By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
Some won on the road, some won at home. And some had the week off.
Those who had the time off were probably glad they didn’t have to play in Friday’s miserable weather, but all are happy to still be playing in the third week on November.
They are Shreveport-Bossier’s nine remaining teams in the state high school football playoffs and all have had the chance to assess what did – and didn’t – happen last Friday night and begin to prepare for the next round this weekend.
But the “week off” wasn’t really a week off. “We watched tape on our two potential opponents,” said Northwood coach Austin Brown, whose team had a bye in the first round. “We still had a purpose in practice. Even though we didn’t have an opponent at the end of the week, we still had a reason to be out there.”
What did the first round teach us? Not much, other than momentum is hard to figure out. Loyola and Haughton were basically non-competitive in their final regular-season games and yet won their first playoff games going away. Airline had won seven straight and lost its opener — to Haughton, a team it had beaten by 13 a month before. Captain Shreve had lost five of the previous seven and won on the road.
Northwood, Byrd, Calvary and North Caddo got a chance to sit out the opening week of the playoffs by earning a bye. Now, they will join the party as the second round gets underway. All four will be at home this week, along with a pair of Friday’s first-round winners, Benton and Haughton.
The other three teams will be on the road – Captain Shreve (at top-seeded Warren Easton in New Orleans), Evangel (at E.D. White-Thibodaux) and Loyola (at Episcopal-Baton Rouge).
For Shreve, it will be the second straight week on the road.
At No. 27, Haughton is technically the second-lowest seed remaining in the entire state. (Breaux Bridge, the No. 28 seed in Non-Select Division II, beat a fifth-seeded Carroll team that had its coaching staff suspended for the year.)
Nevertheless, the Bucs are happy to be preparing for East St. John instead of basketball season.
“Number one, we beat a rival (Airline) and got a chance to avenge a loss,” said Haughton coach Jason Brotherton. “Just winning a playoff game is a huge deal for us. Those things are hard to come by. And to get a home game makes it double- or triple-sweet for us.”
Haughton’s home game came down to the final play in the East St. John-Walker game. Had 22-seed Walker made a last-second field goal, the Bucs would have been traveling 250 miles instead of going across the school compound to play the next round.
Seedings-wise, the closest upcoming matchup will be 8-3 Benton, the No. 8 seed, playing host to ninth-seeded Denham Springs (9-2).
“There’s just nothing like it when it comes to excitement,” said Benton coach Reynolds Moore. “The trick is to stay focused. As long as we keep playing, we will have our work cut out for us.”
Across the state, the higher seeds were 54-16 – and four of the lower-seed wins were by the No. 17 team. In Division IV of both Select and Non-Select, the higher seeds were undefeated.
But seedings can also fool you. Alexandria, which is Byrd’s opponent Friday night, is a 22 seed due to a 4-6 regular-season record. But three of those losses came to two No. 1 seeds (Ruston and St. Thomas More) and a No. 8 seed (Carencro). ASH easily won its opener over 11th-seeded McKinley, 42-0.
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