In 1962, a school was formed by the name of John Curtis High School. John Curtis would prove to be a unique addition to the LHSAA for multiple reasons: 1) The school is named after the principal and head football coach, 2) Curtis was highly focused on having success in athletics and 3) They would combine dedicated coaches with high quality athletes to become a national power. In 1975, the Patriots celebrated their first of 26 state championships to date. It is no secret that year in and year out; the Patriots have had more players receiving college scholarship’s than their opponents until the arrival of Evangel Academy. Evangel was founded in 1980 but did not start playing varsity football until around 1990. To me, Evangel took more of a “in your face” approach as it only took the Eagles three years to win a championship. From 1990-2010, Evangel won 4 titles in 1A, 2 in 2A, 3 in 3A and 4 in 5A, a total of 13 championships. Winning this quickly is unheard of without divine intervention. It’s possible; their school motto is “Raising a Righteous Generation”! I just didn’t know that’s what you call it? Adding salt to the wound, Evangel and Curtis won state championships 8 times in the same year from ’93 to ’04. I believe this was the initial line in the sand drawn by the LHSAA Principals.
In 2005, the Principals passed a ruling that forced schools to play in their enrollment classification. This pushed John Curtis from 4A to 2A and Evangel from 5A to 1A. Coincidentally 4A Neville lost to John Curtis in the semi’s 2002, 2003 and 2004; 5A West Monroe lost to Evangel in the finals in 2001, 2002 and 2004! Needless to say, 5A and 4A Principals lead this charge anointing these 2 schools as “public enemy #1” for those 2 classes. In years to come, Evangel won Class 1A in 2005 and 2006 and John Curtis did the same in 2A. These two schools are losing Christmas Cards at an alarming rate. Note, from 2002-2004, according to “247 Sports” Louisiana had 275 “Top Recruits”! During those years “247 Sports” shows John Curtis and Evangel had 29 (over 10%) of them.
In 2007 Evangel joined rival John Curtis in Class 2A. For the next 6 years either John Curtis or Evangel won the 2A State Championship every year; 4 times Curtis and Evangel played in the finals and other 2 years met in the semis. This obviously didn’t sit well with the 2A principals. Another note, in the playoffs from 2007-2012, these teams defeated their opponents (public and private) by 35 points a game.
So through the years Curtis and Evangel have won numerous championships in each classification. We know they aren’t invited to the 4A and 5A pool parties and now Class 1A and 2A struck up a campaign about “bullying”! Late 90’s Class 3A had their dance with Evangel and so the Principals in 3A decided to join in and kick them to the curb also. So in 2013, the majority of principals who are public figured out the best justifiable way to avoid the bullies were to lump the bullies into a “private” class claiming that all private schools are “all the same”. This simply is not true. In 2014, with football still the only sport to split, Curtis and Evangel did the right thing by making the move to play 5A in all sports. This was possible due to another classification rule change. The LHSAA needs to make sure they stay in 5A.
In January of 2016, the rumor to split softball, baseball and both girls and boys basketball was looming. The proposal was authored by Norman Booker. This proposal increased the number of losing teams in the playoffs from 83 to 297. Many of these teams have zero wins, 1 win or even 2 wins; one bracket has a number 1 seed getting “byes” all the way to the semis. I believe this was not what Mr. Booker’s intent was for the LHSAA because there is not one legitimate, respectable organization that would allow these types of teams to make it in a playoff bracket. For your knowledge, in the LHSAA when a proposal is presented, very little research is done by the author. It is up to the LHSAA staff to make it work. After the proposal was passed, Mr. Bonine’s staff diligently worked on Booker’s proposal to try and make it work. It could work but it goes against what the LHSAA is all about and what its constitution reads about student-athletes and the integrity of the game. In April the LHSAA’s Executive Committee voted to have a special session to try and amend Booker’s proposal or come up with a better alternative for the student-athlete! After all, isn’t this what the LHSAA is all about……..the kids? I guess we will see June 8th!