There’s just one week left in the regular season. That means that even though there are still plenty of districts to be won (or lost), there’s not likely to be a whole lot of movement in the playoff seedings between now and when the brackets are announced. Since the seeds are determined by the LHSAA’s power ratings (updated every Tuesday), let’s take a second to make one final prediction on what the playoffs would look like if the season actually ended today:
Home games: No. 2 Ponchatoula hosts No. 31 Live Oak (Denham Springs); No. 5 Destrehan hosts No. 28 Airline (Bossier City); No. 7 Thibodaux hosts No. 26 Slidell; No. 11 Mandeville hosts No. 22 St. Amant; No. 13 Hahnville hosts No. 20 Nachitoches Central; No. 14 Ehret hosts No. 19 East St. John.
Road games: No. 19 East St. John travels to No. 14 Ehret; No. 23 Covington travels to No. 10 West Monroe; No. 26 Slidell travels to No. 7 Thibodaux; No. 32 South Lafourche travels to No. 1 C.E. Byrd (Shreveport).
Outside looking in: No. 33 Fontainebleau, No. 37 West Jefferson.
Poor South Lafourche. Their reward for surviving the high-octane District 7-5A and making the playoffs? A trip to Shreveport to face off against Byrd in the first round. That means an early exit for the Tarpons. Fellow 7-5A team Destrehan will have to navigate through the Yellow Jackets as well if they want to get to the Dome. In the other half, Christian Campbell and Ponchatoula look like as good a bet as any to reach the championship game. Fontainebleau and West Jeff could potentially both sneak into one of the final playoff spots if they win this week — Fontainebleau over St. Paul’s and West Jeff over Ehret — but neither has the juice to go on the road and beat one of the top teams in the state.
Home games: No. 3 Warren Easton hosts No. 30 Northside (Lafayette); No. 4 Franklinton hosts No. 29 Washington-Marion (Lake Charles); No. 6 Landry-Walker hosts No. 27 Peabody (Alexandria); No. 8 South Terrebonne hosts No. 25 Lakeshore; No. 13 Karr hosts No. 20 Woodlawn (Shreveport).
Road games: No. 17 Lutcher travels to No. 16 West Ouachita (West Monroe); No. 22 Belle Chasse travels to No. 11 Bastrop; No. 23 East Jefferson travels to No. 10 LaGrange (Lake Charles); No. 25 Lakeshore travels to No. 8 South Terrebonne; No. 31 Riverdale travels to No. 2 Neville (Monroe).
Outside looking in: No. 33 Salmen, No. 34 McDonogh 35.
Possibly the most explosive bracket in the state. High-octane offenses for Easton and Landry-Walker sit in the bottom half of the bracket with a potential rematch on the cards, while Franklinton’s punishing running game could potentially cause trouble for No. 1 Plaquemine in the quarterfinals. It’s truly a shame that Riverdale draws a loaded Neville squad in this scenario — a little more Donte Jackson and Darius Bovie would be good for all of us.
Home games: No. 3 Amite hosts No. 30 Madison (Tallulah); No. 6 Patterson hosts No. 27 Westlake; No. 10 Loranger hosts No. 23 Avoyelles.
Road games: No. 17 McMain travels to No. 16 Mansfield; No. 20 Bogalusa travels to No. 13 Jennings; No. 21 Miller-McCoy travels to No. 12 Kaplan; No. 25 Jewel Sumner travels to No. 8 Iowa.
Home games: No.6 Springfield hosts No. 27 Capitol (Baton Rouge); No. 9 St. James hosts No. 24 Delcambre; No. 10 Pine hosts No. 23 Bunkie.
Road games: No. 22 South Plaquemines travels to No. 11 Oakdale; No. 25 Carver travels to No. 8 Oak Grove; No. 31 Fisher travels to No. 2 Many.
Not particularly strong representation for the New Orleans area in 3A or 2A this year. Amite in 3A and Pine in 2A are probably the metro area’s best hopes for a championship. In 2A, St. James is perhaps seeded higher than they should be because of their brutal schedule. And in 3A, Loranger’s first-round matchup is far from a cakewalk — Avoyelles’ Philip Augustine is one of the top rushers in the state (1,561 yards and 19 TDs through Week 8).
Bye weeks: No. 2 Kentwood, No. 3 West St. John.
Home games: No. 7 White Castle hosts No. 26 Gueydan; No. 14 Varnado hosts No. 19 Ringgold.
Road games: None.
Kentwood and West St. John both dodge major bullets, residing in the opposite half of the bracket from No. 1 Mangham and the Dragons’ punishing running game. The Kangaroos and Rams facing off in the semifinals could prove to be one of the most exciting games in any bracket.
Bye weeks: No. 1 John Curtis, No. 2 Rummel; No. 3 Brother Martin.
Home games: No. 7 Jesuit hosts No. 10 Holy Cross.
Road games: No. 9 St. Paul’s travels to No. 8 Evangel (Shreveport); No. 10 Holy Cross “travels” to Jesuit; No. 11 St. Augustine travels to No. 6 Teurlings Catholic (Lafayette); No. 12 Shaw travels to No. 5 Catholic (Baton Rouge).
Curtis still resides above Rummel, who are ranked No. 11 in the entire country, for some reason. Maybe a season-ending win over Brother Martin will be enough to vault the Raiders into the top spot — but maybe a little disrespect is what Jay Roth and Rummel want heading into the playoffs. That, and not having to potentially face a resurgent Evangel team in the quarterfinals, then Catholic in the semis. Suffice it to say that whoever claims No. 1 in Division I is facing a very difficult road to the Dome.
Bye weeks: No. 3 St. Charles Catholic
Home games: No. 6 De La Salle hosts No. 11 Vandebilt Catholic; No. 7 E.D. White hosts No. 10 St. Louis (Lake Charles); No. 8 Thomas Jefferson hosts No. 9 Lusher.
Road games: No. 9 Lusher travels to No. 8 Thomas Jefferson; No. 11 Vandebilt Catholic travels to No. 6 De La Salle.
This looks an awful lot like U-High’s tournament to lose. The Cubs are 9-0 and loaded all over the field, and they don’t have to deal with Curtis anymore. But a tough St. Charles squad could put up a good fight in the championship game.
Home games: No. 3 Riverside hosts No. 14 Redemptorist (Baton Rouge); No. 5 Newman hosts No. 12 Westminster Christian (Opelousas); No. 8 St. Thomas Aquinas hosts No. 9 Northlake Christian.
Road games: No. 9 Northlake Christian travels to No. 8 St. Thomas Aquinas; No. 11 Hannan travels to No. 6 Episcopal (Baton Rouge); No. 13 Pope John Paul II travels to No. 4 Opelousas Catholic.
Riverside avoids No. 1 Catholic-N.I. until the championship game, but a matchup with No. 2 Calvary Baptist (Shreveport) in the semis could derail the Rebels’ outstanding season. In the top half, two interesting games jump out: St. Thomas Aquinas and Northlake Christian meeting in a rematch in Round 1, and Newman potentially getting revenge on Opelousas Catholic, who bounced the Greenies early last year, in the quarterfinals. Whoever survives that Calvary-Riverside matchup is the favorite to win the title as far as I’m concerned.
Home games: No. 8 Country Day hosts No. 25 St. John (Plaquemine); No. 13 Covenant Christian hosts No. 20 Sacred Heart (Ville Platte); No. 16 St. Martin’s hosts No. 17 Highland Baptist (New Iberia).
Road games: No. 22 Houma Christian travels to No. 11 St. Frederick (Monroe); No. 24 Ascension Christian travels to No. 9 Ascension Episcopal (Lafayette); No. 28 Crescent City travels to No. 5 Ouachita Christian (Monroe).
As far as the New Orleans area is concerned, Country Day goes in with a high seed, but a relatively cushy regular-season schedule comes back to bite you when you have to travel to schools like Vermillion Catholic and Ouachita Christian. It’s doubtful at best that the Cajuns make it past both of those teams, who they would potentially have to face in succession in Round 2 and Round 3.