NCHS, SMHS wait as LHSAA delays football playoff pairings until today

Natchitoches Central is in the state football playoffs and will play somewhere Friday night.

St. Mary’s seems destined to open the playoffs Friday night at 7 at home in Turpin Stadium. There’s a chance it might be Thursday night, though – keep reading.

Who are the Chiefs and Tigers going to play? We’ll have to wait until 11 this morning, at the earliest, to find out.

The announcement of the LHSAA’s nine different playoff brackets was slated for Sunday but was delayed. An appeal, reportedly involving the use of an ineligible player at Booker T. Washington High in New Orleans, will be considered at 9 a.m.

The LHSAA delayed all bracket releases until after it is resolved because results of the appeal could affect all classifications.

NCHS, after losing its last two games to finish 7-3, has dipped to 20th in Class 5A according to the power ratings, unofficial but highly reliable. It seems very unlikely that BTW’s appeal could scramble the standings enough to get the Chiefs into the top 16 and hosting a first-round game, but it could lead to a different first-round destination.

Currently, Natchitoches Central seems headed for a rematch with last Friday’s foe, Benton, but this time in Bossier Parish. Benton (7-3) stands 12th in the 5A power points rankings after its 35-16 triumph at Turpin Stadium.

St. Mary’s is seventh in Division IV power points and seems solidly in position to host an opening-round game Friday night (assuming NCHS doesn’t shift up the 5A rankings highly enough to host; Tigers coach Aaron York’s team played last Thursday, and York would be willing to do so again to get an extra day’s rest for a potential second-round game).

The Division IV postseason includes just 16 teams, so the top eight host in the first round. St. Mary’s (8-2) seems likely to be paired with Hanson Memorial (7-3) out of Franklin in a contest pairing two playoff tradition-rich schools.