The Louisiana High School Athletic Association backed off an original ruling that would push Franklin Parish, Neville and Bastrop into a 10-team district, and split the district into two five-team districts.
“We made a bad situation into a good situation,” said Franklin Parish Athletic Director Barry Sebren. “We were able to salvage something that left everyone happy except Evangel.”
After West Ouachita moved up to Class 5A, Franklin Parish was left with Neville and Bastrop in District 2-4A.
“It really was surreal how that worked out,” said Nevllle coach Mickey McCarthy. “I felt good about having the district divided. I hope everything works out. It’s been a very different scheduling year.”
At the re-classification meeting last month, the LHSAA executive committee voted to combine all the Class 4A schools in north Louisiana into one district for 2019 for football only.
Sebren said the initial proposal was to move the three Alexandria-area schools (Leesville, Tioga and Bolton) in with Monroe.”
“That was voted down 12-6 twice with a number of schools abstaining,” Sebren said.
Evangel which will compete in 4A for the first time next fall, will no longer have to struggle to fill out a football schedule.
Originally, the alteration would have meant Northwood, Huntington, Evangel, BTW, Minden, Woodlawn and North DeSoto would be with Neville, Bastrop and Franklin Parish.
“That passed by a 10-8 vote,” Sebren said. “That actually is not bad for Neville because they just get on the interstate and go. It affects us the most because we have the longest road to travel. We’re trying to work it out where we don’t have the longest trip a number of times each year.”
McCarthy said his goal was to have a six-team district.
“That was our proposal,” McCarthy said. “ We didn’t see it coming to a 10-team district. We didn’t see what happened coming. Our district as well as the Shreveport area district both agreed that it was pros and cons. Biggest pro was filling up the schedule.The biggest negative was losing some rivalry games.”
The 10 teams met in Ruston last week and Evangel and Neville were put into two districts and names were drawn by the Ruston principal to determine who would be in which district.
Fittingtly, the draw has Franklin Parish in the same district with Neville, Bastrop, Huntington and Minden.
At first, there was an option of making co-champs with the winner of each side of the district.
“But we decided to establish a champion so they (LHSAA) won’t have arson to come back on us,” Sebren said. “It’s going to be a five-step elimination wins against 4A teams.
Sebren was hoping to schedule a game with Vidalia, but Viking head coach Dee Faircloth had already contacted Caldwell after the original ruling.
Franklin Parish has played Ferriday the past two years.
Franklin Parish will open the season against Jena. Sebren said they are still looking for an opponent in week two. Week three will find the Patriots facing Richwood, followed by Logansport and Union before district play begins.
“Once you start district play, you know what you’ll get power pointwise in district play,” McCarthy said. “A few factors in there that had to be met to split the district. In the end, our district felt like our old 2-4A district got what we were hoping for in expanding the district and also allowed for us to schedule those non-district rivalry games. It also felt like we would be losing revenue which was also a big concern but we got those things back.”