McKinley coach Robert Signater admitted there’s a bit of poetic justice involved in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s new system for releasing its football playoff pairings.
“It’s Sunday morning, so first you go to church and pray. Then you go home and find out what happens,” Signater said.
In between breakfast and another NFL Sunday afternoon, the LHSAA will release its pairings live via television. The 2014 All-State Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Football Prep Pairings Show is at 10:30 a.m. on FSNO.
The LHSAA voted in January to end its annual football pairings meeting that was a Sunday fixture for coaches around the state for more than 25 years. The ability to swap films digitally was a major reason for the change.
On the eve of the playoff pairings release, Signater was one of two local/area coaches who were uneasy.
McKinley (4-6) was 35th in the power ratings released by the LHSAA before a 21-13 Thursday loss to another playoff team, Woodlawn (6-4).
“I told myself I wasn’t going to look at the power ratings other people put out there, but I did anyway,” Signater said. “I think we’re good enough to be one of the top 32 teams in Class 5A, but that’s not what those ratings have.
“We lost, but then so did the other teams ahead of us, so I thought there was a chance. Based on what we’re seeing, it doesn’t look like we’ll get in. Everything out there now is unofficial, so I’ll be looking to see what (the LHSAA) have tomorrow.”
Rob Funderburk of Catholic-Pointe Coupee was hopeful after the Hornets ended their season with a 42-8 win over New Roads rival False River Academy on Friday. Several power ratings services have CHSPC (5-4) at either No. 17 or 18 among Division IV select schools.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for Funderburk because the LHSAA’s executive committee voted over the summer to reduce the number of Division IV select playoff teams to 16 in order to hold its select and nonselect championships on separate weekends at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next month.
“Last night there were no tears or goodbyes because we didn’t know for sure what would happen,” Funderburk said. “Now if Sacred Heart had beat St. Edmund, we’d be in because we’d be a district champion, but that didn’t happen. I also know we could have helped ourselves by doing some things differently early in the year.
“What really upsets me is that on the other side (nonselect schools), a team we beat by four touchdowns will have the chance to go to the playoffs. Teams that haven’t won a game will have the chance to get in the playoffs. It just doesn’t seem right.”
Two District 7-3A teams represent the other side of the coin. Livonia’s Week 10 win over Church Point in District 5-3A will likely bring a shift at the top of the Class 3A ratings with LHS being No. 1 and Church Point No. 2.
A shift at the bottom of the playoff spectrum also took place. Brusly appeared to be just outside the top 32 at No. 33 before a win over Glen Oaks Friday and is now listed at No. 31. Even though Baker lost to top-ranked University, the Buffaloes will apparently hold their No. 32 spot.
The teams are so confident that Baker has already swapped films with Livonia and Brusly has done the same with Livonia.
“Over the years when we had the meetings, I’ve seen those guys standing at the back of the room waiting and wondering,” Brusly coach Erik Willis said. “Some of them secretly didn’t want to get in because they’d have to play a No. 1 like Curtis. Now that I’m in that situation I can’t wait to play. Now Church Point might be four or five touchdowns better than us. At least we’ll have that chance.”
Baker coach Richard Oliver added: “We’re happy to get in. I think it’s been seven years since Baker has been to the playoffs. This is about building something for the future.”