Fairness falls short in Round 1 of separate playoffs

    That was a load off my mind.
    Thank goodness Winnfield High School somehow survived in the first round of the Louisiana Non-select Class 2A football playoffs. The Tigers edged Bunkie High School, 49-6. Winnfield scored 42 points in the first half.
    Winnfield coach Andy Pyles had the quote of the night. “Bunkie was good enough to make the playoffs,” Pyles told the Alexandria Town Talk. “Everybody started 0-0 tonight.”
    There were some quality games in the first round of the watered-down football playoffs. Ehret scored, recovered an onside kick and scored again to beat Mandeville. Shaw beat St. Paul’s in overtime. Opelousas Catholic went Uptown to beat Newman, 28-26.
    But most of these state “playoff” games were laughable. Thirty-nine games were decided by 30 points or more. Twenty-six were public school games.
    Thomas Jefferson is a great school. Head coach Kevin Kelly does a tremendous job at an institution with very high academic standards. But  Jefferson lost to Notre Dame, 62-0, in the first round.
    I am still trying to figure out how Thomas Jefferson, a public school, was a “select” school in the playoffs. My guess is, so is Kelly.
    At Sunday’s 49ers-Saints game, I was chewing the fat with another reporter. This reporter asked me how Byrd and Scotlandville landed in a bracket with eight Catholic schools. I started to explain it and then burst out laughing.
    The public/private playoff split was supposed to be about “fairness.” Winnfield principal Dr. Jane Griffin should take a look at the Class 4A bracket.
    Top seed Neville won, 50-7. Second seed Karr beat Salmen, 53-7. Salmen head coach Jerry Leonard has done a tremendous job with his team for many years. But Salmen has been wrecked by injuries this season, including a season ender by quarterback Ray Crochet in the jamboree against John Curtis. Third seed Landry/Walker beat Ellender, 62-0.
    What about the “fairness” to those kids on the South Terrebonne, Salmen and Ellender teams? All of those coaches and kids worked very hard this season. But for whatever reason, they were not playoff-caliber clubs.
    Among the heart-stoppers in Class 2A in round one was Many edging Delcambre, 47-7. I didn’t see the game, but somehow Oak Grove managed to get by Ferriday, 47-8. No. 3 seed Kinder somehow subdued Istrouma, 41-0.
    Word is a lot of the folks in north Louisiana love this new playoff “system.” That is, any system that doesn’t include John Curtis and Evangel.
    But, on the first Friday night, Winnfield somehow managed to beat a team that had scored 145 points and had given up 336 for the season. I was worried about those vaunted Tigers.
    That Friday night, I slept well. Winnfield had reached the second round of the playoffs.
    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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