Deke Bellavia: Prep Football - The One and Done Season Begins
All those weights lifted during the summer, the seven on seven competitions and extra hours spent laying it all on the line for a better season takes on a new meaning for all high school football teams beginning this week.
Yes, folks, each game can now be the last game as the 2013 LHSAA state playoffs begin. If you lose, you’re out. We embark on historic playoffs this post season, as we will have a record nine state champions in football.
Five classes and four divisions will each produce a champion in football. Some teams in some classes and divisions have bye weeks this week. Moving forward we’ll see if that extra time to prepare, rest and heal helps teams that are trying to make it to the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
In the first round of the playoffs I try and find the best match-up. Now if you go by seeds, the best possible match-up among the 32 teams is #16 versus #17. That leads me to the swamp down in Ponchatoula this Friday.
The Strawberry Capital of the world also has a very good football team as the legendary Hank Tierney has another playoff team. The former Shaw and West Jeff coach has been at the helm in Ponchatoula several seasons now. And the Green Wave have pulled out some big post season wins
The Green Wave will entertain #17 Haughton with the winner moving on to take on the #1 seed in the state next week—the Acadiana Rams. No disrespect to the Tigers of Slidell, but a #32 seed rarely beats the #1 seed.
Other big games--the Brother Martin Crusaders battle the Jesuit Blue Jays; St. Paul entertains the Shaw Eagles in Division I action, while Mandeville hosts the John Ehret Patriots. In Class 4A the #4 seeded East Jefferson Warriors will try and pick up their first playoff win for the first time in many moons. EJ hosts #35—the McDonough #35 Roneagles.
In Division III, #8 Riverside entertains #9 St. Thomas Aquinas; and #7 Newman hosts #10 Opelousas. Should Newman win, they would play at Calvary Baptist next week.
So the road to the Superdome begins Friday night and each week it’s all about survival. There are basically two kinds of teams now—those who move forward and those who see their seasons come to an abrupt end. Both build character…beneath Friday night lights.