Jesuit won’t enter the playoffs as the favorite to repeat as Division I select champion.
The Blue Jays instead are the No. 8 seed in the 10-team field announced Sunday by the LHSAA.
Jesuit will bring a 4-6 record into Saturday’s all-Catholic League first-round matchup at Tad Gormley Stadium against No. 9 seed Shaw.
“We are approaching it one game at a time, and the playoffs give us a little bit of new life,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “Last year, we took it one game at a time. We had as hard a road as anyone to get to the title — harder than anyone in Louisiana in all five classes. It looks to be the same again. We’ll give it our best effort.”
Songy’s team took Brother Martin to the wire Friday, losing 49-46 in a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
“Despite giving up the points we gave up last week, I think over the last three weeks we’ve continued to get better as a football team,” Songy said. “The game Friday night could’ve gone either way.”
The 2015 season has been a work in progess for the Blue Jays, who graduated the bulk of the starters from last year’s team, which won the school’s first title in more than 50 years.
“I thought we would have a chance to be a better football team by Week 3,” Songy said. “At least that’s what we wanted to have happened. It just took our guys a little bit longer to develop. We have to get over this last loss real quickly and realize that it’s one game at a time now. We have a common opponent that’s a Catholic League opponent that we hope to give everything that we’ve got. It’s going to be a war. The winner is lucky enough to draw Rummel again.”
Rummel, which repeated as Catholic League champion, is undefeated against Louisiana teams this season and earned the No. 1 seed in Division I. The Raiders have a bye this week.
“We’ll use this week to rest up some,” said Jay Roth, whose team didn’t have an open date during the season.
Jesuit–Shaw is one of two first-round games in Division I. The other also is a District 9-5A rematch: Holy Cross will play St. Augustine on Friday at Gormley. Holy Cross beat St. Aug 23-19 two weeks ago.
“It’s a huge challenge,” Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo said. “I’m sure everybody feels the same way where we would like to go to the old (playoff) system where we aren’t seeing the same teams we just saw three weeks ago. We know St. Aug will be ready. They are the best two-win team we’ve ever seen.”
The winner of that one will play No. 2 seed Evangel Christian in the quarterfinals.
The other four Division I teams have byes, but their quarterfinal opponents are set.
Brother Martin is a No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 Catholic of Baton Rouge, while No. 4 seed St. Paul’s will host No. 5 John Curtis. Curtis reached the title game last year before falling to Jesuit.
For Jesuit to repeat what it did last season, it first will have to repeat something it did just three weeks ago: Beat Shaw.
“We have had success playing people twice in the past, but I don’t know what to make of that,” Songy said. “Shaw is a potent football team. We are expecting a heck of a fight.”
In the nonselect large-school classifications, 15 local schools will be playing in the playoffs.
Warren Easton, which reached the Class 4A title game last season, is the highest-seeded local team in its classification, at No. 5.
Destrehan, which reached the 5A title game last season, is the highest-seeded local team in its classification, at No. 3.