By itself, the word “midseason” doesn’t inspire excitement or much anticipation about greater things to come.
Put midseason and football in the same sentence and you’re talking the language Louisiana high school football fans love.
There is reason for optimism and for caution as Baton Rouge’s teams embark on the second half of their respective seasons this week.
If you’re a glass is half empty kind of fan, you can’t imagine things getting much better for your team. If you’re the glass is half full sort, well then the sky is the limit isn’t it.
With the Louisiana High School Athletic Association again hosting nine state football championships in December in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome why not?
Live a little and dream a little. You can bet your team and plenty of others are.
There’s hope even for the teams that are winless or have just one win.
Do you believe in miracles? Sometimes, I do and 1991 is one of the reasons why. Of course, 2010 is another.
Ascension Catholic lost five of its first six games in 1991 but went on to finish as the Class 1A runner-up with an 8-6 record. The Bulldogs of coach Bucky Mistretta, the father of current Livonia High coach Guy Mistretta, won the 1A title the next year.
White Castle was not among the prime 1A picks in 2010, but upended Ouachita Christian to compete a storybook run to a state title.
Sometimes all it takes is a spark or one of those “Ah-ha” moments that can put a team on the path to a deep playoff run. Now we’re all wondering who has that spark. Who’s going to have a breakout season?
Statistically speaking it’s always been tougher for the area’s Class 5A teams. No Baton Rouge team has made it the title game since the class started in 1991. There’s your challenge, Districts 4-5A and 5-5A. Have at it.
Yet there are possibilities, whether it’s Catholic High, which will compete in the Division I select playoffs or Zachary, a 5A quarterfinalist last year. Could it be someone else like McKinley High or say St. Amant?
Plaquemine advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in a couple of decades last season, and the Green Devils certainly have a chance to exceed that finish in 4A.
The move by John Curtis and Evangel into the Division I select ranks certainly opens things up for last year’s runner-up, University High, in Division II. But the 3A contingent could again include last year’s runner-up Livonia. West Feliciana is a few years removed from a semifinal berth. Donaldsonville has loads of talent. Episcopal was a Division III semifinalist last season. East Feliciana and its nearby rival, Northeast, are 2A teams to consider.
Southern Lab is 1-4 and has played a tough schedule. The Kittens could be this year’s ACHS, only it’s a Division IV title they’re shooting for. Madison Prep seeks its first district win in its second varsity season this week. With four shutouts to their credit, who’s to say the Chargers can’t factor into the Division IV picture.
Heck, Ascension Catholic has its chance in Division IV. And then there’s White Castle, 4-1 and at it again.
Yes, it takes skill and solid game plans to claim a state title. If there’s any magic out there we’ll take that too.