By Kyle Roberts and Malcolm Butler
As the 2023 regular season has concluded for Louisiana High School football, and now the playoffs brackets are set for the three high school football squads in the parish.
It will be unsurprising if you have been following Ruston High this season to learn that the Bearcats will finished with No. 1 overall seed in the Division I, Non-Select bracket, earning a first round bye and now awaiting the winner of the 16/17 matchup between Westgate and Terrebonne for a home matchup on Friday, Nov. 17.
“I’m just really proud for the kids and the coaches,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “And I think it’s a reflection of the work that’s been put in starting as soon as the season was over last year and getting back to work. And I just think those guys, all of the kids and coaches, have done a good job getting prepared every week and going out playing as well as we can. We had a mark on our back each week, and we were going to get everybody’s best game. And we managed to find a way to win.”
Ruston fans will no doubt look at the bracket and circle the potential matchup in the quarterfinals, as No. 8 West Monroe may have to come to “The Hoss” after an exciting regular season finale in Rebel stadium that saw the Bearcats get the win 35-28.
For Baugh and the staff, though, the goal as usual is to take it one week at a time.
“Once you get a game or two into the playoffs, everybody’s good,” Baugh said. “Everybody can beat you on a given night if you’re not playing well. So I think regardless of who the opponent is, if you’re not getting yourself prepared to execute, you stand a chance to lose the ballgame.”
For Cedar Creek, the Cougars finished with a 4-5 record this season and earned a No. 21 overall seed in the Division IV, Select bracket. Creek will now travel to No. 12 Catholic-P.C. in New Roads, La.
“Catholic-P.C. is a good football team,” Cedar Creek head coach William Parkerson said. “They play really hard on defense and rally to the football. They mix up fronts between the 3-4 and the 3-3 stack. Offensively, they are primarily a spread team and will mix in some I-formation. They mix the run and the pass, but everything starts with getting their run game going.”
Unfortunately for Lincoln Prep, the Panthers will be on the outside looking in as the top 24 seeds in their division earned an automatic selection. The Panthers finished No. 25 overall in the power rankings with a 2-7 record.