By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – So where does an area high school football coach get to go after winning a state championship?
Not to Walt Disney World, but to Shreveport, La.
Being the first team in MHSAA history to go 16-0 in a season has made the Lafayette Commodores football program a hot commodity from a scheduling standpoint.
The Commodores will be playing Louisiana powerhouse Evangel Christian Academy of Shreveport, La., on Sept. 10, a Saturday, at 11 a.m. The game is one of three games that day making up “The Battle on the Border” event that will take place at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium.
Schools from Arkansas and Texas will also be playing that Saturday in September at the stadium home to college football’s Independence Bowl. The event will expand to 10 teams in 2012, with two games being played on a Friday and three on a Saturday.
“I’m going to be there tomorrow and Thursday to get some more information and contracts and things like that about the game,” Lafayette head coach Anthony Hart said right after his team was honored for its 2010 Class 4A state championship season by MaxPreps and the Army National Guard on Tuesday morning during a school-wide assembly in his high school’s gymnasium.
Hart added that there’s a good possibility that his game with Evangel Christian will be televised.
“It’s a nationally-recognized school,” the Commodores coach said about his upcoming Louisiana Class 2A opponent. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us. For years they’ve won 5A championships, but they (the Louisiana High School Athletic Association) forced them to go back down and play in 2A. But they’ve got quite a few 5A championships under their belt also.”
Just how many state titles altogether, regardless of classification, has Evangel Christian won in football? Twelve, says the Louisiana School’s website … but wait a minute … they forgot to add one more to its total: the Eagles won last month’s Class 2A state championship game against fellow Louisiana power John Curtis. So make that 13.
“It’s very intimidating, very challenging going to play Evangel Christian,” Hart said. “I just didn’t feel like we could turn it down. You know, you don’t get that offer very often and we just felt like it’s good for our program and good for our school and good for our state, if we can go over there and represent our state well.
“Because I think it’s important that we go out of state and win games. Olive Branch and South Panola have done that quite a bit lately, and represented us really well. West Point (did) last year.
“We had the opportunity to play Fort Walton Beach (Fla.) a couple of years ago and were able to win. But I think it’s important for people to see how good Mississippi football is, because I think it’s the best out there.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org