Warren Arceneaux column: Crunching the final numbers

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The final week of the football regular season is suddenly here, which means its time to start crunching power rating numbers, trying to remember who your favorite team played in nondistrict games, who those teams play this week and who your team might be playing next week.

Coaches will frown on all that speculation and looking ahead, but it’s all part of the fun for fans of the sport.

Although the area is light on highly-seeded teams this year, the new playoff format makes things interesting, as we should see lots of new postseason matchups after so many teams were switched over to the select school brackets. Even within the non-select divisions, we’ll see new games since the new four-division model will mix teams from different classes. For instance, we could see rivalry games like Oberlin-Oakdale in the postseason now, despite the Tigers still being in Class 1A and Oakdale still being in Class 2A. Grand Lake, despite being reclassified into Class 2A, will be in Division IV for the playoffs, where they could meet former district mates Oberlin, Basile, Elton and East Beauregard.

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Here’s a look at which schools have to most to gain/ lose

In Division I, Sam Houston is clinging to one of the final postseason berths, currently ranked 27th, with the top 28 moving on to the playoffs. The Broncos have a tough task this week, traveling to face Southside, which is 8-1 and has motivation to win since it gets the outright District 3-5A title with the win. The good news for the Broncos is that they may be able to hang on to a berth with a loss, since Southside’s record will give the Broncos a good amount of power points either way. The Broncos did not lose any ground despite losing to E.D. White last week.

Iowa’s big win over St. Louis moved the Yellow Jackets up to third in Division II. They get another chance for a quality win against Cecilia Thursday night. The big key for Iowa is remaining in the top four in order to secure a first round bye. Elsewhere in the division, Iota is 14th and in position to host a first round game, while Jennings is 30th and likely needs to beat St. Louis to earn a playoff spot.

There’s not much drama in Division III. Westlake is up to 19th after moving up three places. Another such jump would get them a first round home game. DeQuincy is 31st and likely would need a win and a bit of help to move up far enough to earn a berth.

Welsh, who will be in Division IV with primarily Class 1A teams, is only eighth in the unofficial power rankings despite being undefeated. Having its Week 1 game against Kinder, a Class 3A school, cost the Greyhounds a chance to earn a couple of bonus power points for playing up.

Welsh can earn a bushel of power points this week if they can win in Crowley Friday night when they take on Notre Dame in a District 5-2A title showdown. The Pioneers, a perennial state power, have seven wins. With 10 points for a win plus a point for each game won by opponents, the Greyhounds would likely earn more than 20 power points with a win.

Basile is currently sixth in Division IV, a couple of spots away from a first round bye. Grand Lake at 14th and East Beauregard at 15th will want to win this week to secure a first round home game. Lake Arthur, 26th, and Elton, 27th, are hanging on to berths and can likely escape the bubble with Week 10 wins. Lake Arthur plays at Vinton, while Elton hosts Hamilton Christian.

Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at warren.arceneaux@americanpress.com