Fambrough: New LHSAA director Eddie Bonine has a lot of work ahead of him _lowres

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH From left new LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine greets Richard Smith and Mitch Small during his introductory news conference Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Who was the king of the hill in football among large schools in Louisiana this year?

Was it Division I select school champion Jesuit?

Or was it nonselect Class 5A champ Acadiana, which beat Destrehan 23-7 on Saturday night in the final game of the LHSAA Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic?

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is available Sunday, so let’s settle it on the field.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do that this year (or last year either), thanks to the LHSAA’s decision to have the split select and non-select playoff format.

Will the split format continue next year or will things go back to the old way?

Eddie Bonine, who was officially introduced as the new LHSAA director on Saturday at the Superdome, talked about it late Saturday night during the Class 5A title game.

In a nutshell, it’s too early to tell.

“When I talk to people, I hear some who like the split and want to split even further,” Bonine said. “Then I have some that talk about they want to get everybody back together and have a true state championship in one week. Some just want to add another classification. I won’t say they are good ideas or bad ideas, but they are all ideas. I don’t want to push anything through. I just want to move forward with what we are going to do.”

Bonine, who has pent seven years as executive director of the high school athletic association in Nevada, plans to do plenty of research.

He said he’ll talk to administrators, coaches and principals to try to see what’s best for Louisiana. A decision about the future format is expected to be reached in January.

“At this particular juncture, my job is to get as much information as I can to figure out how Louisiana got where they are now with the split championships,” he said. “I want to make any recommendation that is data driven and information driven. My job is to get any information I can. For me, it’s about moving good solid policy forward. When we do that I think we are making a good sound decision in the process. We need to make sure that when we do that, it’s not affecting just certain groups, but it’s powerful for everybody.”

Although not talking specifically about the split, Bonine showed signs that he is willing to make changes when needed.

“I’m a whiteboard guy,” he said. “What that means is when we put something on that whiteboard, we make sure we use dry erase markers. When you write on something with a permanent marker, you ruin the board and it’s there and it takes some cleaning to get it off. If something is not working, I’m not too proud to say it’s not working.”

Bonine was pleased with what his saw Friday and Saturday, the two days of the nonselect championships.

For the most part, he watched some competitive games that drew nice crowds.

Attendance for the five games Friday and Saturday was 27,707.

Throw in the crowds from last week, including the huge draw of the Jesuit and John Curtis game, and the total announced attendance for the nine state championship games was 63,991.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Bonine said. “Football is truly the king down here.”

Here’s hoping next year we get to see who the true king is.