While the Covid-19 pandemic raged on over the summer, many Louisiana high schoolers were left with questions about whether or not they would get to participate in one of the most instrumental parts of the state’s culture; high school football. A look back at Twitter threads through the season helps reconstruct what high-school football looked like during the pandemic.
In the fall, as the football community was awaiting news from the LHSAA, news broke that coach Paul Trosclair of Eunice High School was resigning from his head coaching position. Trosclair, a 25-year coaching veteran, was forced to resign due to his increased risk from Covid due to multiple myeloma. Trosclair was not alone, as many coaches across the country needed to make the same decision. In their article profiling Trosclair, the New York Times mentioned that over 30 high school coaches had passed away from Covid.
The pandemic is chasing aging #coaches from the field. One of Louisiana's most successful high school #football coaches retired, concerned that his blood cancer made him vulnerable to COVID-19. https://t.co/OX5pmvU2zm pic.twitter.com/1KU6xyuBgs
— Unrivaled Group (@UnrivaledGroup) September 25, 2020
This news came after tragedy struck earlier in the pandemic, when beloved former coach Wayne Reese Sr. passed away due to Covid complications. These two events led to more questions about whether or not a season would be played.
Wow Man I’m in complete shock just heard of the passing of Coach Wayne Reese from Covid-19 . So sad. Man was a legend in Louisiana Prep football. R.I.P. Coach. True Icon of NOLA high school football https://t.co/0G0AvH4514
— Coach P.J.Sprunk jr. (@CoachSprunk) April 2, 2020
Students and fans alike awaited news from the LHSAA on whether or not there would be a season. Things did not look promising early, as the month of September passed without any news on the start of the season.
— Parker Waters (@ParkerWaters) September 1, 2020
Finally, on October 1st, the LHSAA ruled that the season could happen with strict Covid guidelines. Among these guidelines were 25% capacity and decreased concession stands. While many were happy with this decision, the cut in both ticket and concession sales was a hard pill to swallow for many schools. Acadiana High School head coach Matt McCullough was quoted saying that the school would lose somewhere between $50,00 and $70,000 due to the restrictions.
— John Walton (@John_Walton_) October 1, 2020
Once play got underway, things went relatively smoothly. However, some teams had worse luck with containing the virus than others, with cancellations being somewhat common. For a few teams, these cancellations came at the worst time possible. One of these teams was Archbishop Shaw High School. Right before their scheduled Division 1 playoff matchup vs John Curtis High School, someone on the Shaw team got a positive test. This resulted in Shaw being forced to forfeit, and losing its spot in the playoffs.
— Ed Daniels (@WGNOsports) November 26, 2020
Additionally, teams like the Zachary Broncos, Donaldsonville Tigers, and Scotlandville Hornets got the final two games of their season canceled. While many might have seen this coming, it did not make it sting any less.
I wish it wasn’t true! After speaking to Coach Brew to confirm, This sucks!!! Our players can’t play and they’ve done nothing wrong! Best believe, my boys will be stronger and hungrier!!🐝🏈🐝🏈🐝🏈🐝 https://t.co/pm8cBxZolU
— Lester Ricard Jr. (@lricard8) November 10, 2020
Once the playoffs came around, things went relatively smoothly. All of the divisions in the state were able to crown a State Champion. The headline of the State Playoffs was the dominance of the Lafayette Parish. Four schools from the area won state championships in their respective divisions. These teams were Lafayette Christian, St. Thomas More, Acadiana, and Carenco. Below is a list of all the winners.
Congratulations to the 2020 State Champions! Through a season that many thought wouldn’t happen, you rose above everyone else!!
D4: Calvary Baptist
D3: Lafayette Christian
D2: St. Thomas More
1A: Oak Grove
3A: Madison Prep
5A: Acadiana pic.twitter.com/sTAsIgiq9n
— Louisiana Football Report #LAHSFB (@LAFBReport) December 31, 2020
The season was also a success for the state as a whole. According to MaxPreps, seven Louisiana schools were ranked in the top 60 of the whole country. Additionally, according to 247 Sports, 16 of the top 500 players in the class of 2021 were from Louisiana.
Louisiana HS Football represented well in 2020 National Rankings: #25 Acadiana, #27 Catholic High, #29 St. Thomas Moore, #40 Carencro, #43 Karr, #45 Brother Martin, #58 John Curtis.
— Coach George L. Hart (@GEORGELHART) January 11, 2021
While it was not easy, many teams were able to play a football season. This should be celebrated for many reasons. The communities that rallied around these high school teams, the school’s budgets, and the players who received scholarships all greatly benefitted from the LHSAA’s decision to allow for a season.