Livonia coach David Brewerton and Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard have a lot more on the line than just a spot in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs when their teams meet Friday night.
The loser is going to have to hear it from the winner all hunting season long.
“Should he (Brewerton) win, I have to take him deer hunting at my place and make sure he gets a buck,” Blanchard said. “Should I win, he has to take me on my first duck hunting trip. He’s a big duck hunter and I want to get my first duck.”
It’s hard to tell which prize is more coveted for the friends-turned-coaches who are squaring off for the first time in three years after previously spending several seasons suit at the same school early in their coaching careers. Brewerton and Blanchard’s bond extends beyond their coaching days, back to when the pair attended Catholic High for a few overlapping years.
The two went on to be groomed as coaches in a similar manner, working together on the CHS freshman team right out of college. After their days with the Bears, Brewerton and Blanchard reunited at Redemptorist under Sid Edwards for several seasons, before parting ways and earning own head coaching gigs.
But even when they parted ways, their friendship never faltered.
“Guy and I obviously have known each other for a long time, and he’s just a good guy,” Brewerton said. “We talk two or three times a week. We bounce ideas off each other, laugh and cut up about what it would be like to play each other in the playoffs.”
The joke became a reality Friday when Livonia topped Marksville 32-13 and Port Allen pulled out a 22-14 win against McMain, the team that knocked Livonia out of the second round last season.
Now their teams will face off, and one friend must send the other packing. Neither coach said it would be easy, but the two have the same mindset entering Friday night’s clash — it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.
“It’s always difficult to line it up against a friend, but you’re in the playoffs,” Brewerton said. “This is a business; it’s a profession. You’re striving to go as far as you possibly can and knowing that this Friday means the end for one of us, that makes it difficult.
“You’ve got to kind of put that friendship aside for a week and try to treat it as any other week.”
Blanchard echoed those sentiments, saying the two have even kept in touch this week leading up to the game, exchanging some good-hearted trash talking with each other.
“It’s hysterical,” Blanchard said. “I’m going to have fun with it until 7:00 Friday night. Then all feelings go out the window. If it was my mother on the other side of the field, I’d try to beat them. He’s a friend and he always will be a very dear friend. But the fact of the matter is Friday night is business.”
Blanchard said the friendly banter between the two coaches staffs has escalated into “full combat mode” already this week and expects the same type of battle to spill over onto the field Friday night.
“It’s going to be a slobber-knocker. There’s no doubt,” Blanchard said. “They’re going to come in here really amped up and ready to play. Our guys are really excited about it.
“We’re going to get after each other pretty good.”