Some new opponents – and some not so new – join Port Allen and Brusly in the newly formed district the Louisiana High School Athletic Association formally approved last week.
Parkview Baptist and West Feliciana – will rejoin West Baton Rouge Parish schools as part of “Greater Baton Rouge Area” District 7-3A.
Baker, Glen Oaks and University High will also join the district.
Donaldsonville and E.D. White will move to District 9-3A, which also includes Berwick, Franklin and Patterson.
St. Charles – which moved to 3A for the first time two years ago – joins a New Orleans area district which includes John Curtis, Academy of Sacred Heart, De La Salle, Lusher Charter, Louise McGehee, Eleanor McMain and Xavier Prep.
Enrollment figures put John Curtis in 2A classification, but the football powerhouse opted to play in Class 3A.
A previous plan to move John Curtis to the Baton Rouge district drew strong opposition from area schools.
“Every two years it seems like a controversy on it, and we felt like we should’ve been in Baton Rouge the last couple of times, but I don’t know how you’d classify the district. We dealt with it,” Brusly principal Walt Lemoine said. “But when they tried to put a team from New Orleans in the district it didn’t make sense.”
The LHSAA reclassifies district every two years. The association based its classification on enrollment figures provided to the LHSAA by the state Department of Education.
The reclassification makes the area district even more competitive, Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said.
“If the district we were in was like the SEC, we’re now the SEC with Texas A&M and Missouri, “ he said. “We lost state champion St. Charles but gained state champion Parkview and semifinalist U-High, and we’re gaining a perennial playoff team like West Feliciana, almost like our old district.
“You’ll also see Glen Oaks and Baker building up their programs,” Blanchard said. “There’s not going to be a ‘gimme’ in this district – it’s tough as ever.”
The reclassification won’t make the competition easier, but it will help with logistics, Lemoine said.
“It’s not like we’re in an easy district,” he said. “It’s just more convenient for us travel wise. It may still be two hours with traffic, but mileage-wise, it will be better for everybody. It made sense in my opinion that we’re not in a district from New Orleans.
“You say John Curtis, and it makes it even more profound, but if it had been someone else, it would’ve been the same way,” Lemoine said. “We already felt we didn’t belong in a district with someone from LaPlace (St. Charles) and E.D. White. That was an hour-plus drive there. I understand in the state you have people in those situations, but when you’re in situations where you don’t have to. But we were in an area here where you didn’t have to travel that way.”
Officials from Port Allen and Brusly high schools two years ago voiced displeasure with the plan that put them in the district with St. Charles and E.D. White.
Livonia, which was originally slated to move into the 7-3A district, convinced the LHSAA the Wildcats should play in the “Acadiana” 5-3A, which includes Ville Platte, Northwwest, Port Barre, Church Point, and Pine Prairie.
In other areas, Plaquemine High will compete in Distrcc6-4A, which also includes Belaire, Lutcher, St. Michael and Tara.
St. John-Plaquemine remains in an unchanged 8-1A. Other teams include Ascension Catholic, Ascension Christian, East Iberville, West St. John and White Castle.
District 5-1A, meanwhile, will include Catholic-Pointe Coupee, False River Academy, North Central, Pointe Coupee Central, Sacred Heart and St. Edmund.