baseball, softball or volleyball. Catholic and Parkview played in baseball title games. Dutchtown’s breakthrough to finish as the 5A softball runner-up was also notable.
When you put this across-the-board success together with those four football titles, 2015 does look awfully good.
Was 2015 the best ever? I can make that argument.
Let’s agree that it was at least one of the best. Who knows what will happen in 2016? I can’t wait to find out.