After the first Friday night of the state football playoffs, I did a deep exhale. Thank goodness the top seed in Class 2A, the Many Tigers, had advanced to the second round. The Tigers struggled to win, 76-0.
Next up for Many in the second round was a team that lost its first five games of the regular season but somehow made the playoffs.
Many’s principal is the one who helped spearhead the vote to split the football playoffs. And, later, the splits in basketball, baseball and softball. Their athletes, after all, needed a fair chance to compete for a state championship.
What about the children on the other team Friday night who had to live through a 76-point defeat?
That the entire playoff system in Louisiana is broken goes without saying. When you tell people it is a sham, many of them just nod their heads in quiet resignation.
Yet, alas, this is what we have, and it never will change.
Even many of the private and parochial school coaches and administrators seem to accept the current malaise as a normal course of events.
Dysfunction in an entire state athletic association and its playoffs is to be viewed as just a normal occurrence. Sort of like the Causeway being fogged in in the wintertime. Oh, well.
Next month, the slap in the face of the “select” schools continues when both the privates and the publics gather at the Superdome for the “state championships” – whatever that means.
The Division I championship (which ought to be a great game, really) will be played at noon on Saturday. The other three select championship games will be played at 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Thursday and at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
The public school championship games get the best times, including 7 p.m. on Friday, and 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Last December, after watching most, if not all, of the nine championship games, I arrived at a conclusion that would explain why this playoff farce continues. If the five classes were united, Edna Karr would have been the only public school to win a title – in Class 4A.
As the sixth anniversary of the vote to split the football playoffs approaches, we can say without a doubt that the thinking of the public school principals who voted for the split was absolutely correct. That is, the “select” schools would sit on their hands and do nothing.
In January 2013, at a hotel in Baton Rouge, the votes were tallied and applause filled the room as the measure to split the football playoffs passed resoundingly.
Since then, attendance at games that I cover has dropped appreciably. And, so have expectations.
There’s nothing to being a playoff team in Louisiana. Shoot for mediocrity and reach it. Oh, well.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarion herald.org.