As the West Ouachita football team enters the second week with numerous players out due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, a collection of Chiefs fans have the same question on their mind — how does this impact West Ouachita’s playoff chances?
The Chiefs had to cancel their game against Ouachita last week and will not play against West Monroe Friday. With two key matchups taken off of the schedule, and without the ability to make up either game, what’s that mean for the playoffs?
“Yeah, we’re punished in a way because we wanted to play, and it hurts us power points wise, and financially,” West Ouachita head coach Matt Middleton said. “But from the LHSAA perspective, as long as they don’t punish us for something that’s out of our control, then there’s a lot of positives.”
West Ouachita’s coaching staff is still looking for confirmation on the latter part. Entering Week 5 of the shortened high school season, the Chiefs sat at No. 30 in the Class 5A non-select power rankings, according to GeauxPreps.com. If the season ended abruptly today, the Chiefs would be one of 32 teams to make the playoffs, and if what Middleton heard is true, missing games shouldn’t hurt the Chiefs.
“From what I understand they will subtract by the actual number of games played by each team, but I don’t know the full deal,” Middleton said.
While coaches and fans alike continue to crunch the numbers in their head, Middleton has taken on the task of practicing with many players unavailable. With what players Middleton could assemble, he and his coaching staff have gone back to the basics in a complex and hopefully once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“It’s been tough,” Middleton said. “We’ve had to be very creative. We’ve really used the end of last week and this week as more of a spring training type atmosphere. To work on some fundamental stuff.”
It might be back to the basics for West Ouachita, but the 2020 football season has proven to be anything but. Middleton and West Ouachita will return to field during this complex season on Nov. 6 for a road contest against Pineville.