Last weekend was all about figuring out who would get the highest seeding positions for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs.
Now coaches for some of Baton Rouge’s highest seeded nonselect schools have reversed field. They want their teams to forget those seeding numbers as the playoffs begin Friday at 7 p.m.
“Here’s the thing … I don’t think we’re necessarily a three seed, and I don’t think Airline is a No. 30 seed,” Zachary High coach David Brewerton said. “Airline has played some of the toughest competition in the state with Byrd, Parkway and Haughton in their district.
“They had the lead on Parkway last week. Our whole theme this year has been about physicality. Well, that’s going to get tested big-time.”
Third-seeded Zachary (9-1) hosts Airline (3-7) in a 5A game that helps lead a large number of first round games.
Paul Distefano of top-seeded Plaquemine High (9-1) feels much the same way. His Green Devils host No. 32 McDonough 35 (2-7). Ditto that for fourth-seeded East Feliciana in Class 2A and fifth-seeded West Feliciana in 3A.
“We’ve had a great season and met every challenge so far,” Distefano said. “Once the playoffs start you’ve got to be ready every week. McDonogh 35 proves that point.
“They’re a number 32 seed, but early in the year they took a team from district, Lutcher, to overtime. Lutcher is a playoff team. You never know what you’re going to get from your team or the other team. Anything can happen.”
East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson expounded on one of the points Distefano made. Anderson’s No. 4 Tigers (6-3) host a Shreveport-area team, No. 29 Lakeside (3-7) at Clinton Middle School.
“You’re playing with 14, 15 and 16 and 17-year-olds,” Anderson said. “Every week can be a new adventure because you never know for sure how they’ll play or what they’ll do.
“With that said, I’m proud my team. They’ve gone beyond what a lot of people expected. Based on what I’ve been of Lakeside on film, they’re solid. There’s no sure thing. We need to play our best.”
West Feliciana coach Robb Odom doesn’t see the same thing most people see in his team’s first-round matchup. The Saints (8-2) host No. 29 Westlake (2-8). Odom said what looks like a mismatch is more of a numbers-related optical illusion.
“Westlake is 2-8, but they were in every game they played,” Odom said. “A turnover or a big play by the other team hurt them. They could have very easily been 5-5 or maybe even 6-4.
“A lot of people thought last year would be our year, but it didn’t happen. Westlake reminds me a lot of Brusly from our district. Brusly is a No. 31 seed and they played us down to the wire.”
Playoff teams and deep playoff runs are nothing new for first-year Livonia High coach Guy Mistretta, who led Redemptorist to a Class 3A state title in 2005.
Mistretta’s top-seeded Wildcats (9-0) host No. 32 Baker (4-6) in a 3A game that has special meaning for Mistretta and his team that includes 10 players from Pointe Coupee Central, a 1A school consolidated into LHS this fall. A year ago, the Wildcats lost to Union Parish in the 3A title game.
“We’ve got different levels of experience in the playoffs,” Mistretta said. “The guys from PCC lost in the first round last year. This one means a lot to them.”
A 5A reunion
East Ascension (5-5) hosts Sulphur (6-4) in a No. 16 vs. No. 17 match-up that matches EAHS coach Paul Bourgeois against his former team. Bourgeois was head coach at Sulphur from 2002-09 and led the Tors to a runner-up finish in 5A in 2006
Bourgeois has a nephew and a cousin playing for Sulphur. The biggest news for EAHS is the return of quarterback Kyran Irvin and running back Joshua Walker. Both have been cleared to play after missing last week’s game with Catholic because of concussions.
“I would rather have us on one side the bracket and Sulphur on the other with both of us going as far as we can,” Bourgeois said. “It took me a while to get used to this. The good thing is we’ve got a lot of family here to visit.”