You can call it high school football’s form of purgatory.
The regular season is over. The identities of the bubble teams that make the playoffs won’t be revealed until the LHSAA unveils its playoff pairings at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Fox Sports New Orleans.
It’s a “white knuckle” game shared by two District 4-5A coaches from seemingly opposite ends of the football spectrum.
“I’ve never been in this situation before,” first-year Walker coach Brandon Lawley said. “Before where I’ve coached, it’s been a situation where we were either in or out of the playoffs. There was no question.
“There’s no real closure or direction, and you’re not sure how to handle it. I told our team plan for practice Monday.
Walker (5-5) sat at No. 32 in the LHSAA’s Class 5A power ratings before Friday’s 29-18 loss to No. 2 Zachary (9-1). The Wildcats have never made the playoffs since moving up to Class 5A in 2003 and have surprised many after losing 18 straight over the previous two seasons.
Lawley is hopeful. But so are the other 4-5A Wildcats of Central (5-5). Coach Sid Edwards of Central has been through the playoff grind often. He won two state titles at Redemptorist and led Central to the quarterfinals just two years ago.
Central missed the playoffs last year. While the chance to go on the road to play No. 1 West Monroe might not appeal to some, Edwards is focused on the idea.
Last week Central was the No. 26 team in the 5A power rankings, but after a 24-21 loss to Live Oak has Edwards convinced his team may be the team that gains the 32nd and final 5A playoff spot.
“What people are telling me is that we’ll be 32 and go to West Monroe,” Edwards said. “Wouldn’t you know it, we beat (West Monroe) two years ago up there. And I’m sure they remember.
“But you know what, if they told us we needed to go play on Jupiter I’d get a spaceship. Just the chance means so much.”
With five nonselect classifications and four select divisions, there are plenty of possibilities for Baton Rouge area teams. Some are cautiously making game plans, while others are content to wait.
Dutchtown coach Benny Saia told one school he prefers to wait until Sunday before making plans and a film swap.
There are some givens. University (9-1) is the clear favorite to be the top seed in select Division II and will get a bye. UHS is the defending Division II champion.
Catholic High (7-3) is locked in the No. 6 spot in Division I and will play No. 3 Brother Martin (8-2) in a quarterfinal rematch after a bye next week. Madison Prep (10-0) was No. 4 in the Division III power ratings last week. Some sources have the Chargers playing Hannan (7-3). Southern Lab holds onto a top three spot in Division IV.
Zachary (9-1) figures to be No. 2 to in 5A. District 4-5A rivals like Central or Denham Springs could be among the Broncos’ possible opponents next week? Lutcher (9-1) is almost sure to stay No. 2 in 3A.
In Class 2A, it’s possible that Northeast and East Feliciana could swap their No. 8 and No. 9 roles. EFHS beat Northeast on Friday. Capitol (1-9), a 6-2A rival, could be a possible first-round opponent.
“You know, I don’t know what to think about it (seedings, power ratings),” first-year Brusly coach Marc Brown said, noting his team was 27th in 3A last week. “We’ll go play whoever they tell us to play.”