Two years ago, University High was a No. 2 playoff seed and embarked on a two-year odyssey that brought a state title and a runner-up finish.
That same year, Madison Prep was a first-year varsity program that entered the playoffs as a No. 24 seed and lost in the first round.
The LHSAA’s select football playoff pairings were released Sunday, and they offer proof that, while things change, they also manage to remain somewhat the same.
“We knew pretty much what (the seeding) would be,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “It says a lot about what this group has accomplished. We lost our first game and then came back to win nine straight against some very good competition. Being a No. 1 seed is special. It puts you in the best position possible to win, and that means a lot, too.”
Defending Division II state champion U-High (9-1) claimed the No. 1 seed for the second straight season to help lead Baton Rouge’s group of select-school teams headed to the playoffs.
The Cubs get a first-round bye and appear to be on a collision course to face District 6-3A rival Parkview Baptist (7-3), the fourth seed, yet again. The teams played in the semifinals two years ago, and UHS beat the Eagles in the Division II title game last fall.
Fourth-seeded Madison Prep (10-0) of Division III brings something new to the playoff equation. The Chargers have enjoyed a breakout season and host No. 13 Archbishop Hannan (7-3) on Friday to open the playoffs.
Veteran MPA coach Michael Roach knows about the other top teams, including defending Division III champion Calvary Baptist (No. 6 seed, 8-2), top-seeded Riverside Academy (8-1) and No. 2 seed St. Thomas Aquinas (10-0). Roach has a modest approach.
“After the game Friday, we told our guys all we want to be is 1-0 this next week,” he said. “And then we want to go 1-0 the week after that, the week after that and the week after that. You’ve got some great teams in this group. Everybody has to play everybody else. All you can do is take them one at a time.”
University, Parkview and Catholic High don’t have to worry about that this week. As a No. 4 seed in Division II, Parkview also draws a bye and will host fifth-seeded St. Louis Catholic on Nov. 20. Catholic High (7-3), seeded sixth in Division I, gets a bye to prepare for No. 3 Brother Martin (8-2). That will be a rematch of a game Brother Martin won last year.
U-High’s Mahaffey noted the rematch possibility for his team, saying, “Our buddies (at Parkview) are right there, so we could possibly play again.”
Southern Lab of Division IV won’t have to wait for its rematch. And neither will The Dunham School in Division III.
SLHS hosts District 6-1A rival St. John (5-5). The Kittens beat SJHS 46-6 on Oct. 2. Dunham (7-3) travels to play Calvary in Shreveport. The Tigers lost to Calvary 59-21 in the quarterfinals last season.
“This is a different game,” Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall said. “That first one kind of got away from them. You can’t expect the same result in a different game.”
Episcopal (8-2), seeded eighth in Division III, hosts No. 9 Newman (7-2). In Division II, No. 11 St. Michael (3-7) travels to No. 6 Teurlings Catholic (7-3).