Everyone’s ‘champion’ loses in separate playoffs

    The 2013 prep football regular season was memorable in metro New Orleans. St. Aug, led by running back Leonard Fournette, beat John Curtis. The Purple Knights chase an elusive destination, a place they have never been. That is, the finals of the Superdome Classic.
    Destrehan dominated its district. Offensively, the Wildcats appear to be better than their 2007 undefeated 5A state champions.     
    The Covington Lions beat St. Paul’s, ending the Wolves’ 33-game district unbeaten streak, one that stretched back to 2008.
    East Jefferson was chasing its first undefeated season since 1970.
    Riverside beat Newman in a Thursday night thriller that ended with Rebs intercepting a pass in their own end zone.
    Northlake Christian was chasing a perfect regular season.
    Wow, those 10 weeks were something special. But, this just in: Don’t expect the next five weeks to be as compelling. What was approved overwhelmingly by public school principals in January will become a reality this Sunday. Brackets will be finalized for the split playoffs.
    From Dec. 12-14, nine “state” champions will be crowned in the Superdome. In Division I, 10 teams will compete for a state championship. They are the six New Orleans-area Catholic League schools, St. Paul’s, Catholic of Baton Rouge, Byrd and Scotlandville.     
    The top six seeds in Division I will have a first round bye. And on Friday, Dec. 6, a night that should be filled with emotion and celebration, the two schools who survive this 10-team playoff, will have the night off.
    In Divisions I, II, and III, the select schools will not play any games on the traditional semifinal Friday. In Division I, the two who will play for a “select” championship will have the honor of playing their game  at 8:30 on a Thursday night.
    Twenty years ago, one of the best state playoff games ever was played in the 5A semifinals at Hoss Memtsas Stadium. West Monroe beat St. Augustine by a point. Tight end Bronson Gettridge caught a touchdown pass for the Knights that cut West Monroe’s lead to one. St. Aug went for two and didn’t make it. The next week, West Monroe beat Destrehan before a huge crowd in the Superdome.
    Sadly, there’s a game in this playoff that we will never see. Can you imagine the crowd at Destrehan if the Wildcats played St. Aug in a semifinal? It would rival or exceed the overflow crowd at Behrman Stadium in 2012 when Karr beat St. Aug in the playoffs.
    One veteran coach who’s opinion I value says this December, there will still be that same excitement in the Superdome. He says that will be especially so when a school makes it to Poydras Street for the first time.
    Maybe so. But, even if they win, they are champions of what?
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
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