Thirteen Louisiana state championship trophies are shelved in a glass case that
resides in a barn like school on Broadacres Road in Shreveport, La. Evangel
Christian Academy is only 24-years-old but has reached tremendous high
school football success.
Along with success, comes controversy.
At the bottom of the boot, John Curtis Christian High School has nearly doubled
Evangel’s football success raking in a total of 25 state championships.
Growing up in north Louisiana I was fortunate enough to experience the ECA
football domination first hand. In 1999, ECA earned the elite title of national high
school football champions. It was a time when Evangel football solidified itself as
a national powerhouse.
In 1975, John Curtis began its high school football domination with the Patriots’
winning their first state title and consistently winning more titles than losing over
the past few decades.
Throughout the state there has been uproar over the dispute to split Louisiana high
school football playoffs between public and other schools. It is hard to believe that
these two private schools have stirred up so much turmoil for the entire state.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has voted to chunk a system that has
been in place for more than 90 years. There have been two attempts to divide the
association, but none have succeeded until now.
Tommy Henry, former LHSAA Commissioner, believes the controversy stems from
the success of Evangel and John Curtis.
“They can paint it a lot of colors but it’s all about football,” Henry said. “We’re
rigging competition. If we start doing that, than to me we lose sight of what high
school sports is all about.”
According to the tri-parishtimes.com, principals voted 206-119 in favor of proposal
No. 18 on Jan. 25 at the LHSAA’s annual convention in Baton Rouge. Proposal
No. 18 is a motion that will separate Louisiana prep football’s postseason play.
Schools will be classified as “non-select” (public) or “select” (non-public, charter,
university lab or magnet). From these changes, the brackets will be divided based on
which category the school falls under.
According to thenewsstar.com, House Bill 267 alleges the LHSAA discriminates
against schools that select their students after a recent decision by the association
split select and non-select schools into separate football playoff brackets.
Robin Fambrough, long-time prep sports writer for the Advocate, explains how
HB 267 could potentially harm the LHSAA.
“It could cripple the LHSAA,” Fambrough said, “taking away 77 percent of the
According to thenewsstar.com, should HB 267 become law, 299 schools, or 77
Percent, could no longer participate in the LHSAA. Non-select
schools would be banned from participating in athletic competition regulated by the
The organization administers 27 championship sports for about 70,000 high
school athletes in the state.
“First we have a division,” Henry said. “We have segregation and discrimination.”
A number of people involved with high school football, select or non-select, believe
the split to be unfair for both sides.
“I don’t think this solves our problem,” Patterson High School football coach Tommy
Minton said to Tri-parishtimes.com. “At best, I think this just shifts the problem
around. … I don’t know what we’re really accomplishing with this besides hurting a
lot of innocent schools who are in the crossfire.”
“We’re teaching them to run away from things over a football trophy,” Henry said.
According to LHSAA.org, Steve Carter, Chairman of the House Education Committee,
agreed to postpone the consideration of HB 267 to allow the School Relations
Committee some time to come up with possible amendments and changes to current
On June 6th, according to WBRZ.com, the LHSAA executive committee decided
to combine Division II and III (4A and 3A select divisions) in order to have enough
teams for a proper playoff. Before the decision, Division II consisted of five eligible
teams. Now with the collaboration, there will be a total of 16 schools competing in
Division III for select schools. This decision was solely for playoff football.
The new football playoff system kicks off Thursday,December 12 and wraps
up Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.