After three months of waiting, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Prep Classic is finally almost here.

The LHSAA’s annual football championships, which begin Friday in New Orleans, provide a highlight for many high school sports fans. Expect the two days of games to offer a much-needed escape for some of us.

In many ways, the 2012 fall season has provided a mixed bag of good and bad. On a given day, it was hard to predict what would happen.

It started out with a Hurricane Isaac, which disrupted not only sports seasons, but also the lives of many involved in high school athletics. Though not as devastating as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the storm tested the spirit of many involved in high school athletics.

As the football season evolved, we all seemed to emerge from the bad times the storm caused. Teams flexed their muscle on offense with a number of high-scoring shootouts that thrilled fans.

There were also impressive volleyball victories, as well as records set in cross country and swimming.

Sportsmanship issues cropped up from time to time on the football field. Sometimes, I’d witness players and coaches jawing at each other and at officials. There would be pushing and shoving.

However, the story of Many High runner Derrick Small, who stopped running his race at the LHSAA Cross Country Championships to help another runner having an asthma attack, offered the flip side of sportsmanship.

I like to think of Prep Classic week as the final bridge to the winter and spring seasons.

And now I’m eager to reach into the high school sports bag to see what happens this week and beyond.

Classic information

Tickets for the Prep Classic can be purchased at participating schools or in New Orleans this week.

Tickets are $16 (general admission), $19 (loge level) and $25 (suite level) this week.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this week.

Fournette honored

St. Augustine High running back Leonard Fournette was selected as the 2012-13 Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year last week.

The 6-foot-1, 232-pound junior rushed for 2,155 yards and 34 touchdowns for the New Orleans-based Purple Knights, averaging 10.6 yards per carry. He also caught 35 passes for 457 yards and four TDs. He also returned two kickoffs for TDs. Fournette is eligible to win Gatorade’s national award that will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Umpires meeting

Baton Rouge’s softball chapter of the Louisiana High School Officials Association will hold its second preseason meeting at 6 p.m. Sunday

The election of 2013 officers, mandatory mechanics clinics and registration for the 2013 season will be among the key topics. Rule books and other information will also be provided. All veteran umpires and those interested in becoming a high school softball umpire this spring should plan to attend. Jan. 11 is the deadline for softball officials to register.

Contact assignment secretary Paul Dufour information at 225-933-9376 or send email to Dufour at

Prep notables

St. Michael the Archangel boys soccer coach Paul Fletcher won his 100th game at the school last week.

The Warriors defeated Central on Wednesday night to give Fletcher his milestone win.