Pios, Eagles renew postseason rivalry

By Chris Quebedeaux

SPORTS EDITOR

CROWLEY – When Notre Dame squares off with Parkview Baptist for the Class AAA state championship Friday evening in the Louisiana Superdome, it will mark the renewal of what has become a postseason rivalry for the two Louisiana powerhouses.

Although their two schools are situated roughly 80 miles apart, the Pios and Eagles have been no strangers on the football field at playoffs time.

Just the opposite, in fact.

Friday’s contest will be the fourth meeting between the two high-profile teams whose names have become synonymous with the Class AAA playoffs over the years.

“Yeah, we’ve met three times previously and it was a battle each time,” Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook recalled Monday.

To wit:

* Notre Dame dropped a 43-13 semifinal decision to Parkview in 2001 before the Eagles went on to defeat Belle Chasse, 61-19, in the AAA finals.

* The Pios redeemed themselves two years later, beating Parkview 21-14 in the semifinals before losing to Lutcher (15-7) in the finals.

* Then, in 2005, Notre Dame defeated the Eagles again, 28-0, in the quarterfinals before falling to Redemptorist in the finals, 13-6.

This time, it will be for all the marbles.

This game (with Parkview) has a lot more spice to it for sure,” said Cook. “I mean, ‘01 and ‘03 were for trips to go to the finals.”

For Parkview, Friday will offer an opportunity to remain perfect in the Prep Classic. The Eagles have been to the title game twice previously. They won the state championship in 2001 against Belle Chasse and they followed that up with a 19-18 victory over Westlake in the 2007 finals.

For Cook, it will mark the sixth time he has taken the Pios to the Dome since taking over at Notre Dame.

In 2000, Notre Dame defeated Redemptorist, 14-6, to win the Pios’ first title since 1976.

Cook then guided the Pios to the finals four more times, falling just short each time.

The Pios lost to Lutcher (15-7) in 2003, Amite (21-14) in 2004, Redemptorist (13-6) in 2005 and Lutcher (17-0) again in 2008.

“This game (with Parkview) has a lot more spice to it for sure,” said Cook. “I mean, ‘01 and ‘03 were for trips to go to the finals.”

There is also a personal side of the game for Cook. He and Parkview coach Kenny Guillot have been friends for a number of years and Dave Cook, Lewis’ brother, is a former member of the Parkview staff.

“Kenny and I have been friends long before we started playing one another,” said Lewis Cook. “We both coached in college so we had some similarities there and we knew one another from way back.

“And, of course, when we started playing, it’s been a huge mutual respect amongst us and our staffs. We’ve helped one another when we could over the course of the last few years. You have a lot of guys that you come across like that when you stay around as long as we have.

“Obviously having Dave on staff drew us closer. There has been a connection between us and Parkview which is going to make it even more fun for the game because we are close.”

But as tight knit as their friendship is, it will all take a back seat when their respective teams take the field Friday.

For two-plus hours, the rivalry will take precedent.

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