Acadia Parish trio earn postseason berths
CROWLEY – When the Notre Dame Pioneers learned Sunday that they would be pitted against the Patterson Lumberjacks in the opening round of the 2012 Class AAA state playoffs, head coach Lewis Cook knew his team hadn’t drawn your traditional, run-of-the-mill No. 31 seed.
“Usually, you have a team that’s struggling through the year that gets in there at No. 31,” Cook said Monday. “Usually it’s a team that might have won three or four games; Patterson has won seven games!
“We’re going to have to put a really good game together to have a chance to win.”
The Pios, seeded No. 2 behind top seed Parkview Baptist, will take on the Lumberjacks Friday at Gardiner Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.
The winner of that game will get the winner of No. 15 Westlake and No. 18 St. Charles in a regional contest next week.
Westlake gave Notre Dame a run for its money three weeks ago before falling 28-7 and St. Charles is the defending Class 3A state champion.
For now, Cook’s only concern is Patterson.
“Patterson is a dangerous team, there’s no doubt about it,” said Cook. “They’ve been to the Dome twice, so obviously they are coaching them up pretty well because you don’t just get there by accident.
“And secondly, they always have a number of athletes out there that can just make a lot of big plays. It’s definitely a scary.
Cook and his Pios can take consolation in the fact that the game will be played at home, site of every Pios open-round playoff game since the LHSAA began it’s power-rating system in 2001.
Since then, the Pios have been seeded No. 1 five times and No 2 twice, including this year. They have not been ranked lower than No. 6 in 11 years.
“The main thing, usually, is that you hope you get a home playoff game in the first round,” said Cook. “First question you have is: Can we get in? And No. 2 is: Can we be at home? After that, we’ll see where it goes from there..
“If you go into the second week, you will have No. 15 or No. 18 and usually they are decent. But for us, it would be Westlake or St. Charles.
“It’s a challenging draw that we ended up with this year.”
The Pios were one of three Acadia Parish teams receiving playoffs bids Sunday. The other two were Church Point and Rayne.
Wolves vs. Bears
For Rayne and Church Point, the postseason opener is eerily similar to last season when the two district foes squared off in the opening round.
In that game, Rayne avenged a Week 7 loss to Church Point and walked away with a 22-14 victory over the Bears en route to a quarterfinal run where they were defeated by eventual state champion St. Charles.
In 2011, Church Point was the higher seed (No. 7) while Rayne entered the contest at No. 26 after dropping its final five regular-season games.
This year, the Wolves are the host team (No. 6) and Church Point is the visitor (No. 27).
“By no means did we feel like we were going to fall 12 spots,” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux, whose team was at No. 15 in the power rankings entering the final week of the regular season. “You sit there and you try and figure out all the scenarios because there are just so many variables as far as who’s playing who, who’s going to win and who’s not going to win.
“So if this happens and this happens, where could we fall? But to fall all the way to No. 27, that just means that there were about 15 to 18 things that went not in our favor for us to fall that far. If anything of those things go in a different direction, we’re seeded somewhere else.”
Arceneaux was understandably shocked when the brackets were released.
“We were thinking the lowest we would be was No. 23,” said Arceneaux. “We were thinking between No. 20 and 23.”
Rayne coach Curt Ware was also a bit surprised after seeing that his Wolves will take on the Bears for the fourth time in 13 months.
“That’s got to be a one-in-a-million chance that it would work out like that,” said Ware of the seedings. “You wouldn’t think that you would play the same team four times in a calendar year.
“There are positives and negatives about it. The positive is that you are playing someone that you are familiar with; the negative is that you’re playing a team that has already beaten you.
“If you are the No. 6 seed, you’d think you would get a draw that would hopefully be a little bit easier than this one because this is going to be a real tough one for a first-round game.”
The winner of the Church Point - Rayne game will move on to the regional round where they will take on either No. 11 Caldwell Parish or No 22 East Feliciana.