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From the Sidelines

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

College basketball may have its March Madness but right now, high school football in Louisiana is having its November Madness.

It is playoff time and anything can happen. Just look at the bi-districtplayoffs last weekend.

In Classes 2A, 3A and 5A alone, 11 wildcard teams advanced. Included inthose victories was a 20-17 victory by Ruston over No. 3 Airline inovertime; a 45-6 crushing of No. 4 St. Amant by Carencro; and a 27-19 winby Jesuit over No. 10 Salmen in Class 5A. No. 11 Bonnabel also was upsetby Terrebonne which will be East St. John’s next opponent.In Class 3A, Lutcher upset No. 6 Redemptorist, No. 12 Erath fell toWashington Marion and No. 14 Kaplan lost to Booker T. Washington (N.O.)who will next host Lutcher.

Over in Class 2A, things were a little more normal as only No. 8 Patterson(which fell to Pope John Paul II) and No. 9 Many (which lost to Coushatta)failed to advance to the second round. Pope John Paul now travels toRiverside while Loranger, which defeated St. Helena, heads to West St.John. St. Charles Catholic threw a scare into No. 6 Clinton before theEagles rallied for a 26-17 win.

The outcomes in the first round have set up some intriguing matchups in the regionals. In Class 5A, No. 2 Sulphur will host No. 7 Carencro. No. 5Ouachita will also be at home against No. 12 Ruston. No. 6 Catholic travelsto No. 8 Shaw in a classic New Orleans-Baton Rouge matchup. Locally, Destrehan travels to Metairie to face Archbishop Rummel and East St. John plays host to Terrebonne which it beat earlier this season inDistrict 6-5A action.

In Class 3A, No. 3 Breaux Bridge travels to No. 5 Brusly and No. 4Independence hosts No. 9 Abbeville in the only games matchups betweenranked teams. In local action, St. James hosts Belle Chasse which itdefeated in the bi-district playoffs a year ago. Lutcher travels to TadGormley Stadium next Saturday to take on Booker T. Washington.In Class 2A, No. 3 Vinton travels to No. 4 Port Barre. No. 5 OuachitaChristian hosts No. 12 Loyola while No. 10 West St. John welcomes No. 11Loranger to Edgard. And Riverside gets an opportunity to get a measure ofrevenge on Pope John Paul II which it can be remembered, knocked the Rebels out of the baseball playoffs this year on the way to the state championship.

While the football championships are still a month away from being decided the state volleyball tournament was completed this week. And asusual the River Parishes were well represented in both numbers and performance.

East St. John, Hahnville, Lutcher, Riverside and St. Charles Catholic wereall making repeat appearances at the tournament from a year ago while Reserve Christian was making its first appearance in the Pont-chartrain Center in its first year in the LHSAA.

Hahnville and Riverside made their appearances a memorable one, both winning their first games ever at the tournament. Hahnville advanced tothe regional playoffs while Riverside went to the quarterfinals.

St. Charles Catholic, under a new coach this time, made its secondstraight trip to the semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Newman.

It was also a memorable tournament for St. Charles Catholic’s ShannonDolive and Riverside’s Michelle Millet, both of whom were named to the all-tournament team.

Looking at the faces of the players after the matches, you could see what high school athletics were all about. Their were looks of total joy or totalsadness. These girls were not playing for any money, they were playing formemories.

Yes, they wanted to win. They had worked all season and even before to getto that point. And because of that, it was not just those that had thetrophies that went home champions.

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