Kinder, Rosepine, Welsh carry flag
In the five years since the high school football playoffs have been split into brackets for public and private schools, Southwest Louisiana has produced three state championship teams and one runner-up, with a team reaching the Superdome every year but 2016.
The area has three candidates to continue that run of success this season, with Rosepine, Welsh and Kinder all seeded in the top eight in Class 2A.
Rosepine (10-0) had a perfect regular season. Welsh (7-3) is the defending state champion. Kinder (6-4) had an up-and-down regular season but is hitting its stride at the perfect time, said head coach Bret Fuselier.
The No. 6 Yellow Jackets, who reached the championship game three consecutive times from 2013-15, is hoping to challenge for a return trip this season. They open the playoffs at home against No. 27 Bunkie (4-6).
“I’m pretty pleased with the regular season we had,” Fuselier said. “Looking back there are always some things you would have liked to do differently, but when you look at our four losses (Welsh, Notre Dame, Kaplan and Breaux Bridge), they were all to very good teams. Our team is peaking at the right time. Credit goes to them for not giving up.”
Fuselier is excited to have a healthy squad heading into the postseason.
“It was a year of injuries,” he said. “It was always one guy going down as soon as one came back; we were never able to play with a full squad,” he said. “We also made some changes. We went back under center on offense and decided to keep things simple on defense.”
The changes paid off as the Yellow Jackets closed the regular season with three wins in the final four weeks, including a 23-7 win last week over defending Class 3A champion West Feliciana.
Fuselier said he expects a challenge from Bunkie.
“They are an athletic team,” Fuselier said of the Panthers. “They will be excited to be in the playoffs and last week they came back to win, scoring 19 straight points.”
Basile (8-2) is eyeing another long run after reaching the quarterfinals last season, its fifth appearance in the final eight over the last six years. The No. 6 Bearcats will host No. 27 Tensas (1-9).
Oberlin also opens at home as the eighth seed. The Tigers will host No. 25 Northwood-Lena (3-6).
Welsh’s Kadence LaBove hangs on to bring down Ty Fuselier during there game at Welsh High School in Welsh, La., Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)