HLB Football

South Lafourche was in, then they were out.

Then they were in again — all within a span of about 12 hours.

The Tarpons finished the season as the No. 32 team in Class 4A power ratings — a spot which normally would put you into the playoffs as the last team in the field without question.

But this year, the Tarpons looked like they were going to be at home because Istrouma earned their way in and were going to seemingly take their place. They finished No. 37, but earned an automatic bid because they finished in a three-way tie as district champions.

LHSAA bylaws say that all district champions earn automatic bids into the playoffs — a rule that usually doesn’t come into play because most teams that win their districts easily earn postseason bids.

But this time, Istrouma was an exception to the rule and the Tarpons were left by the wayside — for about six hours, at least.

The Tarpons started “offseason mode” on Saturday morning. Forsythe even said he was disappointed and thought his team was out of the playoffs.

But then, it happened.

Word leaked on Saturday afternoon that there was a fight in the Landry Walker and Belle Chasse game. That, combined with Landry-Walker playing multiple ineligible players caused a forfeiture for Landry Walker, impacting the playoff chase.

The Charging Bucs were also banned from postseason play, so suddenly, the Tarpons hopped back in.

They’ll be the No. 31 seed this weekend, playing No. 2 Neville.

Other locals didn’t get that rare chance at an 11th game, but they’re hungry for their next chance to play.

H.L. Bourgeois, Ellender, CCA and Houma Christian didn’t compete in postseason this year.

Almost all of those teams had the same thing in common — youth.

H.L. Bourgeois coach Ryan Fournier said his team was brutally young this season — especially considering how tough the local Class 5A district is.

Fournier said the Braves’ coaches cleared out their field house on Friday night — making room for incoming freshmen and moving out 2019’s seniors.

On Monday, the offseason begins.

The Braves were 1-9 in 2019.

“We’re ready to get back to work and get started,” Fournier said. “We know we have something special going here. And the kids know it, as well. We were young, but we think we’re going to come back and be bigger, stronger and have a chance to compete against everyone on our schedule.”

At Ellender, the Patriots need to boost their numbers. At the end of the season, Ellender was down to the bare bones — just more than 30 kids.

Almost all of them were young and many of them showed promise.

But McCormick knows he has to get depth in the future.

In one game, the Patriots literally ran out of healthy offensive linemen.

“Those guys battled for us. They gave us everything they had,” McCormick said. “But we just run out of gas. We have some talented kids coming back, but we have to build our numbers and get depth back into our program. We were close this year — frustratingly close. But we just made some mental mistakes and so many of those mistakes, I think, we can look back and point to we just got tired or were playing kids who were young.”

Over in the “small school” ranks, both CCA and Houma Christian will sit out the postseason this fall.

CCA didn’t make it into the field in Division IV, finishing with a 2-7 record. The Lions started hot, but faded late, losing several players throughout the year.

Coach Randy Boquet said this wasn’t his most talented team, but he said it was a fulfilling group to coach.

“They worked hard and were all coachable,” Boquet said. “They didn’t question us. They came to work, put in the time and focused just on getting better.”

Houma Christian had an automatic bid if they wanted it in Division III, but they passed. The Christian Warriors were 1-9 on the season — their lone victory coming on Friday night against Delcambre.

The Warriors could have played an 11th game, but opted against it because they’d have been pit against a powerhouse program.

Houma Christian is young and will return the core of its team in 2020 with several talented younger players also making the leap to varsity ball in the coming seasons.

Follow Casey on Twitter for more. 

https://twitter.com/casey_gisclair

Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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