Lee Brecheen’s Final Thoughts On LHSAA State Championships
by Jace LeJeune
It is hard to believe that another prep season has come and gone. The 2019 Louisiana High School Football season has ended just as quickly as it started, but while the season was going on, at least, it was fun watching some of the best talent the state has to offer. For the third straight season, the Louisiana Football Magazine staff put up its Road to the Dome segment. Louisiana Football Magazine editor Jace LeJeune previewed and picked all of the games from the first round all the way to the Super Dome. However, the opinion that everybody wants to know is Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting guru Lee Brecheen. For Brecheen, he has made some really good picks, but also got a couple of picks wrong. Now, after predicting the winners of each state championship game, Brecheen came out with a record of 6-3 in picking the correct state champions. Now, Brecheen will give his final take on those nine games. Whether it is Brecheen happily talking about his correct picks, or owning up to when he is wrong, it sure makes for good entertainment. So, what a better way to end the high school football season than to get a final take as well as get a sneak preview for next year from the guru.
Class 1A State Championship Game: #3 White Castle Bulldogs (10-4) vs. #4 Oak Grove Tigers (11-3)
Lee’s Pick: Oak Grove
Class 1A State Champion: Oak Grove
Final Score: Oak Grove 55 White Castle 12
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “White Castle was outmanned in this game against Oak Grove. However, just getting to the Super Dome was an incredible feat in itself. It was a great coaching job done by Aaron Meyer. The Bulldogs are going to have to replace Javier Batiste, who is an incredible player, along with running back Marcus Williams, who is a great player in his own right. Still, there is a lot of talent on White Castle’s team, and I would not be surprised if the team gets back next season. White Castle just could not contend with the DI size the Oak Grove Tigers had.
Oak Grove would have probably won the last two state championships if it was not for the Kentwood Kangaroos, which knocked the Tigers in the semifinals and the state championship respectively during that period. Now, with a lot of those guys such as Otis Moore, Kenean Caldwell (Kansas commit), and Bert Hale (Louisiana Tech signee) graduating, a lot of pressure was off head coach Ryan Gregory as he finally broke through with a state championship victory. Like White Castle, even though there are a lot of key pieces going to be gone from last season, there is a lot of talent returning in a talented fullback, a DI tight end, and a lot of veteran players on defense returning.”
Division IV State Championship Game: #5 Ouachita Christian Eagles (13-1) vs. #7 Catholic-Pointe Coupee Hornets (11-3)
Lee’s Pick: Ouachita Christian
Division IV State Champion: Ouachita Christian
Final Score: Ouachita Christian 67 Catholic-Pointe Coupee 22
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “The Catholic-Pointe Coupee Hornets accomplished something that has never been done in program history and that is make the Super Dome. Considering all the great coaches the program has had, it has been an incredible accomplishment by head coach David Simoneaux, but the team had to run into one of the best teams head coach Steven Fitzhugh has had during his incredible tenure at Ouachita Christian.
The way that Ouachita Christian got there was incredible. The fact that the Eagles came all the way back to defeat Calvary Baptist in the playoffs was incredible within itself, and that will be one of the most highly talked about games in OCS history. This is a special program as there are not a whole lot of DI players on the team, but the team does a great job of playing together and are also led by a special coach.”
Class 2A State Championship Game: #1 Ferriday Trojans (14-1) vs. #2 Many Tigers (10-4)
Lee’s Pick: Many
Class 2A State Champion: Ferriday
Final Score: Ferriday 56 Many 17
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “I am gad that the Ferriday Trojans finally broke through and got that state championship the program has been longing for a long time. Ferriday may not have a lot of numbers, but the team’s top 20 players could play for anybody in the state regardless of classification. I could not be any happier for Coach Stanley Smith, who is one of the nicest guys you will meet and a great coach as well. Like Ryan Gregory from Oak Grove, Smith has had his team close to the state championship after falling just a game short the previous two seasons. Ferriday reminds me a lot of West Feliciana from a couple of years back when they finally won the state championship with all of their skill playmakers in a three year period. It is good that Ferriday won a state championship this season because having to replace a great quarterback like Kobe Dillon is going to be a tough task. If there is anyone that could do it, it would be Coach Smith as he is a good motivator and has already shown to develop DI talent as Dantrieze Scott (LSU/Grambling) and Dare Rosenthal (LSU) have already gone through this program.
For the Many Tigers, it was a great year as well. Even though Jess Curtis has won a state championship back in 2014, Many was in a similar position as Ferriday. Over the last couple of years, the Tigers would fall short in the semifinals, but now, since this is a young team that broke through for a state championship game appearance this season, the sky is the limit next year, especially since the team is returning one of the best players in next year’s class in running back Terrence Williams.”
Division III State Championship Game: #1 Lafayette Christian Academy Knights (12-1) vs. #3 St. Charles Catholic Comets (11-2)
Lee’s Pick: St. Charles Catholic
Division III State Champions: Lafayette Christian Academy
Final Score: Lafayette Christian Academy 41 St. Charles Catholic 14
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “St. Charles Catholic head coach Frank Monica is a genius, but not even he could stop the talented Lafayette Christian Academy Knights and Coach Trev Faulk. Lafayette Christian Academy has won three straight state championships because of not only having great talent, but great coaches as well. The scariest part about this team is that a lot of players do return and that this team could easily get back to a state championship for a fourth straight year next season.
St. Charles Catholic is a good team that does not make any mistakes on offense and their defense is outstanding. It was just too much talent to overcome for the Comets to handle. However, it would not surprise me if there is a possible championship rematch between both teams next season.”
Class 3A State Championship Game: #1 St. James Wildcats (15-0) vs. #23 Jennings Bulldogs (9-6)
Lee’s Pick: St. James
Class 3A State Champions: St. James
Final Score: St. James 51 Jennings 14
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “It seemed that almost every state championship game was a David vs. Goliath matchup. Naturally, we pull for David to pull off the upset such as White Castle, Catholic-Pointe Coupee, and Jennings, but it just seems to be the wrong matchup for these teams. I am happy for Jennings head coach Rusty Phelps as this is the first time the team has made the Super Dome in over 25 years. Even though the result was not what the Bulldogs looked for, the team is young, which made their run to the Super Dome more impressive as star players Trevor Etienne and Keenan Landry will return next season.
For the St. James Wildcats, it was also a long time coming for them as the Wildcats won the team’s first state championship since 1979. I am so happy that head coach Robert Valdez and the rest of the team were able to get a state championship as UTSA commit Shamar Smith and other seniors came so close in the previous three seasons. This team was destined to win a state championship based on their talent and experience. Similar to the Ferriday Trojans, the St. James Wildcats finally broke through, but the difference is that I see St. James coming back to play for a state championship next season. Although the team will have to replace one of its most successful senior classes in program history, star recruits Saivion Jones and Shazz Preston will return. The talent will be there for the Wildcats to go for a championship repeat.”
Division II State Championship Game: #1 St. Thomas More Cougars (11-2) vs. #2 De La Salle Cavaliers (8-4)
Lee’s Pick: St. Thomas More
Division II State Champions: St. Thomas More
Final Score: St. Thomas More 58 De La Salle 10
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “It is great that programs like White Castle, Catholic Pointe Coupee, Jennings, and De La Salle, which are all teams that do not normally get to play in state championship games get the opportunity to play in those type of games this season. However, it was a mismatch talent wise for those teams. De La Salle head coach Ryan Manale is a fantastic head coach and one of the best in the state. Over a three year period, Manale has taken the Cavaliers to two state championships during that span. What is even more incredible is that this year’s team is very young.
Another team that is young is the St. Thomas More Cougars. What is even scarier about the Cougars is that they might be even better next season. Even though the program will lose its all time leading passer and Harvard commit Caleb Holstein, the Cougars will have talented young signal caller Walker Howard, who could be even better than Holstein, as its starting quarterback next year. The Cougars will also return perhaps the best wide receiver in the state next season in Jack Bech. Like this year, everybody will be trying to play catch up with head coach Jim Hightower and the Cougars next season.”
Class 4A State Championship Game: #3 Edna Karr Cougars (13-2) vs. #20 Warren Easton Fighting Eagles (9-5)
Lee’s Pick: Edna Karr
Class 4A State Champions: Edna Karr
Final Score: Edna Karr 35 Warren Easton 34
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “There were a lot of people stating that the Edna Karr program was done at the beginning of the season after losses to John Curtis and Catholic High School (Baton Rouge). When we did the Road To The Dome segment, I picked Edna Karr to win it all, and that is what happened. Their talent and experience was going to get them back to the Dome once again. Quarterback Leonard Kelly proved to be the difference in this game. This is Edna Karr’s fourth straight state championship. What head coach Brice Brown has done is incredible. All he did was just replace another big senior group of 35 players and just took the team back for another state championship. Coach Brown is one of the best developers of talent in the entire state, and is only going to get more opportunities coaching at the collegiate level soon.
I feel sorry for Warren Easton because the team has come so close to defeating Edna Karr not only this year, but the last couple of seasons as well. Not only has Warren Easton played Edna Karr in the state championship, but the two teams play each other regularly during the regular season. You just have to feel for them knowing they have come so close.”
Division I State Championship Game: #1 Archbishop Rummel Raiders (13-0) vs. #2 Catholic High School (B.R.) Bears (12-1)
Lee’s Pick: Catholic High School (B.R.)
Division I State Champions: Archbishop Rummel
Final Score: Archbishop Rummel 14 Catholic High School (B.R.) 10
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “It is unfortunate that there had to be a loser in this game as both Archbishop Rummel and Catholic High School deserve a state championship this season. Similar to St. James and Ferriday, Archbishop Rummel finally broke through with a talented senior class after falling short of a state title the previous three seasons. Meanwhile, Catholic High School had one of its most complete teams ever so something had to give here.
This game could have gone either way. I was surprised that Archbishop Rummel’s defense shut down Catholic High’s explosive offense in the second half. Vanderbilt commit Donovan Kaufman was a big reason why the Raiders won this football game scoring both of the team’s touchdowns including the game winning score on a kickoff return for a touchdown. When you look back at this football game, there will be a lot of players from both sides that will play college football. I would not be surprised if we see three or four players playing in the NFL in the future. Next season, I see Catholic High School coming back to the state championship as they will reload. However, even though the Raiders do return quarterback Kyle Wickersham, I just think that Archbishop Rummel will be reloading a little too much next season.”
Class 5A State Championship Game: #1 Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams (15-0) vs. #7 Destrehan Wildcats (11-4)
Lee’s Pick: Acadiana
Class 5A State Champions: Acadiana
Final Score: Acadiana 8 Destrehan 3
Lee’s Final Thoughts: “There was no doubt that Acadiana was the more talented team than Destrehan, but Destrehan has a great coaching staff and their players are well coached. Destrehan has also produced a lot of talent in its own right. Over the last couple of years, the Wildcats have arguably produced the most college and NFL players of all the in-state high schools. Acadiana’s defense was just too strong in this matchup as the unit has shut down Destrehan’s star running back and Alabama signee Kyle Edwards. The Wildcats just could not throw the football well enough to win the football game.
Even though Acadiana will lose its two star Army running back commits in Dillan Monnette and Lucky Brooks, the majority of the defense does return in 2020. There is a great chance that Acadiana comes back to the state championship in 2020. They are my favorite to win the Class 5A state championship next season.
Destrehan will be a good team next year and will be in the thick of things when it comes to the playoffs led by a great head coach in Stephen Robicheaux, who has won a couple of state championships over his career.”
Final Road To The Dome Records:
Total Win-Loss Record:
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