The Ouachita Christian Eagles are heading to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after all.
OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh got the nod Monday morning from LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine after he requested to play the state championship game in New Orleans.
Catholic-Pointe Coupee and OCS will play for the Division IV championship on Friday, Dec. 13, at noon. Championship games for the five non-select classifications will be played the same weekend.
As the highest seed, the fifth-ranked Eagles (12-1) held the right to host the game. OCS always wanted the game to be played as part of the LHSAA Prep Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome the weekend of Dec. 13-14.
“I took a group of our kids to the ’Dome last December and told them to soak it in, smell it, breath it and make it your goal to get back here,” Fitzhugh said.
The Eagles’ dream of playing in the Superdome appeared to be shattered in September when the select schools reaffirmed their decision to pull out of the Superdome Classic.
OCS, Catholic-Pointe Coupee, Calvary Baptist and St. Frederick were among the minority of Division IV schools opposed to pulling out of the Prep Classic.
“I was flabbergasted when the vote came down,” Fitzhugh recalled.
Clinging to the hope of somehow playing in the Superdome, Fitzhugh notified Bonine of OCS’ desire to join the non-select schools for championship weekend in New Orleans. Fitzhugh’s request, of course, was contingent upon the Eagles reaching the state finals as the higher seed.
“God moved a lot of mountains for us to get here,” Fitzhugh said. “I read the other day where the LHSAA conducted a survey, and 300 out of 300 kids said the state championship game should be played in the ‘Dome. Every kid in Louisiana grows up wanting to play in the ‘Dome.”
Had the LHSAA denied the Eagles’ request to play in the ’Dome, the game would have been played Friday, Dec. 6, at OCS. Now the Hornets and Eagles get an extra week to prepare.
This is one time Fitzhugh will willingly take the long road trip over playing at home.
“Very few states get to play their state championship games indoors,” Fitzhugh said. “It’s such a great facility, and such a great atmosphere. Why not take advantage of it? The state championship game belongs in the ‘Dome.”
Thanks to Fitzhugh’s foresight to write the September letter, the Superdome is exactly where the Division IV state championship game will be played.