Many high school football coaches downplay the importance of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s statewide high school football polls.
Livonia High coach David Brewerton isn’t one of them. At least not this year.
“The polls were great for us, and I guess part of the reason why was that it had been a while since Livonia’s got this kind of attention,” Brewerton said. “We encouraged our kids to get a copy of the paper and look at them (polls) every week.
“We also told them to look at the power ratings, too. We told them as we won, they could see themselves move up in both places.”
The Wildcats (9-1) garnered a No. 5 playoff seed in Class 3A on Sunday when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association released its playoff pairings. Livonia is also the fourth-ranked team in the final LSWA polls, leading the local contingent in 3A. Defending champion Parkview Baptist (6-3) moved up two spots to No. 7 in 3A.
Livonia hosts North DeSoto (4-6) to open the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday. PBS hosts Shreveport’s Loyola Prep (5-5), also on Friday.
Baton Rouge’s two unbeatens, Dutchtown High and University, retained the lofty rankings they’ve held most of the year.
The Griffins (10-0) are ranked second in Class 4A and are a No. 4 playoff seed for the LHSAA. DHS will host Ponchatoula (6-4) Friday.
“Overall, I think the kids handled the situation with the polls fairly well,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “I downplay that kind of stuff as much as possible. But I know they hear about it out in the community and at home.
“We did hit a lull there for a few weeks and didn’t play as well as we could have. Maybe we did get a little too full of ourselves with the attention. Friday night, (in a win over Catholic High) we played as complete a game as we have since early in the season. I like that fact.”
University (10-0) continues to be ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A poll behind traditional power John Curtis (9-0) and Winnfield (10-0). The Cubs are a No. 6 playoff seed and will host Ferriday Friday.
“I’m pleased with how our guys handled all the things we’ve faced this year,” UHS coach Chad Mahaffey said. “The polls really weren’t something we talked about. We focused more on the power ratings.
“But had we got to a point where I thought we were going the wrong way in terms of attitude or preparation, I would have done it (talked about the polls). The polls are something people recognize.”
In Class 4A, Lutcher High (9-1) moved up to No. 3 this week. The Bulldogs also got a No. 3 playoff seed.
“People follow the polls and if you look at scrapbooks 10 years from now you’ll find them in there,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “Being third is an honor. Because the Lafayette area is so strong, I’m not sure if we’re the third-best team. But I do know we’re playing our best football right now, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Around the polls
No metro area team is ranked in the Class 1A top 10. Kentwood (8-2), from nearby Tangipahoa Parish, is rated 10th.
Dutchtown and Lutcher are the only teams with local ties ranked in the top 10 in 5A or 4A. Assumption (9-1) is fifth.
Three other Tangi teams are also part of the 3A poll. Amite (8-1) is third, while Loranger (9-1) is sixth and Independence (7-3) is ninth.
In Class 2A, Episcopal (9-1), the runner-up to UHS in 7-2A, is once again ranked fifth. Also notable in 2A is the return of defending champion Evangel Christian (5-5) to the top 10 at No. 10.
Lakeshore in playoffs
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association reversed field and changed its football playoff bracket for Class 4A on Monday to include Mandeville’s Lakeshore High.
Now, as the No. 31 seed, the Titans (5-5) travel to Lafayette to play No. 2 St. Thomas More (9-1). Archbishop Shaw-Marrero (3-6) was dropped from No. 31 to No. 32 and will now play top-seeded Neville-Monroe (9-0).
Riverdale-Jefferson (4-5), previously the No. 32, was bumped from the playoffs.
Lakeshore’s appeal to the pairings committee was denied Sunday on the grounds that the school had not been in the LHSAA for a two-year period required by its current by-laws to compete for championship honors.
Early Monday, Lakeshore officials came to the LHSAA requesting to appeal the decision by the members of the executive committee on the pairings committee. After consulting with LHSAA attorney Brad Lewis, Executive Director Kenny Henderson moved forward with the appeal.
Through the process of the appeal, Henderson said it was discovered that when Lakeshore joined in 2009-10, its by-laws did allow schools to compete for championship honors immediately.
“It’s our mistake … all of this is on us,” Henderson said. “It’s my mistake.”
And the appeals are not over yet. Riverdale plans to appeal the latest decision on at 9 a.m. Tuesday.