Deke: Final four in five classes take prep center stage this weekend
by Deke Bellavia,posted Nov 30 2012 2:50PM
Just four weeks ago we got the LHSAA brackets and some of us filled them out and made out predictions on who would make it to the state finals next weekend in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Now those 32 teams in each of the five classes are down to just four, making only 20 teams left in the post season. And tonight it is the state semi-finals with the winners moving on the state championships.
Four of the five state title winners from the 2011 season are still alive. Only the 3A state champion is not alive, as St. Charles lost in the second round of the 3A playoffs. So let’s take a brief look at this weekend’s match-ups.
In Class 5A the defending champion West Monroe Rebels will take on the high scoring Barbe Buccaneers. You know West Monroe is a machine… when the Rebels get beat, it’s big news. I don’t expect the Rebels to lose this weekend.
In the other 5A semi-final the Rummel Raiders entertain the Mandeville Skippers. Mandeville in in the 5A final four for the second straight season, and with a Rummel win over the Skippers the Raiders will advance to the 5A finals for the second time in three seasons.
In Class 4A there are some very good teams, including the two teams that played for the 4A title a year ago. The defending state champion Neville Tigers are at home against the McDonough #35 Roneagles.
Neville is looking to win their third 4A title in the last four seasons and the Roneagles have been in playoff mode for quite a while now. McDonough #35 had to get on a serious run to get into the 4A playoffs.
McDonough #35 moved up 22 spots in the 4A power ratings to land the #21 seed in the post season. And for the first time in school history the Roneagles are in the state semi-finals. Legendary Coach Wayne Reese is all smiles right now.
“I do it because of the kids,” Reese told me last Friday night. “I’ve been doing this for 41 years and it never gets old. I’m just happy for the team and our community.” Coach Wayne Reese has coached some of the best players ever in Louisiana including NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
The other 4A match-up has former LSU great and now Holy Cross Coach Barry Wilson taking on city foe Edna Karr. Three teams from New Orleans are in the Class 4A semi-finals. Holy Cross lost only two games this season and one of them was to #1 5A Rummel.
Holy Cross is coming off a big win over LaGrange last week and now they face their toughest test of the season in the Edna Karr Cougars. Karr dominated St. Augustine last week 28-12 and now the Cougars are one win away from advancing to the 4A finals for a third straight season.
Down in Class 3A the Parkview Baptist Eagles battle Livonia and East Feliciana takes on Notre Dame. Notre Dame and Parkview are the teams to beat while East Feliciana is having an incredible post season,making it to the final four as the #22 seed. 3A better enjoy the rest of this season as the big boys are coming, as Evangel and John Curtis are both playing in 3A next season.
Down in Class 2A heavy favorites John Curtis and Evangel look to advance and battle in the 2A title game for the third time in the last four years. Curtis takes on local team Springfield while Evangel plays host to U-High. You know it’s a shame because both Springfield and U-High could win the title if not for facing the giants they have to try and take down Friday night.
And in Class 1A four of the most traditional names in the history of prep football remain in the state’s smallest class for football. Haynesville, West St. John, Ouachita Christian and Kentwood all have several state titles to their credit.
Haynesville will try and keep the West St. John Rams from advancing to the 1A title game for a second straight season while the Roos have to go up to North Louisiana and try and keep the Eagles of OCS from trying to win back to back 1A titles.
And this week our game of the week looks to be a great match-up between the Rummel Raiders taking on the Mandeville Skippers. The winner moves on to next weekend’s 5A title game. The Skippers are hoping to take that next step and advance to the 5A finals in the Superdome for the first time in school history.
Mandeville Coach Guy Lecompt should be considered Coach of the Year in Class 5A. The Skippers are no fluke as they are in the 5A semi-finals for the second straight season. On the flip side the Raiders are in the 5A semi-finals for the second time in three years and with a win over the Skippers the Raiders can get back to the dome for the second time in three years as well.
Coach Jay Roth is one of the best coaches in the state and he has built one of the most solid and consistent programs in the state. There should be standing room only at this match-up and look for both teams to leave it all on the field.
So there it is, from 32 to four, we are down to just four teams in each class and that will be reduced to two teams next weekend in the state finals.