Many in these parts will have you believe high school football doesn’t exist, or isn’t too relevant, north of Interstate 10.
Shreveport-Bossier City opened some eyes and made plenty of noise down south Friday night.
Byrd and Calvary Baptist Academy punched tickets to state championship games with road victories, while Parkway, road warriors throughout this postseason, advanced to the semifinals with a victory in Zachary.
Byrd, behind a fourth-quarter rally, edged Holy Cross, 14-10, here at Tad Gormley Stadium to become the first Shreveport-Bossier City public school program to reach a state football championship game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
On Dec. 12, the Jackets will face the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Rummel and St. Augustine for the Select Division I title.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Byrd head coach Mike Suggs, who was mostly at a loss for words after the final seconds painfully ticked off the clock in City Park.
The Jackets’ last trip to a state championship game came in 1962.
The Calvary Cavaliers did the Jackets one better, making the first state championship game in program history as they held off a furious rally by Catholic-New Iberia and won 34-33 outside of Lafayette. The second-seeded Cavaliers will play fourth-seeded Archbishop Hannan in the Select Division III championship on Dec. 12 — a game that kicks off three days of championship football at the Superdome.
The only blemish for the city in Select football Friday was the elimination of the Evangel Eagles. The Eagles fell to nemesis John Curtis, 40-6, in a semifinal matchup south of the Mississippi River in Harvey.
This postseason marks the first since a public-private split by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Instead of the normal five state championship games, there will be nine held at the home of the New Orleans Saints.
The “Select” group consists of private and public schools that draw more than 25 percent of enrollment outside their attendance zone.
In Division IV action, Cedar Creek advanced to the semifinals while St. Mary’s was eliminated.
On the public side, the Parkway Panthers are still one win from joining their District 1-5A mates, Byrd, in the Big Easy.
Parkway nearly hit the half-century mark in a 49-34 quarterfinal victory at Zachary behind five touchdowns from quarterback Brandon Harris. Next week, the second-seeded Panthers will travel — for the fourth-straight week — to face No. 14 Covington with a trip to the Class 5A championship game on the line.
“Thank goodness we have true fans coming out, and we played about as good as we could possibly play tonight,” Parkway head coach David Feaster said.
The top-seeded Haynesville Golden Tors are also just one victory from another a shot at a Class 1A state title after whooping up on Montgomery, 60-14, on Friday night in Claiborne Parish. The Tors will travel to Kentwood in the semifinals.
The Cinderella run for North Webster came to an end Friday as the Knights were eliminated in Class 3A action at Amite, 34-19.