The 2014 prep football regular season is officially in the books.
Now, it’s time for seven local teams to strut their stuff in postseason play.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) released its nine postseason brackets on Sunday morning in a made-for-TV event.
When the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, seven local teams (CCA, E.D. White, Houma Christian, South Lafourche, South Terrebonne, Thibodaux and Vandebilt) earned the opportunity to strut their stuff and compete in the always-anticipated single elimination tournaments that will take place throughout Louisiana for the next month.
“It’s always an honor to be in the playoffs,” Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. “There are only 32 Class 5A teams who get that honor, so to be one of them is something that we don’t take for granted – it’s something we’re very proud of.”
In Class 5A, Thibodaux and South Lafourche each sit five wins away from the Class 5A State Championship.
But the cross-parish district rivals will enter the playoffs on complete opposite ends of the spectrum – one squad as a heavy favorite and the other as a big-time underdog.
The Tigers received the No. 6 seed for Class 5A, thanks to a dominant 9-1 showing throughout the regular season.
Thibodaux will host No. 27 Captain Shreve in the opening round of the playoffs. Also in the Tigers’ pod are No. 11 Ruston and No. 22 Scotlandville. If Thibodaux wins its opening round matchup, it would face the winner of that game in the Round of 16. If it’s Ruston, the game would be played in Thibodaux.
Dugas said he found out the Tigers would take on Captain Shreve on Saturday morning after one of his colleagues ran the Class 5A numbers and created the Class 5A bracket projections.
Captain Shreve is 5-5 on the season with just four wins on the field. One of the team’s victories came via a forfeit against Parkway.
The Tigers’ opening-round foe snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday night, topping Southwood 24-21 in a must-win game. Since Week 3, Captain Shreve has won just two games, including the forfeiture.
“I don’t know much of anything about them,” Dugas admitted on Saturday morning. “We’re going to probably attempt to make some calls to some people we know around the state to try and find out, because right now, we’re a little bit in the dark.”
On the bottom-half of the Class 5A bracket, South Lafourche squeaked into the playoffs as the No. 31 seed. Their task in Round 1 is a bear – slowing down unbeaten No. 2 seed Ponchatoula.
The Tarpons finished the regular season beaten up with several key players out of the lineup during Friday night’s loss against Hahnville.
Against Ponchatoula, the Tarpons will need to be nearly perfect. The Greenies have scored 40 or more points seven times this season, including a 52-16 thrashing of St. Paul’s in Week 9.
“We’re huge underdogs, and we know it,” South Lafourche coach Dennis Skains said. “But we’ve been down that road before. That’s not something we shy away from. That’s actually something we enjoy.”
If the Tarpons shock the world in the opening round, they would play the winner of No. 15 Acadiana and No. 18 St. Amant.
In Class 4A, South Terrebonne will enter postseason play as the No. 9 seed after rolling through the regular season with just one loss.
The Gators will host No. 24 Lakeshore in the opening round – a 4-6 foe coming off a 21-19 loss against East Jefferson on Friday night.
In actuality, the Gators would have likely loved to be one spot higher in the Class 4A bracket. Because South Terrebonne is No. 9 and not No. 8, the team now has no chance to host a round two matchup if they are victorious on Friday night.
The Gators would face the winner of No. 8 Bastrop and No. 25 Franklin Parish. If the seeds hold, the trip from Bourg to Bastrop is 650 miles round-trip.
On the select side, E.D. White and Vandebilt will continue its seasons in the Division II Playoffs, while CCA and Houma Christian push for the state championship out of Division IV.
For E.D. White, the journey to the title will begin at home. The Cardinals earned the No. 5 seed in Division II, and will host No. 12 Loyola Prep in the opening round of the playoffs on Friday night.
Loyola Prep enters the game with just a 2-8 record, but several of their losses have come against some of the best teams in Northern Louisiana, which could make them a tough out for an opening-round matchup.
If E.D. White wins, they will travel to face No. 4 Notre Dame in the second round, a team that earned an opening-round bye.
On the opposite side of the Division II bracket, No. 11 Vandebilt will enter the postseason red-hot after winning four-straight games to close the season. The Terriers will travel to take on No. 6 De La Salle this weekend – a 7-3 squad that has lost to St. Michael, St. Charles and John Curtis this season – some of the top programs in Louisiana.
But Terriers’ coach Jeremy Atwell likes the progression his team has made in recent weeks.
“We’re coming along,” Atwell said. “We’ve made some strides.”
If Vandebilt scores the opening-round upset, it would take on No. 3 St. Charles Catholic in the second round.
In Division IV, co-district champions CCA and Houma Christian will each be playing on the road in the opening round of the postseason.
The Lions earned the No. 11 seed in the field and will take on No. 6 Ouachita Christian, a team that enters the postseason with a 7-3 record on the season.
But CCA is 7-3, as well and will enter the playoffs hot after pounding St. Martin’s 49-19 on Friday night.
On the top of the bracket, Houma Christian will aim to keep its magic alive when they defend their No. 16 seed against No. 1 Vermilion Catholic – the defending state champion.
To get into the playoffs at all, Houma Christian needed a heroic upset win against Country Day on Friday afternoon.
To defeat Vermilion, the Warrios will likely need their best effort of the season.
“We have a united bunch,” Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia said two weeks ago. “When we play well, we’ve got a shot.”
South Terrebonne quarterback Tyeson Verdin drops back to fire a pass during the team’s game this Friday at Cecilia. The Gators won and roared to 9-1 on the season.