Schedule strength not a true picture of team’s ability

dsc_1100a    As the second half of the 2011 prep football season, eyes now turn to district play and an idea of who the playoff contenders and pretenders are.
    Three factors are taken into consideration: district standing, power points and strength of schedule.
    But I discount the third factor. The strength of a team’s schedule isn’t always a snapshot of how strong the program is.
    For instance, St. Charles Catholic, the No. 1 team in Class 3A by power rating and Top 10 voting, has a strength of schedule of 28. In other words, the Comets didn’t get to the top by knocking off Top 10 opponents. Class 5A Northshore (3-2) is the best team SCC has faced to date. But there is little doubt that Coach Frank Monica’s crew is one of the class programs in 3A.
    The same applies to John Curtis, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by power with a strength of schedule factor of just 47. And it will probably plummet further in district play against its final four opponents, who have combined for a record of 5-13. But there is little doubt that J.T. Curtis will get his 500th coaching victory against Clark on Oct. 28 and win another state title in December.
    The interesting race will be in District 9-5A.
    As of now, all five teams are in position to host first-round playoff games. But that may change beginning this weekend when the titans take on each other.
    Jesuit, No. 5 power ranking, hosts Chalmette, No. 8; Brother Martin (No. 14) will meet No. 7 West Jefferson at Gormley; and No. 1 Archbishop Rummel is at Thibodaux in its district bye week.
    The local team to watch in 5A is No. 20, Higgins, whose stifling defense stymied Brother Martin’s offense after running back John West left the game early with an injured forearm. The Hurricanes, whose only loss was to 4-1 Covington, looks to me to be the District 8-5A class leader.
    Jefferson Parish schools in that district feared the entry of East St. John, Destrehan and Hahnville into their fiefdom, but it appears the three River Parishes schools are not the powerhouses they once were. And I believe 5-0 Bonnabel is on borrowed time when it enters district play this week. So watch Higgins.
    With the playoffs still six weeks away, most curious are the low seedings of defending 5A champion Acadiana (21) and runner-up West Monroe (27). Regardless of their current spots, these two are still championship caliber teams and will horrify their playoff hosts.
    And a hats-off to Archbishop Hannan’s early success. For the first time the Hawks are unbeaten in their first five games, a tribute to Coach Pat Lambert and his staff and the willingness of the young players to work to improve. They begin District 7-1A play against Southern Lab.   
Good hire for Shaw
    The Archbishop Shaw administration made a firm commitment to improve its slumping basketball program last week by hiring Hall of Fame coach Jim Robarts to take over the program.
    Robarts, who led Archbishop Rummel to back-to-back state championships in 1977 and 1978, has won more games than any other New Orleans area high school basketball coach in his 40 years on the benches at Rummel, East Jefferson and Haynes Charter. His teams at Rummel and East Jeff have won 688 games with 394 losses.
    Robarts, 69, recently retired from the Jefferson Parish Public School System after a short stay at John Martyn School.

    Robarts is one of five local coaches to lead his team to an unbeaten season. He did it in 1978 when Rummel went 34-0 in winning the Class 4A title. The others to do so at LHSAA schools are Andy Russo, Brother Martin, 36-0 (1970); Watson Jones,  St. Augustine, 35-0 (1983); Ed Tuohy, Newman, 32-0 (1963) and 30-0 (1961) and John Altobello, De La Salle, 23-0 (1957); Altobello at St. Aloysius, 30-0 (1951) and 20-0 (1949).
(By power rankings as of Oct. 3)
    Division I – 1. Fontainebleau, 22-0; 2. Mount Carmel, 18-3; 3. Destrehan, 21-2; 4, St. Amant, 18-1; 5. Dominican, 13-6.
    Division II – 1. Cabrini, 18-3; 2.


Catholic League standings

Jesuit, 3-0, Abp. Rummel, 2-0; Brother Martin, 1-0; Pope John Paul II, 1-0; Abp. Shaw, 1-2; St. Augustine, 1-2; De La Salle, 0-2; Holy Cross, 0-3.
Ursuline, 9-3; Mount Carmel, 8-2; Cabrini, 5-2; Dominican, 5-5; St. Mary’s, 3-2; Abp. Hannan, 2-1; St. Charles Catholic, 2-1; De La Salle, 2-2; Abp. Chapelle, 2-4; Xavier Prep, 1-0; Pope John Paul II 1-4; Holy Rosary, 0-1.

St. Martinville, 12-6; 3. St. Thomas More, 16-3; 4. O.P. Walker, 18-6;  5. Breaux Bridge, 11-5.
    Division III – 1. Ursuline, 18-3; 2. Vandebilt Catholic, 22-5; 3. West Feliciana, 10-9, 4. Parkview Baptist, 14-3; 5. Lakeshore, 13-9.
    Division IV – 1. University. 11-3; 2. De La Salle, 16-5; 3. Redemptorist, 5-2; 4. Iota, 8-5; 5. Catholic-New Iberia, 14-5.
    Division V – 1. Country Day, 13-1; 2. Central Catholic, 17-5; 3. Episcopal-Acadiana, 16-5; 4. Westminster, 11-5; 5. Pat Taylor, 12-6.