Parkway football players waved Panther flags, high-fived, hugged and chest-bumped teammates and fans Friday following a 28-27 win at Covington, the program’s first-ever semifinals appearance that will lead to its first-ever state championship game this weekend.
But sophomore offensive lineman Avery Concepcion knelt on the field, savoring Parkway’s most important football moment in silence compared to the raucous atmosphere around him.
A Shreveport-Bossier public school hadn’t played for a state title since Fair Park in 1974, and now the area will send two local represenatives in Parkway and Byrd.
The No. 2 Panthers (13-0) will face No. 1 Acadiana (13-1) in the Class 5A state championship Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Mercedes-Superdome in New Orleans.
Byrd (11-1), a No. 2 seed in Division I, will end the first day of championships Thursday against Rummel (9-3) at 8:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets are playing in their first state title game since 1962 and haven’t won a state title since 1949. Rummel, on the other hand, is the defending 5A champs after knocking off Barbe in 2012.
Calvary (8-4), a No. 2 seed in Division III, joins Parkway in the first-timer group, playing another first-timer in Archbishop Hannan (11-2), who won just one playoff game before this season’s run to the Dome. That game will kick off the new nine-championship format Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
The Cavaliers appeared in their fourth semifinals since playing their first full season in 2005, and the program finally reached the state title game with a one-point win against Catholic-New Iberia.
Haynesville and Many will also represent Northwest Louisiana, which produced five of the 18 teams playing for titles.
The No. 1 seed Golden Tornado (13-0) will go for their 16th state title against No. 2 seed Mangham (11-2), who clocked No. 3 seed and emerging Class 1A power West St. John 56-24 in the semifinals. Haynesville and Mangham play Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Only one of Haynesville’s wins is by single digitis (4A Franklin Parish), but the Tors have beaten North Webster (3A quarterfinals) and Union (3A championship participant) by at least 20 points.
Many is making its second-ever Dome appearance, its first coming in a 1988 loss to Jonesboro-Hodge.
The No. 1 seed Tigers (13-1) are playing No. 3 seed Kinder (13-1), who is making its first championship apperance since 1978.
Edna Karr of New Orleans is appearing for its fourth straight year in the Dome in the Class 4A championship. Neville was the opponent for two of those matchups, but the Tigers bowed out to East Jefferson.
East Jefferson, the No. 4 seed, will oppose No. 2 Karr in Class 4A.
Six of the nine state title games will feature the No. 1 seed. Acadiana, Livonia, Many, Haynesville, John Curtis and Vermilion Catholic held serve in their respective brackets.
The select brackets, which usually have fewer teams, feature the two lowest seeds playing for championships.