LHSAA moves Prep Classic to Natchitoches

Rodrick Anderson

The recent coronavirus pandemic surge has led to another major change to high school sports.

Those who grow up dreaming of one day playing for a state championship in the Big Easy’s Superdome and eating Bourbon Street beignets will instead — at least for this season — have to settle for Turpin Stadium and Front Street meat pies in Natchitoches.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a news release.

The games will be played Dec. 27-30.

The move is temporary as the Prep Classic will return to New Orleans in 2021, the LHSAA said in a news release.

The move, which had been widely speculated since the season began, was in direct response to surging COVID-19 numbers in New Orleans.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently threatened to enact tighter restrictions if the city’s COVID-19 count did not improve by this weekend.

In a news release, the LHSAA cited stadium capacity restrictions due to COVID-19, which would be further curtailed if Cantrell adds new restrictions, financial obligations and the risk of games being canceled if they remained at the Superdome.

The Superdome has been the home of the Prep Classic since 1981. It is the second time in 39 years that the state championships have been moved from the Superdome. The other was in 2005 when damage from Hurricane Katrina forced the games to be played at Independence Stadium in Shreveport.

“We are thankful Northwestern State University stepped up to host our football championships,” LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said. “We are certain Northwestern State University will provide a first-class experience.”

Turpin Stadium opened in 1975 and seats 15,971 and boasts an artificial turf playing surface.The LHSAA has moved the annual Prep Classic from the Superdome in New Orleans to Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium in Natchitoches Dec. 27-30.

Northwestern State University

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