WWL Radio prep football

2017 Prep Football Preview

Our prep football crew discuss 5 burning questions

AllState Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup
August 30, 2017 - 10:53 am
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2017 Prep Football Preview

Jamborees are over and the 2017 Louisiana high school football season is set to begin this week.   Anticipation and expectation is high this time of year for most programs across the state, with dreams of a Superdome appearance dancing in their heads.   With the return of the season comes the return of WWL Radio’s Friday night prep football coverage, including the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup, 7-10:30pm on WWL 870am/105.3fm, and our Game of The Week live play by play broadcast which features full game coverage of a featured matchup in the greater New Orleans area.

To help us prepare for the exciting season we asked members of our prep crew five pressing questions about this upcoming season.

1.  Which classification/division is the most intriguing this year?

  • Seth Dunlap, co-host of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup:  Look, I’m a small school guy.  I grew up playing in the smallest classification in my home state and I think the passion and rivalries of those schools and communities are often wrongfully overlooked.  Yet it is the powerhouses in Division I that continually offer the most intrigue at the end of the season.   There have been four different champions in all four years of the division’s existence.  Not only that, but not once have the favorites entering the playoffs won it all.  Who will hoist the trophy in the Superdome this season? I can’t wait to watch it all play out.
  • Allen Wadell, co-host of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup:  I’m going to give 2 answers to this question. I think with the recent sanctions coming down on Southern Lab I feel like Division 4 has gotten a heck of a lot more interesting. There was no one in this division that could compete with Southern Lab, but now that they are out of the playoffs I think this is anyones game. I expect this to be an exciting playoff bracket when it comes out. I also believe 3A has a chance to be very exciting in 2017. With perennial powers Amite and Lutcher moving out of this classification, it opens up the door for a wide range of contenders. Personally, I think West Feliciana finally kicks the door down and gets to the dome but there are a slew of other contenders in what many people think to be the most wide open classification in the state.
  • Coach Lou Valdin, co-host of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Roundup:  3A. With Lutcher and Amite out, who will emerge as the new powers?
  • Brad Luminais, play by play voice of WWL’s Prep Game of the Week broadcast: 
    I am looking to Division I as my most intriguing classification/division this year. After winning the 5A title in 2012, Rummel won the state's first Division I championship in 2013. Since "the split" no team has repeated as Division I champs. The Jesuit Blue Jays were crowned champs in 2014, followed by Catholic of Baton Rouge (2015) and then Evangel last year (2016). This Division always seems up for grabs, and perhaps most interestingly, Curtis has yet to hoist a trophy. Could this be the year of the Patriots, or will yet another school win its first Division I championship this year?
  • Tony D’Amico, color analyst for WWL’s Prep Game of the Week broadcast:  I am most intrigued with the 5A classification.  Is Landry-Walker good enough to repeat or is West Monroe and their high power offense going to make it to the dome in 2017? After the 2016 championship game has Landry-Walker and Head Coach Emmanuel Powell reloaded their team for a run at repeating in 2017.  Has West Monroe’s all-around athlete and quarterback Slade Bolden fully recovered from that big hit that put him out of the Championship game last year?  Only time will tell for both teams.
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2.  One of the biggest changes this season is reverting to the old format of playing all 9 championship games on one weekend at the Superdome, compared to splitting them over two weekends in the previous two seasons.  What do you think of this change?

  • Seth:  I won’t pull any punches, I love it.  One of the biggest travesties the past two years has been the private/select schools playing their championship games the same weekend the public/non-select schools played their semifinals.  You had thousands of fans across the state who couldn’t watch the championship games because of this.  On the flip side, it forced media outlets like WWL to direct most of our resources to cover the championship games, unfairly robbing public/non-select fans of the big time coverage of the semifinals they deserve.  I’m glad the LHSAA realized the error of their ways.
  • Allen:  I LOVE the championships being played on one weekend. I feel like all the High School Football junkies were absolutely robbed the last few years because we were forced to decide between watching the private school championships and the public school semi-finals. It certainly makes for a long weekend, but you will see more fans come to the city to watch the games this year because whey can watch all of the classifications on one weekend. 
  • Lou:  I’m thrilled about all championships on one weekend. It gives us a chance to cover the semi-finals in non-select classifications.
  • Brad:  Personally, getting in nine games in three days is just too much. Schools usually accustomed to night games are playing weekday mornings at 10am for a championship. In fact, the schools have to close just to play in the game. For us (the media), it makes for really long days. The last time the LHSAA went to this format I remember getting to the Dome at about 8:30 am and leaving the next morning at 1am. I think it's too much on the schools, fans, kids, workers and everyone else to try and squeeze all the games in over three days.
  • Tony:  I am very excited about all the championships being played on the same weekend in December.  Having them played on two weekends was a very tedious task for the media and the fans. I know this will be a great weekend of high school football in New Orleans and look forward to covering the games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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3.  What under the radar team should we be paying more attention to?

  • Seth:  That’s a tough one.  I’m not sure they are under the radar in their district but many people across the state have probably overlooked at what coach Wayne Reese has done with the McDonough #35 Roneagles the past few seasons.  They are well coached, talented, and experienced.  They get overshadowed by the Karr Cougars, but last season they went 12-2 and gave Karr everything they could handle in a 26-14 loss in the Class 4A semifinals.  Expect another deep playoff run from the Roneagles this season and, if everything falls right, perhaps a surprise trip to the Superdome in December.
  • Allen:  I absolutely love the St Helena Hawks in class 2A. Quarterback Ricky Travis is a total stud and even though the hawks lost some key players off of last years 12-2 team I still believe the Hawks have what it takes to hang around late into November again this year. Coach Brandon Brown has done a tremendous job turning this program around and the Greensburg community always puts great athletes on the field. The biggest question mark for the Hawks is depth as there overall numbers are not great but with Ricky Travis pulling the trigger this is an absolute dangerous team in 2A.
  • Lou:  St. James.  They could be the new power in 3A with Lutcher and Amite out.
  • Brad:  The Destrehan Wildcats- I'm not sure that they are under-the-radar, but in my opinion, they are. When you talk 5A/D-I football, Destrehan doesn't always make the top three, four, or even five schools that are discussed. That's probably because they haven't won a title in a few years, but the last time they did, Coach Robicheaux was at the helm. After winning back to back titles in 2007 and 2008, Robicheaux took a few years off, but then came back with a vengeance.  While he hasn't yet climbed back to the top of the mountain just yet, the Wildcats have been undefeated in regular season play over the last three years. Yes, that's right, they have not lost one regular season game in the last three years. During that timeframe, they only have 3 playoff losses, and two were to the eventual state champions, Acadiana and Landry-Walker. Pay attention to the Wildcats, they deserve some respect.
  • Tony:  The Hahnville Tigers and Head Coach Nick Saltaformaggio is looking to make some big noise in Class 5A.  With a new quarterback at the helm and a very talented running back in Anthony “Pooka” Williams, maybe the best player in the state, it looks like the Hahnville Tigers, barring any unforeseen injuries, will make a strong run in Class 5A.  The coaching staff feels pretty good about their team and their chances in 2017.
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4.  The best football program in the state is . . .

  • Seth:  Are we talking about right now, or historically?  Obviously, John Curtis is the easy answer if you are looking at a program’s full history, but they haven’t won a championship since 2013 and haven’t made an appearance in the Superdome in a couple of seasons.   I’m going to go on the opposite side of Allen Waddell’s answer and say the Karr Cougars.  The rivalry they’ve built in Class 4A with Neville has truly been epic, and last season we saw one of the best football teams in memory hoist the championship trophy.  Consistency, class, and excellence.  That’s what you see every season at Karr. 
  • Allen:  To me this is a no brainer. The Neville Tigers have become the most consistent and dominate program in the state of Louisiana. Coach Mickey McCarty puts blue chip athletes on the field every year and even though the tigers fell short in last years title game they have been the premier program in Louisiana over the last 10 years. in 2016 it took one of the best teams I’ve ever personally seen (The 2016 Karr Cougars) to knock off the tigers. it just seems like every year Neville reloads and are the favorite in class 4A and to me its no different again this year.
  • Lou:  Evangel.  They could repeat as Division I champions.
  • Brad:  This is a loaded question that is really not capable of a sound response. I can give you the name of the program that has won the most championships. I can give you the name of the program with the most wins. What about the program that has put the most kids in college, or even the NFL?  I can give you the name of the program with the best fan support, or student support. I can also delve deeper into this question and give you the name of coaches who have made programs. Some of these coaches may not win many games, but they make sure their players get to and from school, do their homework, get a meal and do the right thing.  There are also programs that might not win many games, or even championships, but turn young men into upstanding gentlemen.  It really depends on what your definition of "best program" is.  Therefore, I'm not going to single out any school, but I believe that our state has the "best programs" in the country.
  • Tony: I feel the best team in the state is the Karr Cougars.  The 2016 state champions are ready to make a run at back to back state championships.  Coach Brice Brown has done a fine job of coaching some of the best football players in the state.

5.       Who wins the Catholic League?

  • Seth:  This is going to be fun, right?  The John Curtis Patriots are the defending champs but Rummel is reloaded and ready to challenge them for league supremacy.  Until somebody knocks them off, I’ll stick with the champs.  Give me Curtis.
  • Allen:  How much fun has the Catholic League become over the last few years since adding John Curtis? This district is an absolute powerhouse full of great coaches, great players, and unbelievable mystique. I think Curtis goes back to back and takes home the crown once again in 2017. They have a slew of veterans, and consistent play at quarterback. I can’t wait to watch this league battle week in and week out.
  • Lou:  John Curtis.  You are the champ until somebody knocks you out.
  • Brad:  John Curtis. If they don't win the Catholic League, and also come up short on a title run, the Patriots may be on the ropes. They haven't won a championship since the classification/division split, and if they don't do so soon, the fans will become restless.
  • Tony:  I believe the Rummel Raiders will win the Catholic league this year.  With the addition of quarterback Chandler Fields and a new offense, Rummel looks like they are the team to beat in the Catholic League.  If their defense can feed off of their high powered offense it should be a very happy year for Rummel Raiders fans.

 

 

 

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