It’s not like De La Salle need any extra incentive as it pursues the school’s first state championship in football.
Buoyed by a second consecutive undefeated season, the Cavaliers likewise have earned the top seed in the Division II state playoffs for a second straight year in pairings announced Sunday by the LHSAA.
But, unlike a year ago, the District 10-3A champions are determined to avoid the hiccup that struck in the 2016 state semifinals in which an 11-0 season was derailed by a 34-14 loss to fifth-seeded Parkview Baptist.
[See the playoff brackets at http://www.lhsaa.org]
“We pray every day to stay humble and hungry,’’ said De La Salle coach Ryan Manale, who is completing his sixth season in charge of the Cavaliers program. “What 2016 did for us was is to allow us to stay hungry. We were 10-0 last year. We know now to stay humble and stay hungry and see how we can improve.’’
Having drawn a first-round bye, De La Salle (9-0, 4-0 in 10-3A) has a week off to prepare for what it hopes is a three-game assault on bringing a state championship trophy back to St. Charles Avenue.
The Cavaliers have made only trip to a state final, that coming more than five decades ago in 1961 when coach Buck Seeber directed the then Catholic League champions to an 11-2 season that ended with a 20-7 loss to Istrouma in the Class 3A championship game.
Having won 19 straight regular-season games and 20 of their past 21, the Cavaliers are scheduled to open the Division II playoffs as a host team against the winner between No. 8 Hannan and No. 9 Vandebilt Catholic on the weekend of Nov. 17-18.
De La Salle was the lone area team to draw a top seed in the four divisions of select schools vying for berths in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic scheduled for Dec. 7-9 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
John Curtis slipped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the Division I playoff field behind top-seeded Evangel, despite completing a second consecutive undefeated run to a Catholic League championship.
Curtis (9-1, 6-0 in District 9-5A) also drew a first-round bye and awaits the winner between No. 7 St. Paul’s and No. 10 Holy Cross in the quarterfinals.
St. Augustine, Brother Martin, Rummel, Jesuit and Shaw drew the Nos. 5, 6, 9, 12 and 13 seeds in the 13-team bracket of Division I qualifiers, all of whom, including Curtis, St. Paul’s and Holy Cross, were guaranteed playoff berths before the season.
St. Augustine and Jesuit, scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium, are reprising a Week 4 meeting that St. Aug won 37-24.
A Rummel victory against Byrd in Shreveport on Friday would give the Raiders a second meeting against Curtis for a second consecutive season after a 42-34 loss in Week 9.
St. Charles Catholic and Lusher are the other area teams joining De La Salle and Hannan in the Division II’s 13-team bracket. St. Charles and Lusher are seeded No. 3 and 12 with St. Charles joining De La Salle and No. 2 University with first-round byes.
Newman earned the highest seed at No. 2 in the Division III bracket behind No. 1 Notre Dame.
Defending state champion Riverside is the No. 5 seed in the Division III field and host No. 12 Northlake Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.
Country Day and Pope John Paul II round out the list of local teams in Division III’s 13-team bracket.
St. Martin’s was the lone area team to advance to Division IV’s 16-team playoff field. A No. 16 seed, the Saints travel to face top-seeded Vermillion Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday.