Prep sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020
As we remain in limbo as to if/when high school football or volleyball will start on time and if other sports would be moved up in case they don’t, ideas of what to write about are hard to come by. So I’ll just use today to take a grab-bag approach to the column and touch on a variety of topics instead of focusing on just one.
• Football limbo: High school associations across the country are in quite the conundrum due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no correct decisions for them to make and not enough reliable data for them to try, so it is no surprise to see states taking a variety of different actions to this point.
A big one came yesterday when the California Interscholastic Federation moved football (and all fall sports) to the spring semester, joining Virginia and New Mexico as the only states to take that step. The CIF also pushed the finishing date for basketball back to June, increasing the chances that the sport could possibly hold a full season.
Meanwhile, Georgia, another prep football hotbed, announced plans to go ahead with a full regular season and five-round playoff system starting Sept. 4. If the LHSAA is waiting to see what other states do before deciding on a course of action, they are not getting much help considering the disparate plans being put in place around the country.
• If we do get football anytime soon, there is no shortage of intrigue among area teams. St. Louis has nearly everyone back from last year’s team that made a run to the semifinals, including QB Cooper Miller and RB Evan Joubert to lead the offense and lineman Wesley Maze on the defensive line.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Oberlin, which has less than a handful of starters back from what had been one of the area’s most dominant programs in recent years. The Tigers baseball program lost a chance to defend its state championship last spring. Barbe had a legit shot to win in both baseball and softball and St. Louis was set up to compete for several spring sports championships.
• Local baseball players have been making a lot of noise at the New Balance Future Stars national championships being held in Sulphur and Lake Charles. Former Barbe Buc Brody Drost picked up one more title before departing for LSU by helping Team Louisiana/Sheets Baseball win the Class of 2021 tournament. Buc senior Kyle DeBarge earned all tournament honors playing for Louisiana Knights Blue.
A trio of area players — Singer’s Tate Hess, Sam Houston’s Sam Ardoin and Kinder’s Griffin Cooley helped Team Louisiana win the Class of 2023 tournament. Hess was the starting pitcher in the championship game and Cooley served as the team’s leadoff hitter and had an inside-the-park home run during the tournament. The team was coached by former McNeese star and major league Danny Ardoin.
In testing at the National Combine for the top draft prospects in the country, Barbe’s Gavin Guidry posted the sixth-best 60-yard dash time, clocking in at 6.82 seconds. Guidry is one of a handful of underclassmen invited to participate. Barbe senior pitcher Jack Walker and Rosepine senior catcher/infielder Ethan Frey are also participating. Walker is committed to play at Mississippi State, while Frey is committed to LSU.
• In recruiting news, St. Louis senior pitcher Parker Morgan, a left-handed pitcher, committed to play college baseball at Nicholls State. Saints girls basketball forward Myca Trail received offers from McNeese and Nicholls State last week. Jennings running back Trevor Etienne received offers from Florida State and Clemson over the past two weeks. He also holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and LSU.
Warren Arceneaux covers prep sports. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org