Pios, Gents host playoff games
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – The road to the 2009 LHSAA State Farm Prep Classic begins Friday evening with the first round of the playoffs kicking off across the state.
Local fans won’t have to travel far, though.
Notre Dame, as expected, drew the top seed in Class AAA Sunday when seedings and pairings were announced. Cross-town and former district rival Crowley High, meanwhile, claimed the No. 15 seed.
With their seeds, both schools earned first-round home playoff games.
Notre Dame will play host to No. 32 Carver Friday in Rayne while Crowley will entertain No. 18 Livonia at Gardiner Memorial Stadium. Both games are slated for 7 o’clock.
For Notre Dame, the similarities between this year’s draw and years past are numerous.
“This is the third year in a row that we’ve drawn a team for that New Orleans district in the first round,” said ND coach Lewis Cook, whose Pios’ opened the 2007 and 2008 playoffs against Clark and Sarah Reed, respectively. “They (Carver) have good size and some good athletes.
“This team seems to be well coached. Their quarterback can wing it and they have two really good wide receivers who can go get it. You have to be on your toes. Hopefully, we can continue to play well and put another good game together Friday.”
For Crowley High, it is their second straight playoff berth. Last year the Gents were the No. 19 seed and fell to North DeSoto on the road, 32-6.
“We didn’t know exactly where we’d be before the brackets were released,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate. “There was a lot of talk of us being anywhere from No. 14 all the way up to No. 18.
“It turned out that we ended up in the middle at No. 15 and that gives us a home game. That’s exciting. We have a home playoff game for the first time in a while (2006) and that is all the buzz around the school. It’s an exciting time of the year - playoff time.”
With Crowley at No. 15 and Notre Dame at No. 1, the only way the two teams would square off against each other would be if they both advance to the finals.
“You know, there are no guarantees,” said Cook of looking ahead to the title game. “Teams that we’ve taken to play for the championship, I never would have thought would have made it. And teams that I thought might have had a chance didn’t make it during the time I was here and at Crowley High.”
Getting back to that title game for a second straight year will be difficult for Notre Dame, but their half of the bracket is definitely favorable with a number of traditional powers falling into the opposite half.
Parkview is the No. 2 seed and heads up the bottom of the bracket. They are joined by traditional title contenders Patterson, Amite, Independence, Richwood and Carroll.
Notre Dame is joined in the top half by Rayville, Holy Cross, Redemptorist and Eunice.
“Teams traditionally that we have played that have been pretty good are on the bottom half this year,” said Cook. “You know, Richwood has exceptional athletes. Patterson and Amite, we’ve played them in the past. Parkview, we’ve knocked heads with and had some really tough games with. All those teams are on the bottom.
“If I had to pick where I’d rather be, I’d definitely feel I’d rather be on top of that sun of a gun than on the bottom.”