If you are an area high school football coach with a team heading to the postseason, chances are you spent Sunday afternoon searching for game tapes.
While projections give a general idea of seedings, the brackets became finalized Sunday, and playoff preparations for area teams officially started.
“It’s time to get the film swap, get back to Bossier and go to work,” said Airline coach Bo Meeks, whose Vikings grabbed the No. 6 seed in the 5A bracket and will have a home game against No. 27 East St. John in the first round. “It’s hard to keep up with all of the teams outside of your little area of the state during the regular season.”
For Meeks and his staff, Airline’s first opponent is a mystery.
“We don’t know a lot about East St. John except they have an athletic quarterback,” Meeks said. “We’re really excited to be a No. 6 seed. I think it says a lot about what our players have accomplished in a very short time. I think the 5A bracket is wide open with a lot of good teams. We are going to have to play our best from the first week on.”
Airline, No. 7 Parkway and No. 15 Byrd finished in a tie for the 1-5A District championship. All three are on the same side of the bracket, which opens the door for exciting area rematches.
For Airline to meet either Parkway, which hosts No. 26 Live Oak, or Byrd, which is home to No. 18 Nachitoches Central, the Vikings will likely have to go through No. 11 Jesuit and No. 3 West Monroe.
“It’s all about playing your best football at this time of the year and minimizing mistakes,” said Meeks, who led Airline to a 28-27 road win against Covington last season. “If we can relax and execute, I think we can hang around for a little while.”
Haughton, the other area 5A playoff team, is the 24 seed, set to play at No. 9 Ouachita.
In 4A, No. 18 Northwood will have a road game at No. 15 Washington-Marion, No. 25 Huntington will play at No. 8 Vandebilt Catholic, and No. 29 Woodlawn will travel to take on No. 4 Teurlings Catholic.
No. 8 Bossier and No. 9 North DeSoto just played an overtime game in Week 10, which the Bearkats won 28-21 to win the outright 1-3A title, but the teams could meet again in the second round of the 3A playoffs.
Bossier will be at home against No. 25 Jewel Sumner in the first round. The Griffins will host No. 24 West Feliciana.
Another area rematch is possible in the 2A bracket, with No. 2 Evangel and No. 6 Calvary both on the same side of the bracket. Each would have to win three games to set up a second showdown.
“We love playing in Shreveport in the semifinals, whether that would be Calvary or University Lab,” said Evangel coach Phillip Deas, whose team defeated Calvary 49-41 in the regular season. “Playing those games here is great for our community and coverage for our kids. All around, it’s a great bonus. If we can get that far and play at home, that’s always a special time.”
Last season, Evangel lost to John Curtis, 38-6, in the 2A state semifinals. This season, defending state champion John Curtis earned another No. 1 seed. But if Evangel or Calvary can make a deep run, neither would have to play Patriots until the state championship game.
“We feel really good about our regular season, which put us in position to be No. 2,” Deas said. “There are a lot of good teams in 2A, so we know from the first game, we have to play our best.”
Evangel will take on No. 31 Capitol at home to start this year’s potential run. The Eagles have played Capitol twice in the past three years.
“They are a good football team loaded with great athletes,” Deas said. “They had a coaching change in the middle of the season, but they will be very explosive. A lot of big-play potential. As we watch film, we will learn more about their team this season.”
Calvary will have home field against No. 27 Isidore Newman.
Several other area 2A teams made the playoffs as well.
No. 17 North Webster will play at No. 16 Kinder; No. 21 Many will be at No. 12 Menard; No. 26 Mansfield will play at No. 7 New Iberia Catholic; No. 8 Homer will host No. 25 Riverside Academy and No. 24 Booker T. Washington will play at No. 9 Episcopal.
In the 1A bracket, Haynesville earned the No. 2 seed and will play No. 31 Christian Life, No. 7 Block will take on No. 26 Delhi Charter, No. 14 Cedar Creek will play No. 19 Central Catholic, No. 18 St. Mary’s will play at No. 15 Oberlin, No. 25 Montgomery matches up against No. 8 Pointe Coupee Central, and No. 29 Plain Dealing will take on No. 4 Mangham.
Connect with Brent Shirley on Twitter at @bshirley08.