Locals need Cinderella run

November 11, 2015
Terrebonne sheriff’s federal grant records questioned
November 11, 2015
November 11, 2015
Terrebonne sheriff’s federal grant records questioned
November 11, 2015

Man, man, man where has all of the time gone?

It feels like just yesterday I was as busy as can be, hustling through all 11 of our area’s high schools so that I could whip up the preseason previews that encompass our annual prep football preview guide.

And now here we are in the present and the calendar reads mid-November. The entire prep football regular season has been played and the cream of our local crop is preparing for the playoffs.

The time has all passed by in an absolute blur.

The 2015 season was a fun one to cover locally. It was a 10-week grind that went by far too soon but had its moments.

I think what made it special was the unpredictability that was seen from week to week and game to game. There was no truly dominant team in the Houma-Thibodaux area this season – every local team lost at least three games this season. Because of that parity, there were a lot of nail biters, close finishes and games that will last in the memory bank of local fans for a lifetime.

But with the playoffs now here, everyone’s focus is on the present and high stakes, win or go home contests that will be taking place throughout Louisiana high schools in the coming weeks. As always seems to be the case, I’ve been asked a lot recently if I think any of our teams have a shot to make a deep run through postseason play.

My answer? Where’s Cinderella when you need her?

None of the local playoff contenders are favored to make any noise in the postseason – a scenario that could end the area’s season far sooner than it’s ever been ended during my now-six seasons covering the sport with this newspaper.

But just because one isn’t favored heavily to win doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for someone locally to make a run. It’s possible – very much so.

It’s just that the odds aren’t really very much in our favor for it to happen.

I think by now everyone agrees that Thibodaux is the best team in the Houma-Thibodaux area. With a combination of speed, size and a stable of halfbacks that feels like it’s four or five players deep, the Tigers will be our area’s highest-seeded threat in the 2015 playoffs.

But the problem is that Thibodaux is also in Class 5A, which may also be the most difficult and deepest playoff bracket in Louisiana, as well. That, obviously, presents a challenge that the Tigers will have to overcome – even though adversity and obstacles are nothing new to this team.

Thibodaux started the season 0-2 and looked really bad doing it. The Tigers lost a ton of starters off last season’s 10-win team that also was a force.

But after the slow start, the Tigers found themselves. Unable to move the ball in the early season, Thibodaux’s rushing offense came to life in the second half of the season and became a force.

But for as great as the Tigers running game is, it’s also why the team isn’t one of the favorites in Class 5A going into the playoffs.

Thibodaux’s offense is sometimes one-dimensional. The Tigers aren’t as balanced as they were a year ago. That imbalance and dependence on the run is the sole reason why the team is seeded outside of the Top 10 and will need to score some upsets to reach the Dome.

Thibodaux has what it takes to beat anyone on a given night – there’s no doubt. But likewise, in a brutally tough Class 5A, they can also be beaten by any of the 32 playoff teams, as well. That makes them a long shot.

As for the other local playoff teams? Their odds are even longer.

While Thibodaux is among the middle of the pack in the Class 5A playoffs, our other local participants are facing even longer odds.

In 5A, Central Lafourche got in as one of the last seeds and will now tangle with one of the best schools in Louisiana.

Coach Keith Menard’s troops are talented and hung tight with Destrehan for a half in the regular season, proving that they are capable of getting it done. But they’ll need another Herculean effort to move past Friday night.

Likewise, South Lafourche, E.D. White and Vandebilt are also lower seeds in Class 4A and Division II, respectively.

All three are capable of winning postseason games, but none are favored to go far.

The Tarpons’ season has been weird from the get-go with senior quarterback Harvey Allen lost to a car wreck – an accident that has altered the team’s win/loss record and shifted what could easily be a Top 10 team into a program that didn’t break the Top 20.

Likewise, E.D. White and Vandebilt are in the same boat and are nice-sized fish swimming in a Division II pond that contains a school of sharks like St. Charles Catholic, University Lab and Parkview Baptist.

In Division IV, Covenant Christian is going dancing, as well, but is facing the No. 1 team in the state in the very first round. The Lions are a long shot and everyone knows it.

So with the playoffs now just 48 hours away from kicking off, it surely looks like our area is in need of Cinderella if we’re going to see the season extend forward for a while.

But hey, this year has been one where the unpredictable happens more often than not.

Would I be shocked if someone locally made it to the Elite 8? Absolutely not.

But would I be shocked if every local was gone in Round 1? Absolutely not.

That’s why they play the game.

Let’s see how it all unfolds.