Don’t Trust The Polls, Numbers Lie
It's easy to rely on sources like the LSWA Polls to make predictions about the playoffs, but the numbers might be lying to you this time.
Teams that started rough had a steep hill to climb, but they could be peaking at the end of the season. Other squads who started off hot could be cooling off heading into the playoffs. Young players who lacked experience could finally be ready for the big stage. So many factors to put into play, and so little time left to spare.
Let's start in 5A, where using the term "sleeper" isn't even correct. This might be flatout hibernation.
Remember last season, when the Acadiana Wreckin' Rams started the season a bit rocky and ended up hoisting the state title? Doesn't this season strike you as eerily similar? Ted Davidson's crew isn't even ranked in the top 10 in the LSWA polls, and the current LHSAA power rankings have them sitting at #11 (right in front of Barbe at #12).
Feel free to believe they're not as dangerous as before, but don't complain when you get popped in the mouth.
For starters, AHS is on a five game win streak in District 3-5A. To make matters more interesting, QB Myles Hutchinson is figuring out a way to move the ball in the air to compliment the explosive veer attack. Throw in pure playmakers like Jayrin Wilson, Kevin Moore and Malik George, and I see know reason why the Wreckin' Rams couldn't make a run again this year.
The Acadiana area is well represented in the 4A classification, with Crowley, Teurlings and St. Thomas More all positioned for solid seeding in their respective playoff brackets...but what about Cecilia?
The Bulldogs only loss was a one-point thriller to Crowley earlier in the season, yet the Gents check in at #2 in the LSWA Polls, while Cecilia doesn't even crack the top ten? The LHSAA Power Rankings have the Dogs considerably higher (#5), so what are the writers seeing that we're not? The combination of select and non-select schools contributes to a bit of the discrepancy, but it's still a bit head-scratching.
Wherever they're seeded, Cecilia will make noise. Believe that.
No real beefs arise in the 3A polls. Eunice and Patterson are incredibly dangerous teams heading into the playoffs, and the LHSAA power rankings have them first and fourth, respectively. Both are peaking to finish the season and are familiar with the landscape of postseason play.
The only surprises concern Church Point and Jennings. For some reason, Jennings is ranked 10th in the polls, despite being seven spots behind Church Point in the power rankings. Jennings' defense has been suspect, while Church Point's suffered a couple blowouts at the hands of worthy opponents. Both teams will be invited to the dance, but we'll see how long their tangos last.
Notre Dame's top spot in 2A is absolutely deserved. The Pios are a wrecking crew, and they might not get even tested until the later rounds of the playoffs. My issue arises from another undefeated team not getting the love they deserve. Can somebody please explain why the Welsh Greyhounds are ranked #10 in the polls?
What more can they do? Welsh has scored over 50 points in seven out of their nine games, and sit at #2 in the 2A power rankings. There's a ton of talented 2A select schools, but a team that's averaging a 57-14 victory every week deserves more than the ten spot in the LSWA Polls.
That's just this humble writer's opinion, but the Greyhounds will have a chance to prove their dominance at the end of the season against Kinder...or Kinder could prove me wrong.
Before moving on from 2A, one quick note: the entire playoff bracket needs to beware if Catholic High-New Iberia makes it into the playoffs. After getting four wins stripped by the LHSAA, the Panthers are an angry team and would be severely underseeded. Unfortunately for them, they face Notre Dame to finish the season. The forfeiture could really prove to be a shame because sophomore QB Diallo Landry and veteran back Seth Pierre were starting to get this team rolling.
Ascension Episcopal sits atop the power rankings for Division IV, yet they sit behind St. Mary's in the LSWA Polls. The Blue Gators are one win away from collecting an undefeated regular season in one of the most brutal districts in all of 1A. Sure, the Blue Gators aren't exactly an established powerhouse this early in their program's development, but that doesn't make this crew any less special.
People typically fear Vermilion Catholic coming out of District 7-1A, so why not pick the team that beat them as the favorite for the playoffs?
Michael Desormeaux and his team, led by Quarterback Jake Arceneaux, would love to let the rest of the state know how legitimate they are. The crazy thing about powerhouses is they have to start somewhere...
By the same token, Central Catholic-Morgan City and Vermilion Catholic make up the other ends of three three-headed District 7-1A monster. If Central topples AES to finish the season, it could be the spark they need heading into the playoffs...and VC is VC. It just proves how solid the Blue Gators have been all year.
Really, we should all be rejoicing. The playoffs are here, and the Acadiana area is represented in every single classification. How many trophies will make the trip back from the Superdome on I-10? My bet is multiple.