2013’s Top Sports Stories
1. Lots of head coaching turnover at MCHS
Morgan City High School has had more than its fair share of head coaching changes in 2013 as the school has had to replace head coaches in six different sports, including its head football coach and athletic director once.
Most recently, the Tigers' Dennis Lorio submitted his resignation as head football coach and athletic director Dec. 23, citing lengthy travel on a daily basis that he said became a problem when the job of one of his assistant coaches, who he carpooled to work with daily, could not be extended past October.
In his lone season as head coach, the veteran head coach's squad finished 0-10. However, they were competitive in some of their games.
A search for his successor has begun.
Lorio had been hired to replace then-head coach and athletic director Brandon Nowlin, who had resigned his post in March to take a position at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux coaching tight ends. He remained on faculty until the end of the school year, however.
Lorio's departure was the latest in a list that already included Jeremy Whittington, head basketball and golf coach; Aaron Meyer, head girls basketball coach and head track and field coach; and Marc Gonzales, head baseball coach.
All three of those coaches announced they were leaving their posts early this summer. Whittington moved on to Comeaux High School where he now is coaching boys' basketball, while Gonzales is an assis-tant football and baseball coach at Thibodaux High School and Meyer is assistant football coach and head track and field coach at St. James.
Whittington was replaced by Scott Landry, who is 1-12 on the court this season, while Meyer's replacement in basketball is Anthony Garrison, whose team is 7-4 this season. In track and field, the new head coach will be Don Jones, while Landry will coach golf and James "Jimmy" Agent, baseball.
2. High school football playoffs are split
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association took an unprecedented move in January in splitting high school football playoffs into select and nonselect classifications.
Select schools were defined as some dual-curriculum schools as well as nonpublic, charter, full magnet and university lab schools.
Nonselect schools included public and some dual curriculum schools as well as those included in the Recovery School District.
The change meant there were nine state champions crowned instead of five.
In addition to champions in Classes 1A-5A, select champions in Division I (5A), Division II (4A-3A), Division III (2A) and Division IV (1A) were crowned.
Despite the new format, however, schools still competed against each other in the regular season in their normal districts that combined both select and nonselect schools.
With the move of schools to the select brackets meant more playoff spots were opened in the nonselect brackets.
In the select brackets, all teams qualified for the post-season.
Locally, the plan benefitted both Patterson and Central Catholic, two schools who were most affected by it because their schools made the playoffs and two schools whose football coaches had expressed opposition to it in January and still months later on the eve of football season.
Central Catholic was seed-ed No. 16 in the postseason in the select bracket and hosted a home game and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
If the traditional bracket would have been used, they would have barely made the playoffs and been on the road in the first round.
As for Patterson, the 3A powerhouse was also able to get a better seed and - for better or worse - avoid traditional private school powerhouses like Parkview Baptist and Notre Dame of Crowley, who had dominated the class.
Instead, in the nonselect bracket this fall, Patterson fell in the quarterfinals to Jennings High School.
3. MCHS bowling team falls in state finals
The young Morgan City boys' bowling program took the next step in its rise to state prominence as the squad advanced to the state finals this season where, like in 2012 as semifinalists, it fell to Archbishop Rummel.
The Tigers' road to the 2013 state finals included a 24-3 win against South Lafourche in regional action, followed by dominat-ing wins against Terrebonne (25-2) and Vandebilt Catholic (22-5) in bi-regional play in Houma, which propelled them to the state semi-finals, also called the Final Four, at Acadiana Lanes in Lafayette.
In the semifinals, the Ti-gers defeated Broadmoor, the No. 3 seed out of the state's eastern bi-regionals, 19-8.
In the finals, however, Morgan City, the No. 1 seed out of the state's western bi-regional, fell 18-9 to Rummel, the No. 1 seed in the state's eastern bi-regional. Rummel took total pins in the match by 27 (3,556-3,529).
Because bowling is not separated into division or classes, all schools compete against each other, meaning Morgan City was the second best school among boys' teams in Louisiana.
The loss in the state finals was the squad's lone blemish on a 14-1 season, while Rummel repeated as state champs.
4. Lady Panthers tennis team is state runner-up
Berwick High School continued its recent dominance in the state tennis ranks, earning a runner-up finish in Division 3 behind Notre Dame just a year after win-ning the Division 3 state title.
Berwick couldn't quite re-peat as state champs as the top-seed doubles team of Mary Margaret Sanford and Claire Parsiola, who had split the first two matches with a duo from Notre Dame and tied in the third, dropped a tough tiebreaker to Notre Dame, which allowed the Crowley-based school to edge the Lady Panthers, 11-10, in team scoring for the title.
Along with Sanford-Parsiola's runner-up finish, Signe Parsiola fell in the state semifinals in singles play.
Other state participants included the doubles team of Emma Gray and Allis Ar-mato, who fell in the quarterfinals, as well as the doubles team of Shereen Richard and Abby Ledet, who fell in the first round; and Carolyn Sanford, who bowed out in the single's quarterfinals.
Prior to advancing to state, Berwick had won the Division 3, Region 2 girls' title in April, meaning its entire team advanced to state.
5. CCHS baseball repeats as state-runner-up
Central Catholic continued its resurgence in Class 1A baseball this season with a second consecutive trip to state finals.
Unfortunately, the Eagles couldn't finish the trip on a positive note, falling to Mangham 4-2 in the finals.
Central Catholic, who en-tered the postseason as the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 28 Houma Christian 8-2 in the first round and No. 12 St. Martin's Episcopal 4-1 in the second round. In the quarterfinals, they disposed of No. 4 Oak Grove, 5-1, while in the semis, the Eagles avenged a run-rule state championship loss in 2012 to Ouachita Christian, holding onto an 8-7 victory against the top seed.
The Eagles entered the postseason with a 14-game winning streak, spanning nearly two months.
Central Catholic went 8-0 in District 8-1A play and Bryson Barbier was named Pitcher of the Year, while Tyler Jensen was named Coach of the Year.
Barbier, along with Barron Courtney and Josh Singleton each made first-team Class 1A All-State, while Samuel Guarisco was an honorable mention selection.
6.CCHS hoops advance to semis
The Central Catholic Lady Eagles made history this past season as they advanced to what is believed to be their first-ever state semifinal contest.
There, they faced a re-match with West St. John, who upset them at home in 2012 in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, Central Catholic, the lower seed in the rematch, could not re-turn the favor a year later as West St. John prevailed, 66-58.
West St. John, the top seed in the 2013, fell in the finals to No. 2 seed Vermilion Catholic.
Ironically, Vermilion Catholic, a District 8-1A foe of Central Catholic, had fallen to the Morgan City-based squad twice during the regular season as Central Catholic finished district with an 8-0 mark.
Central Catholic, who en-tered the postseason as the No. 4 seed, eased past Delhi Charter, 65-34, in the first round and defeated Mount Hermon, 59-38 in the regionals and Tensas, 59-43 in the quarterfinals.
Central Catholic standout Meo Knight was named first-team All-State and District 8-1A Most Valuable Player, while teammate Randi Brown was a second-team All-State selection.
7. CCHS volleyball reaches state semifinals
The Central Catholic Lady Eagles continued to be a force in Division 5 volleyball as they advanced to their fourth consecutive trip to the Division 5 state semifinals and their fifth straight trip to the Pontchartrain Center.
Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles have been hit a road block each of the past four years in the semifinals as either Episcopal School of Acadiana or Metairie Park Country Day have knocked them out of the playoffs.
This year, the opponent was Metairie Park Country-Day, who went on to win its fifth consecutive Division 5 title after knocking off Cen-tral Catholic in the state semifinals 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-20).
Central Catholic, led by first-year coach Latashia Wise, advanced to the playoffs after winning their Division 5, District 6 title with a 6-0 mark. They re-ceived a first-round bye before knocking off No. 13 Northside Christian 3-0 (25-10, 25-8, 25-18) in the second round and Academy of Sacred Heart-Grand Coteau 3-1 (25-14, 17-25, 25-20, 25-17) in the quarterfinals.
8. CCHS softball reaches quarterfinals
Central Catholic was mak-ing a trip to the quarterfinals for the first time in years and while their trip ended in the quarterfinals, the squad didn't disappoint.
After a pair of 2-1 victories against No. 29 seed St. Edmund and No. 12 seed Ouachita Christian in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Lady Eagles, the No. 4 seed in Class 1A, advanced to the state tournament in Sulphur where they faced two-time defending state champion and No. 5 seed Archbishop Hannan.
It took nine innings to de-cide the winner of the game, earned by Hannan in a 1-0 victory via a home run. The New Orleans-area squad advanced to the finals where they fell to Catholic High-Pointe Coupee in extra innings.
9. Lumberjacks reach quarterfinals
While the Patterson High School's football team started its season with an 0-2 mark this season, falling to Class 5A squads Brother Martin and East Ascension, the losses certainly didn't define the way the Lumberjacks' season went as the squad reeled off 10 straight victories en route to a District 9-3A championship and a trip to the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, that's where the Lumberjacks' season would end as the squad fell to Jennings, 27-14.
The Lumberjacks played much of the last game of the regular season without star quarterback Spencer Landry, who suffered a season-ending injury. Instead, the squad was led by backup quarterback Jake LaGrange as they made their way through the postseason.
10. CC hoops makes quarters
While the Central Catholic Eagles entered the 2012-13 season having to replace its best player in Lloyd Grogan as well as several others who provided depth, the squad rolled through the regular season, including an 8-0 mark in District 8-1A play.
With the No. 2 seed in hand, the Eagles breezed through the first round of the playoffs with an 85-47 win against No. 31 Tensas, while in the regional round, the Eagles survived Southern Lab, 85-78 in overtime.
In the quarterfinals, though, the veteran Eagles' season would come to an end with a 64-44 loss to a young but obviously talented Arcadia team, seeded seventh. Arcadia would go on to the state finals where they fell to Metairie-Park Country Day, 60-54, in overtime.