Middleton concerned about new district, scheduling challenges

Just a few weeks ago, Cedar Creek High School coach Matt Middleton felt pretty good about the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) reclassification proposal.

The original proposal had the Ruston-based single A school moving west to District 1-1A which would include Arcadia, Glenbrook, Haynesville, Homer, Lincoln Prep, Magnolia School of Excellence and Plain Dealing.

The eight-team district would make scheduling much easier with seven built-in district games as well as travel even a little bit more friendly.

That was then. This is now.

Middleton told the Lincoln Parish Journal on Sunday that the newest LHSAA proposal now has the Creek in a five-team District 2-1A scenario that includes Ouachita Christian, St. Frederick, River Oaks and Lincoln Prep.

And his biggest concern: scheduling.

“That’s only five teams, which mean’s its only four district games,” said Middleton. “I only have the first three (non-district games) scheduled. So that means I have to go find three games. We were expecting a big district (8 teams) where I had the entire schedule done.

“The tough part is most of all these other classifications had their established and there was no change so they were able to go out and get games. There isn’t a lot of (scheduling opportunities) out there to try to go get. We have to be creative in how we do that. And its going to be a big challenge to try to finish our schedule up.”

Although the early November proposal was just that … a proposal. Most people thought it would happen. So what did happen to make it change?

“They originally kicked us west,” said Middleton. “And that would have put an eight-team district over here. But the powers that be – the Haynesville’s and the OCS’s – had a different proposal and it looks as if their proposal that they wanted is going to end up working out.

“It won’t be official until the first week of December, but this is the last draft. It looks as if this is going to be it.”

Middleton tentatively has three non-district games scheduled next year and then the four District 2-1A games against OCS, St. Frederick, Lincoln Prep and River Oaks. That means he needs to work diligently – and probably pretty creatively – to find three more while keeping power rankings in mind.

“It’s going to be really tough,” said Middleton. “Especially since we are late and almost everybody else is done. We all know that scheduling is everything in the Division IV playoffs. It’s all about power points. At the end of the day its about wins, but you have to make sure you get some power points. So if you play some tough competition and you don’t (get points) that hurts you too. It’s a tough deal.”

The Cougars are coming off a successful season that saw them post a 6-4 record with close regular season losses to St. Frederick (7-6), Jonesboro-Hodge (28-26) and OCS (33-22) before falling again to the top-seeded Eagles in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.


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