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Southwest Louisiana ,
American Press sports reporter Albert Burford.

American Press sports reporter Albert Burford.

Burford Column: Keep an eye on the little guy

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 10:42 PM

By Rhett Manuel / American Press

Step aside, big guys.

It’s the year of the small and mid-sized school in Southwest Louisiana high school football.

Take a glance at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association football rankings and you’ll find plenty of Class 1A, Class 2A and Class 3A representatives from the area, but few to be found from Classes 4A and 5A.

In 3A alone, Iowa, South Beauregard and Jennings are all ranked in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association top 10 poll. In 2A, Welsh, Vinton and Kinder make up three of the top six teams. And in 1A, Basile and East Beauregard are both in the top eight, while Oberlin sits just outside the top 10.

Move over to 4A, and DeRidder is the lone area team with a top-10 ranking. In 5A, the Lake Area is represented by Barbe at No. 8.

Of course, the season is far from over. We’ve played six games and have four more guaranteed.

But to this point the bigger schools in the area just haven’t performed on the same level as their smaller counterparts.

For one, there are simply fewer schools representing Southwest Louisiana in 4A and 5A. Some of those schools are adjusting to first-year coaches. There are growing pains, and that’s to be expected. Others set up difficult schedules and their records and rankings don’t represent what they’ve gained from the experience of challenging themselves with quality opponents.

Either way, they simply aren’t represented in the rankings the way the Lake Area’s small schools are.

And when it comes to a cheering interest, size shouldn’t matter. Unless someone’s school of choice has a rivalry with one of these smaller schools excelling this season, they should support them. In a year with more championships available than ever at the state level, Lake Area football fans should be supporting their schools at every level in hopes that local teams can make an appearance in as many games as possible in the Superdome come December.

The 2A ranks are among the most intriguing. Welsh, Vinton and Kinder all have 5-1 records, but they also all face each other in District 4. That means not all of the great games in the area involve Barbe, Sulphur, or Washington-Marion. Many games pit two dangerous smaller-school programs with impressive records against each other in tilts that have serious playoff implications.

This isn’t to say Barbe won’t be in the Dome or that another 4A or 5A school can’t sneak in. But once the dust settles, there should be plenty of 1A, 2A and 3A schools still fighting while some of the big guys sit at home.

These schools are also home to some explosive athletes who make 1A games just as fun to watch as 5A battles. Basile’s Kendrick Caeser, Kinder’s Welles Cooley and Khalil LeBlanc and Iowa’s Chaz Key are just a few of the kids making a case for the public to pay attention to smaller schools.

So keep an eye on the little guys. When the playoffs roll around, you’ll want to know a little bit about them as they represent Southwest Louisiana on the big stage.

• • •

Albert Burford covers high school sports for the American Press. Email him at

Posted By: truth On: 10/18/2013

Title: LaGrange

Wow once again no coverage for lagrange. Barbe no championship just a lot of wins and hype. A lot of coverage. That's sad. Poor. One team have players who suppose to enroll there and the other have a lot of out of DISTRICT TRANSFERS.

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