Whether it’s the ragtag team against the monstrous champions or David stepping up to Goliath with nothing but a rock and a sling, Baker coach Richard Oliver is always pulling for the underdog.
It’s the way he likes it, and that’s exactly the position his team is in as it heads into Friday’s playoff game against Livonia.
“We love the underdog role,” Oliver said. “You’ve got to pull for the underdog.”
The Buffaloes had a rough go of things in recent seasons, failing to make the playoffs for eight consecutive years. Between the 2010 and 2013 seasons, Baker won a total of nine games. To make matters worse, only twice did they defeat a district opponent: Glen Oaks in 2011 and 2013.
Oliver said some of it has to do with the other big-name programs in District 7-3A providing more competition than the squad of slightly more than 30 players can handle.
Programs like University Lab, West Feliciana or Port Allen receive most of the praise in the district — and rightfully so, Oliver said.
But now Baker is getting its chance to show they’ve moved past the dreary days of old as the No. 32 seed in the upcoming playoffs.
“We have nothing to lose, and the whole world to gain,” Oliver said. “We’re a team that’s not supposed to be there. But a chance to play — there’s a reason you play the game, because anything can happen.”
Another team that finished in the lower tier of 7-3A, Brusly joins the Buffaloes at the bottom end of the playoffs as the No. 31 team. The Panthers travel to Church Point on Friday after finishing the season on a two-game win streak with victories at Glen Oaks and Baker.
Unlike Baker, though, Panthers coach Erik Willis isn’t listing his team as too much of an underdog. Instead, he chooses to view Brusly as a late bloomer, coming together at just the right time.
“You want to be the best team you can be in Week 11, and I think we are,” Willis said. “I think we’re the best team, this week, than we’ve ever been. As a coach, I think that’s how you want to feel. We’ll see if it’s good enough.”
Willis calls his Panthers the “best almost team of the past two years” after the group lost in the playoff sto the eventual state champions in both seasons in Parkview Baptist and Union Parish.
Willis said he hopes for an interesting game with Church Point who runs the same Wing-T offense as the Panthers, but knows people are underestimating his team after coming out on the wrong end of a brutal schedule, particularly in district play.
“We haven’t beaten anybody,” Willis said. “We lost to Port Allen and West Feliciana. We definitely got pushed to the back burner because we didn’t earn it. Hopefully we can earn it back this week.”