Coaches or travel agents? This week, some are planning for more than their opponent

 WORKING THE PHONE: Parkway’s Coy Brotherton has been arranging everything from transportation to lunch, in preparation for the Panthers’ playoff trip to Geismar. (Submitted Photo)

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

Need an event planner? Chadwick Lewis might be your man.

Looking for a good place to eat? You may want to call Coy Brotherton.

Want someone to put together your dream vacation? Adam Kirby pays great attention to detail.

All three carry the title of Head Football Coach. But this week, they are spending a lot — if not most — of their time doing everything but coaching football.

“That’s the part they don’t tell you about when you want to become a head coach,” Lewis said.

The Green Oaks coach, along with Brotherton (Parkway) and Kirby (Captain Shreve), have been busy planning road trips for the first round of the state playoffs. Friday, the Giants will travel the farthest — 316 miles to Metairie (Country Day). The Panthers will head 251 miles south to Geismar (Dutchtown).

Comparatively, the Gators get off easy, going 126 miles to Ball (Tioga).

But no one is complaining.

“This time of year, you always want to be planning instead of taking inventory,” Brotherton said. “You want to pick up the helmets and shoulder pads after Thanksgiving.”

Brotherton got a head start on logistics after last Friday’s loss to Airline. He crunched the numbers and knew his team would be going south.

“Saturday morning, I called coach (Guy) Mistretta down at Dutchtown. We got on the phone with each other, texted back and forth, figuring out all the logistics — trading film, ticket prices, what time we’re going to arrive, where we can dress, and all those fun things.”

But when you’re bringing 55 players, 15 coaches, and five managers, playing the game may be the easy part.

“You’re calling places to eat,” Brotherton said. “You’re calling your principal to get (players) out of class. You’re calling and checking on charter buses — how much is it going to be? It gets very busy.”

By the way, the answer to Brotherton’s question is around $6,000 per bus — and the Panthers will need two of them. That’s why Parkway will take school buses this week. If the Panthers win, they will enjoy chartered comfort next week.

Shreve’s Kirby is in his office by 4 a.m. each day. That’s right, 4 a.m. This week, he’s needed every minute of the day.

“I do it on my own,” the first-year head coach said of putting together his team’s travel itinerary. “Then, I get input from the coaches … I’m looking at the itinerary I put together, and there’s one, two, three, four, five, six changes to it. They had good ideas, too.”

The Gators will eat lunch around 1:30, then hit the road. But it won’t be a non-stop trip. Shreve will do a walk-thru at Louisiana College in Pineville. That’s not so much to stretch their legs, as it is to let them see — and be seen.

“A goal for our program is to get as many scholarships (for our players) as we can,” Kirby said. “What that allows our kids to do is see Louisiana College’s facilities and see a college campus. It gives (head coach) Drew Maddox an opportunity to come out to walk-through and see some of our kids that he may want to come and recruit when their season is done.”

One of the easiest things Brotherton did when planning Friday’s trip was choosing where to have lunch.

“Last year, we went to Alexandria in the playoffs. We stopped at Lasyone’s (Meat Pie Restaurant) in Natchitoches, and we won that game. So, the superstitious side of me said let’s do that again. The food’s good. They take care of us. They give us a good price. They’re good people to work with.”

Green Oaks’ players will enjoy a sit-down lunch at Piccadilly cafeteria in Baton Rouge, before doing a walk-through at Southern University.

“(The restaurant is) giving me one price,” Lewis said, “and (the players) will get one entrée, two sides, a roll, and a drink. They will have an option on what they want to eat. It won’t be a situation like I’ve done in the past where everybody eats the same thing.”

It’s a lot of work — and takes a lot of time — planning for an opponent and a one-day road trip. But it sure beats the alternative.

“Like I tell the kids,” Lewis said, “‘You have four more quarters. This is what you dream about every year.’ Hopefully, I can get to do this again next week.”

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