There were few surprises for Zachary High when it learned of its fate in the Class 5A playoffs Sunday morning.
The seeding followed according to form with the power rankings, and the defending Class 5A state champion Broncos are seeded sixth. As expected based on those power rankings, their opponent will be No. 27 Sulphur (5-5) in a 7 p.m. first-round matchup Friday.
Zachary (8-2) claimed the District 4-5A championship with a 6-0 record. The Broncos losses came in Week 2 at Catholic, 31-30, and in Week 5 against University High, 49-27.
Since the loss to U-High, Zachary has outscored its opponents by an average score of 44-9, and the Broncos appear to be hitting their peak.
Zachary has made deep playoff runs each of the past four seasons with state championships in 2015 and 2017, and semifinal appearances in 2014 and 2016.
This year’s playoff bracket has Zachary on the same side as No. 2 Destrehan and No. 3 Acadiana – both of which are 9-1. The Broncos wouldn’t see top-seeded West Monroe, who they have met in the semifinals the past two seasons, unless both teams make it to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Zachary coach David Brewerton said his team’s playoff experience has taught his players the importance of staying focused on the next opponent.
“That’s really big for us. (The team) knows what it takes,” Brewerton said. “I’m looking forward to our team meeting (Sunday afternoon) and reiterating these things. I probably won’t need to say a whole bunch because they understand how this whole thing works.”
Brewerton understands is that it takes more than talent and intangibles to win a state championship.
“The thing about winning a state championship that gets lost sometimes is you’ve got to catch break here or there in one of those four games leading up to the Superdome,” Brewerton said.
“If everything comes together, we like our chances, but that’s the great thing about high school football in Louisiana. There’s no letdown anywhere in the 5A bracket. There are great teams all over the place.”
The Zachary defense has done its part giving the Broncos chances throughout the season.
Zachary had three shutout wins, two in the last two weeks of the regular season against Scotlandville and Belaire.
Junior quarterback Keilon Brown has been the offensive catalyst. He has rushed for more than 600 yards and double-digit touchdowns. Through the air, he has accounted for more than 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns. His top receiver has been Chandler Whitfield, a Nicholls State commitment, while sophomore wide receiver Chris Hilton picked up a scholarship offer last week from Alabama.
Brown directed the Broncos to the 5A state title last season, and its that type of experience that has Brewerton feeling confident about his team.
“It definitely has one of those feels to it,” Brewerton said of his team’s playoff chances. “We’ve been playing better ball for the second half of the season. The last few weeks have been really good for us, and we’re looking to make a nice run and see where it goes.”
set for road playoff openers
Central punctuated its spot in the Class 5A postseason with a 35-21 victory over Walker in its regular-season finale.
The Wildcats (5-5) received a No. 24 seed and road date with No. 9 Alexandria Senior High.
“We’ve had some great games this year and just didn’t finish any of them, we finally finished one,” Central coach Sid Edwards said after Friday’s home win. “We hope to parlay this going forward into the playoffs. Who knows.”
Scotlandville, which has made runs to the Division I state final and semifinals the past two seasons, embarks on a new journey.
The No. 11 Hornets (4-5) travel to meet No. 6 Brother Martin in a Division I playoff opener.
“People need to understand that you play 10 games to get you ready for the playoffs,” Scotlandville coach Jules Sullen said. “I understand records, but the most important thing is competing in the playoffs. When you have a young team such as ours, the biggest goal is that you made it there. Now what can we do once we get there?”
(William Weathers and Adam Henderson contributed to this story.)