Brother Martin’s Ryan Gallagher and Teurlings Catholic's Mike Boyer find themselves at a crossroads as venues for select school football games are being hammered out.
It is an intersection where goals of two college programs and the desire for the LHSAA’s select schools to secure a top venue for their first stand-alone football title games could collide.
Though select title games are a month away (Dec. 5-7), there are no immediate answers. Select schools are working on possible scenarios.
The LHSAA will release its playoff pairings for all classes and divisions Sunday.
"As a Tulane fan I would love to see the school host a conference championship game,” said Gallagher, Brother Martin's principal. “That would be great. But by the same token, if (Tulane) manages to advance to the (American Athletic Conference) title game, I would like to see us playing at that venue.”
The Green Wave can still qualify for the AAC title game. Meanwhile, UL's Cajun Field could be the site of a Sun Belt Conference title game and Teurlings could possibly play there if it's available. Both Tulane and UL are required by their conferences to reserve their facilities until they are no longer in title-game contention.
The conference title games also are scheduled for Dec. 5-7.
The other catch? Sites for the select games are contingent on the highest seed agreeing to or selecting a site. However, the LHSAA’s select schools are moving toward tentative plans for their select title games in each division.
“There are definitely a lot of moving pieces. What happens with the college sites is only part of it," said Boyer, the Teurlings principal. "And it will come down to who the top remaining seeds are. The thing we are trying to do is be prepared for whatever does happen.”
Representatives for select schools plan to attend Thursday’s LHSAA executive committee seeking answers to questions as a follow-up to executive director Eddie Bonine’s memo sent out last week. Bonine’s memo detailed the particulars for the select games that created as stand-alone events by a proposal from Boyer in January.
Boyer represents Division II and Gallagher Division I. Catholic-New Iberia’s Stella Arabie (Division III) and Andrew Yepson of Ruston's Cedar Creek (Division IV) are the other representatives.
This comes after months of uncertainty. In September, select schools rejected the option to return to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Prep Classic played in the Mercede-Benz Superdome. That vote required unanimous approval, something that no select division had. The LHSAA's nonselect schools will play in the Prep Classic Dec. 13-14.
Boyer and a group of Lafayette-area principals from Divisions II, III and IV schools met with UL officials last week. Should multiple Acadiana area teams host, they would like to pursue putting the games together on one day.
Bonine’s memo calls for select games to be played at 7 p.m. on one of the three possible dates, which brings up one key question. If UL plays Saturday, could Sunday be an option?
Gallagher has been in talks with Tulane and said other sites, including Tad Gormley in New Orleans and Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge are among the contingency plans.
The scenario in Division IV presents numerous of scenarios, Yepson said.
“Our division is so balanced that it could be possible for anyone in the top 10 to make it to the title game,” Yepson said. “There are sites all around the state to consider.
"In north Louisiana we have the ULM and Louisiana Tech as college sites and in Shreveport there is Independence Stadium, which hosts high school games every week. But if Ouachita Christian is the higher seed, they may want to host. They just put in artificial turf."
Going into Week 10 of the regular season, Rummel (Division I), St. Thomas More (Division II), Lafayette Christian (Division III) and Ascension Catholic (Division IV) are the No. 1 seeds.
“It was important for us to have these conversations now and be proactive,” Arabie said. “We want these events to be the best they can be for our student-athletes and school communities. Even though we have to wait to see who qualifies, we know what each other’s thoughts are and hopefully are ready to make the best decisions.”