The last time St. Amant High School won a football playoff game was 2001. Donald Trump’s catch phrase “You’re fired” was all the rage the last time the Gators hosted a playoff game, back in 2004.
Obviously, it won’t take much for coach David Oliver to get his 10th-seeded team fired up. Of course, Zachary coach David Brewerton said much the same thing about his second-seeded squad.
The teams from different local Class 5A districts provide a perfect juxtaposition for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s nonselect football playoffs. The LHSAA released its nonselect and select brackets Sunday, offering the one thing every team wanted: a shot in the playoffs.
“This is something we’ve wanted and worked toward,” Oliver said. “I think we’ve established ourselves. This is our fourth year in a row to make the playoffs. Hosting a game takes it up a notch. We believe The Pit is one of the best places to play a high school football game. We know Covington is very good. We’re excited to have this opportunity for our fans.”
St. Amant and Zachary are part of a 10-team local 5A contingent that claimed playoff berths Sunday.
District 4-5A champion Zachary (9-1) grabbed the No. 2 seed, the highest in school history. The Broncos will host No. 31 Sulphur (5-5). St. Amant (8-2) hosts No. 23 Covington (6-4).
“Sulphur is a real intriguing matchup because they’ve got some impressive skill players,” Brewerton said. “When we put that tape on the screen for our guys, I’m sure it will get their attention. And when you look at their schedule and see they lost to (defending state champion) Acadiana 32-30 ... well that’s another attention-getter. Last year, I thought our team did a good job of staying focused on each game in the playoffs, and I hope this one can do the same.”
Districts 4-5A and 5-5A placed 10 teams in the playoffs. Only one team with Baton Rouge area ties got a higher seed than Zachary: 3A top seed Lutcher (9-1), which St. Amant beat early in the year.
“I told our guys Friday night that the district champion we won was important because we want to win championships,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “But I also told them that No. 1 seed would be important. You want to be seeded as high as you can be, and you can’t go higher than No. 1.”
Lutcher, which hosts Avoyelles (4-6), jumped past No. 2 Eunice (9-1) to claim the top 3A spot thanks to its Week 10 win over previously unbeaten De La Salle, the No. 3 team in Division II select.
The saga for other area nonselect teams is lower key. Plaquemine (7-3), seeded 12th, hosts 21st-seeded Carver (6-4) to lead the Class 4A group. The Green Devils were a semifinalist last year, but coach Paul Distefano understands this is a different year.
“You can’t control who you draw,” he said. “All we can do is go out and play. We get a home game, which is a great place to start.”
Woodlawn (6-4), seeded 17th, just missed a home playoff game and travels to No. 16 Carencro (7-3). No. 18 Livonia (7-3), last year’s 3A state champion, travels to LaGrange (6-3).
Starting the playoffs with a home game also was pivotal for West Feliciana. The Saints (6-4), seeded 13th, host No. 20 Jennings (5-5). No. 24 Brusly (at Kaplan) and No. 27 Port Allen (at North Webster) also made the cut. Both No. 7 East Feliciana (Pine) and No. 11 Northeast (DeQuincy) will host in 2A, while in 1A sixth-seeded White Castle drew a bye.