The football regular season provided a few answers for what was a murky picture coming into the season, but there are still questions aplenty heading into the postseason.
Oberlin ran the table in the regular season, establishing themselves as the new power in District 4-1A after two-time defending champion St. Edmund was moved out in reclassification. The Tigers are the second seed in the Class 1A playoffs. The question now facing them is if they are no on par with the oligarchy of traditional powers in the class such as Haynesville, West St. John and Oak Grove. One of those powers, Kentwood (which knocked Oberlin out of the playoffs each year from 2013-15), moved up to 2A in the latest reclass, making the path to the dome a little less difficult for the Tigers. Last year's Oberlin team suffered a narrow 14-8 loss to Oak Grove in the quarterfinals. This year's Oberlin team is still stingy on defense and has added an efficient passing game to its offense. If seeds hold, Oberlin's path to the title game would include games against Haynesville and White Castle, the team that ruined the Tigers' most recent trip to the semifinals in 2010. Haynesville beat Oberlin in regional round games in both 2012 and 2017.
In Lake Charles, revenge will be on the mind of the Barbe Bucs, who will host Mandeville in the opening round. The Skippers came to Lake Charles and beat the Bucs in a thrilling regional round game in 2014. The teams split a pair of regular season games over the next two years, but a Bucs win this week would help heal the wounds of both the 2014 loss as well as last season's first round home loss to Landry-Walker. The Bucs haven't lost consecutive first round games since losing three in a row from 2004-06.
Conversely, the Sam Houston Broncos haven't won a postseason game since 2006, suffering seven straight losses, including a home loss to Denham Springs last season. The Broncos have a pair of electric playmakers in Tayven Grice and Luke Yuhasz, but have held just one opponent to less than 27 points over the last six weeks. In the 7-game playoff losing streak, the Broncos have been held to 25 points or less in every game. To end the streak, the Broncos will have to find a way to show it can win a slugfest type of game in addition to a high-scoring shootout. First round opponent Covington has not allowed more than 24 points in a game this season and won three games in which it scored 21 or fewer points. The Broncos scored at least 28 in each of its 8 regular season wins.
In Class 3A, Lake Charles College Prep enters having won four straight, but has turned in uneven performances. Each of those wins have come by ten points or less as the Blazers have struggled playing well in all phases of the game at the same time. That inconsistency doesn't bode well for a long playoff run, particularly with a long trip to New Orleans likely in the second round. The Blazers are young on defense and need to mature in a hurry if it is to duplicate last year's run to the quarterfinals. That team allowed a total of only 22 points in its two wins. This year's team allowed 32 points per game in five district games.
District mate St. Louis has been one of the area's most consistent teams, winning six of its last seven, with the one loss being to the Blazers in a game the Saints controlled for the first half before the Blazers stormed back in the second half. Evan Joubert has run for 1,500 yards to lead the offense, which showed it could move through the air last week with Cooper Miller throwing four touchdown passes. The Saints benefit from getting their first home playoff game since 2010. Finishing strong allowed the Saints to get up to the fifth seed, meaning they will have a winnable second round game should they advance. They will have to travel, but the Saints have fared well on the road with wins at E.D. White and Loyola Prep, its likely second round opponent, the past two years.
Despite those wins, the Saints last won twice in the postseason in 2007.
Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at email@example.com