With Red Stick Bowl XVII now over, we can pretty much close the book on the 2018 high school football season.
Not every team or player got exactly what they wanted. I would like to think something needed — like mastering a technique or learning a life lesson — did take place and helps set the stage for good things to come.
Class 5A Zachary and Division II University were title winners at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic last weekend. The Broncos and Cubs claimed their second straight titles and were two of the nine LHSAA title winners.
U-High’s win over St. Thomas More was perhaps not as dominant as some expected. STM came in with the good scheme and game plan, along with more depth. A record-setting number of penalties probably did not help the flow the game for either team.
But … one of the eight records set in U-High’s 55-46 victory still astounds me. When Acadiana beat Parkway 77-41 in the 2013 Class 5A final a record for total offense by two teams was set. I was not sure it would ever be broken, but U-High and STM did it with 1,210 yards. The win was the 26th in a row for the Cubs.
The final two games of the Prep Classic were fan favorites. Edna Karr’s 28-20 win over district rival Warren Easton was impressive. Zachary’s 27-24 victory over top-seeded West Monroe was just as riveting.
Zachary beat all the odds by winning three straight road playoff games, including wins over the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds before knocking off top-seeded West Monroe to win its title.
Not sure a team has ever had to play three straight road games or beat the top three seeds to win a 5A title before. The Zachary-West Monroe and Zachary-Destrehan games are certainly the best two-game playoff sequence I’ve seen. It's hard to forget Zachary's 67-57 semifinal win over Destrehan.
WAFB’s Jacques Doucet tweeted a clip of Chris Hilton racing 80 yards to the end zone to score the winning TD vs. West Monroe and dubbed Hilton a legend. Make that a legend with two more years of eligibility remaining. And another local receiver with an LSU offer for 2021.
Critics can complain about the lopsided scores in multiple Prep Classic games. However, the second year of bringing all select and nonselect teams back together for three days of games worked as well as it could. The three-day total of 58,131 fans included 28,043 for Saturday’s three-game session.
Now for my big, sappy finish. Only a few teams get to win their final game of the year in any sport. That fact does not make every other team a loser. A loss is the kind of adversity that is part of sports and life. No one should ever like to lose, but a loss can also be a springboard to a future triumph.
With all that said, 2019 winter and spring sports championships here we come.