By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
In the old days, the weekend after the regular season was over would mean high school football coaches would gather up a few of their game films (DVDs, VHS tapes or even 16mm canisters) and — most importantly — a state map (kids, ask your parents) and head out on the road.
It was film exchange day for the upcoming playoffs.
Coaches would meet at some halfway point and do the film swap. Between Shreveport and Monroe schools, that might be at the now-demolished Nob Hill in Arcadia. Lea’s Diner in Lecompte was always a good in-between spot for North and South Louisiana coaches. Or Hodges Gardens for Northwest and Southwest Louisiana coaches.
For a few years, coaches of all schools would even have to drive to Baton Rouge for the official playoff announcement and would do the film exchange there. That was an eight-hour trip for Shreveport-Bossier coaches; eight minutes for Baton Rouge coaches.
“Some teams would send their assistant coaches to make the exchange,” Calvary’s Rodney Guin, who has been in coaching since the 1990s, said. “I always wanted to make the trip myself. If you stayed behind you had to do the laundry from the Friday night before.”
These days, it’s just a few clicks and a download and you are in business.
With the Hudl video system now widely used by high schools across the country, not just Louisiana, coaches can get a head start on breaking down film and not lose a day being on the road. Or washing clothes.
Welcome to the state playoffs, where two teams who have never heard of each other are about to learn more than they need to know in the next few days. Or, in the case of Airline and Haughton, two teams who already know plenty about the other.
It happens every year – you might have to travel three miles or 300 hundred miles to play the first-round game. Haughton and Airline share a common attendance zone border and will reconvene Friday night – a rematch of the Vikings’ 55-42 win in Week 7.
Meanwhile, Green Oaks will travel 316 miles to play Country Day (Metairie).
Thirteen of Caddo-Bossier’s 19 teams made the post-season. There are eight playoff divisions (four each in Select and Non-Select), but local teams will be involved in only four of those brackets: Select I (Northwood, Byrd, Captain Shreve, Huntington), Non-Select I (Benton, Parkway, Airline, Haughton), Select II (Evangel) and Select III (Calvary, North Caddo, Loyola, Green Oaks).
That means you always have a good shot at rematches in the first round, such as the one featuring Haughton at Airline Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’m not wild about it,” said Airline coach Justin Scogin. “Simply because the odds are always against you after you’ve beaten somebody once. Plus Haughton is really good. They can score a lot of points and play good defense.”
And then there is the practical side. “Should be a great crowd,” Scogin said. “Both schools should make a lot of money.”
Four schools have earned a bye in the first round (all on the Select side) by finishing in the top eight in their division: Northwood (5), Byrd (6), Calvary (5), and North Caddo (7).
In addition to Airline, four other schools will be at home – Benton (vs. Ponchatoula), Huntington (vs. Jesuit), Evangel (vs. Jesuit) and Loyola (vs. St. Thomas Aquinas). All games are Friday at 7 p.m. at their home facility except for Huntington, which is expected to use Northwood’s stadium.
“We are extremely excited,” Huntington coach Stephen Dennis said. “It’s Week 11. I don’t care who we are playing.”
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Select Division I
17-Captain Shreve (5-5) at 16-Tioga (7-3)
5-Northwood (8-2), Bye
19-Jesuit (4-6) at 14-Huntington (6-4)
6-Byrd (7-3), Bye
Select Division II
20-Istrouma (4-5) at 13-Evangel (6-4), Rodney Duron Field
Select Division III
24-Green Oaks (2-8) at 9-Country Day (5-5)
22-St. Thomas Aquinas (3-7) at 11-Loyola Prep (5-4), Messmer Stadium
5-Calvary (8-2), Bye
7-North Caddo (7-3), Bye
Non-Select Division I
25-Ponchatoula (5-5) at 8-Benton (7-3), Mason-Newman Field at Tiger Stadium
19-Parkway (7-3) at 14-Dutchtown (6-3)
27-Haughton (5-5) at 6-Airline (7-3), M.D. Ray Field