Parish football coaches had mixed feelings about the Louisiana High School Athletic Association postponing re-classification for one year because of the lingering effects and extensive damage from multiple hurricanes that battered communities across the Louisiana coastline.
“I think it’s horrible,” said Delta Charter head football coach Blake Wheeler. “The quicker we can get Oak Grove and Cedar Creek out of our district, the better.”
Oak Grove and Cedar Creek are both rumored to go up to Class 2A at the next re-classification, while district foe Ouachita Christian is another possibility.
“I think Oak Grove has proven what they can do in 1A,” Wheeler said. “It would be more fulfilling for them.”
Wheeler’s Storm team will open the season at home next year against Darbonne Charter.
River Oaks is coming to Ferriday on the third playing date.
Vidalia head coach Michael Norris said the postponement will put Louisiana on the same re-classification cycle as Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas.
“There is going to be a big shake-up,” Norris said. “I don’t know if we will stay in the same district. Especially if we have teams around here moving up to 2A.”
Vidalia will open its season at home in 2021 against Sicily Island.
The Vikings will travel to Jena in week two and host Jonesboro-Hodge the third week.
LaSalle is scheduled for week four, but Beekman Charter may be requesting to move back into the district.
The remainder of Vidalia’s games will be district.
“Coach Stanley (Smith) and I have talked about changing our district games around where we can play each other in week 10 in the final game of the regular season,” Norris said.
Ferriday head coach Stanley Smith said he’s okay with the postponement.
“I think it will kind of stabilize things with the states around us,” Smith said. “With COVID-19 going on, it may balance things out.”
Ferriday is looking to start its season at Alexandria Senior High once again after last year’s game was canceled.
“We’re still waiting to see what Beekman is going to do,” Smith said. “Right now we’re just ready to get back in the weight room.”
In a memo, obtained by GeauxPreps.com, sent to member school principals and head coaches on December 10, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine announced that reclassification of its member schools would be postponed until the fall of 2021.
The memo stated that the storms displaced a large number of families affected in approximately 27 parishes and over 200 plus member schools.
Ken Bradford, the LHSAA/LDOE liaison, submitted a report to the association stating that overall enrollment numbers of students K-12 were presently unaccounted for in the initial October 1, 2020 report.
The decision comes just a few months after the Executive Committee voted to move the process from its originally scheduled October 2020 meetings until February 2021 largely due to the displacement of students following a multitude of catastrophic hurricanes.
Bonine noted in the memo that although the current classification numbers would roll over one more year, schools have the option to seek new opponents out of district play, but would only be able to sign a one-year agreement.
Another issue that plagued many coaches whose schools are located near any of Louisiana’s borders may now be solved. In the memo, Bonine stated that the new reclassification cycles which will take effect for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years would align the LHSAA with most bordering state’s classification periods.
Louisiana teams have always tried to work out two-year agreements with teams from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas but would not always be able to due to the overlapping of each other’s two-year classification cycles.
The new realignment would now help alleviate some of the scheduling conflicts for multiple sports.
The LHSAA’s reclassification process normally occurs every two years and is applied for administration and competition purposes. Member schools are classified based on total enrollment in grades 9-12. From there, those schools are sorted equally into five classes for football and seven for most other sports.